Gilbert, Arizona: 33rd Best Place to Live

Manager’s update- Thursday, August 29, 2012

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It pleases me to announce that Money Magazine recently named the Town of Gilbert the “33rd Best Place to Live” in the country.   CNN’s article states:

“Light-years from its days as Hay Capital of the World, this fast-growing city outside Phoenix is shaking off the doldrums of the housing crash and working toward a brighter future.”

Money Magazine points to Gilbert’s fast-growing health care industry and new Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, education improvements, and low crime rate.  But, Money Magazine isn’t the only one spreading the word about the town’s recent achievements. 

Studies from Scottsdale, Chandler, and Tempe reveal Gilbert’s place at the top of the list of municipalities in Arizona.  A Chandler comparison on government employee to resident ratios ranked Gilbert number one.  For every 1,000 residents, Gilbert employs 5.4 people compared to other cities that employ more per capita.

A Scottsdale tax study listed Gilbert as having the second-lowest combined property and sales tax burden on its residents, and new crime statistics show Gilbert’s dramatically low crime rate;  the lowest of any surrounding municipality.

Based on data provided by the Tempe Police Department Crime Analysis Unit, Gilbert has once again retained its position as having the lowest crime rate of comparable communities in Arizona.

These are just some of the reasons the Town of Gilbert is gaining national recognition for being a wonderful place to live and work.  With its “safe streets and sunny skies,” according to Money Magazine, the town will continue to grow and thrive.

-Patrick Banger, Town Manager

Gilbert sees additional bond rating improvement

Manager’s Update – Thursday, August 16, 2012

As Gilbert’s economy continues to thrive, the town is seeing another improvement in bond ratings.  The better the rating, the more Gilbert can do to invest in and improve our community.   Each bond initiative can get its own rating, like its own credit score.

Fitch Ratings Services increased our town’s bond rating from AA to AA+ for Gilbert Public Facility Municipal Property Corporation revenue bonds, which come from rental revenues paid by corporations.  The organization also affirmed its ‘AA’ rating on Gilbert’s $2.5 million 2003 street and highway user revenue bonds.  We are expecting to maintain this positive financial rating.  According to Fitch, “The local economy has outpaced other communities in the Phoenix metropolitan area.”

The increase reflects Gilbert’s fast-growing economy when it comes to residential and business development, primarily in the health-tech industry.  Fitch attributes the improved rating in part to the town’s low maximum debt, low unemployment and high growth rate.

To give an example, Gilbert accounted for 20 percent of Maricopa County’s building permits in 2011, while making up just 5 percent of the county’s total population.   Because of our town’s fiscal responsibility in the face of a recession, business and development continue to thrive.

This isn’t even our first rating increase.   A total of six bonds have increased in ratings since October 2011.

Fire Station 10

Manager’s Update – Friday, August 03, 2012

Two weeks ahead of schedule, Gilbert has opened the doors to its brand new fire station, located near Guadalupe and McQueen.  On the afternoon of June 18, the first day it was in operation, Engine 2253 from Station No. 10 was the first unit to respond to the largest fire in the Town of Gilbert’s history.

The station is funded with $3 million in federal stimulus money.  All additional expenses were covered by system-development fees.

Fire Station 10 is not an average station; it will be the first publicly owned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building in Gilbert.  And you can see this from its outside appearance.  Solar panels cover the parking spaces in the back of the building and are expected to reduce the station’s utility costs by 40 percent.  There are occupancy and light level sensors to control light fixture function within the building and parking lot. An electronic sign in the front helps to share messages and information with residents.

The station will mark its official grand opening with a pancake breakfast on Saturday, September 15.  We hope you can join us to celebrate this great and environmentally-friendly addition to our community.

-Patrick Banger, Town Manager