Peoria, Ariz. (Feb. 11, 2008) – Peoria City Manager Terry
Ellis announced his retirement plans to the City Council at their Saturday
Ellis, who has served as Peoria’s top executive since
August 1997, will retire at the end of the fiscal year – June 30, 2008.
“This summer I will have worked in city government for 36
years – 23 years as a city manager,” Ellis said in a letter to the City Council.
“As the old saying goes, ‘I have had a good run’ here in Peoria, and it’s time
for me to move on to other things and give someone else a chance to serve this
In the months leading up to his departure, Ellis said it
will be “business as usual” in Peoria, seeing the city through its annual budget
process and preparing for the next fiscal year.
Peoria has been a busy place during Ellis’ 11 years as city
manager. The city was consistently identified as one of the nation’s fastest
growing communities by the Census Bureau. An estimated 80,000 people called the
city home when he came aboard in 1997. Today Peoria’s population is approaching
Mayor Bob Barrett said that Ellis has been a steadying
influence during a turbulent time in the city’s history.
“Peoria will lose a lot when Terry Ellis walks out the
door. His accomplishments are legion – yet he is, and has remained, a humble
person and, throughout, a complete professional.”
Ellis cites a strong relationship between the city’s
elected leaders and professional staff as a primary reason the city has survived
and thrived during a period of such historic growth.
Land use and water resources planning were primary
emphases. The city was one of the first in Arizona to adopt a drought management
plan, and the first to take its General Plan to voters, a requirement under the
state’s Growing Smarter legislation. Additional policies such as a desert lands
conservation ordinance and water conservation plan have been recognized as best
practices in Arizona.
Plans and policies are crucial, but a booming city cannot
survive without infrastructure – the bricks and mortar, pipes and asphalt that
connect and serve the community.
Under Ellis’ direction and with leadership from the City
Council, Peoria broke its reliance on groundwater by building the Greenway Water
Treatment Plant. When the Butler Water Reclamation Facility is completed this
summer, the city will achieve total self-reliance in wastewater treatment, a
move that will bolster its water resource portfolio through recharge of treated
Six fire stations were built, and the department was
outfitted with the best equipment to serve Peoria residents. The city’s first
police substation was opened as part of one of those new fire stations, and the
Police and Fire departments moved into a new, state-of-the-art headquarters
building on the city’s municipal campus in 2004.
Miles of new roads serve Peoria – thanks in part to the
2005 voter approval of a dedicated transportation sales tax. Beneath them in
most cases are miles of new water distribution and wastewater collection lines,
and in some areas a fiber-optic data backbone that will serve the city for
decades to come.
New parks serve neighborhoods and the community. The crown
jewel is the 54-acre Rio Vista Park with its award-winning recreation center.
The Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in 2007, symbolizes a
community dedicated to the arts, and to the vitality of the historic Oldtown
These facilities and infrastructure represent an investment
of hundreds of millions of public dollars. Thanks to thoughtful planning and
sound financial management, the city’s overall property tax rate has decreased
during this unprecedented period of construction activity. During the same
period, rating agencies have upgraded the city’s bonds consistently, saving
millions of dollars in interest.
Of equal importance have been the efforts to balance the
community. Neighborhoods have grown stronger thanks to the Neighborhood Pride
Program and neighborhood grant and community works programs. A focus on economic
development is working to bring good jobs to Peoria for city residents, and to
provide the shopping, dining and entertainment options a vibrant community
enjoys. A Historic Preservation Commission was established, and a sister city
relationship with the Borough of Ards, Northern Ireland, grows stronger each
John Keegan, who served as Peoria’s mayor for 10 years,
called Ellis’ legacy one of professionalism and excellence in public service.
“Peoria is well prepared to meet the demands of today and
the needs of the future because of Terry’s dedication and hard work,” Keegan
As the date of Ellis retirement nears, the mayor and City
Council will determine how and when his replacement will be selected.
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