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Doug's December Report on the City Council

DDC, 2016 Contested Mayoral Race & More

Desert Discovery Center

On the agenda of the January 11, 2016 City  Council meeting is the subject of approving $1.7 million for phase one of the DDC.

The DDC is proposed on a 10 acre site within the Scottsdale Mountain Preserve located at the Gateway Trailhead which is off Thompson Peak Parkway just north of Bell (about 2 miles due East of here). 

It is billed as an interpretive, educational and research center, and has been on the radar for 30 years. The stated goal is for visitors to leave the DDC empowered to make a difference in their world by affecting their own individual sustainability decisions. Estimates for the total cost to construct the facility and the exhibits range in the $60 to $80 million area.

Phase 1 is billed as vision and preliminary planning-what do we want the site to accomplish and what will it look like-a site plan and architectural drawings. This is what the $1.7 million will go for. Funding sources being considered are 

the General Fund, the Preserve sales tax fund, and the Tourism Fund (bed tax). It looks like the bed tax is the preferred source for three reasons. 1-there is $7 mil in carry forward funds and 2-the City doesn’t yet have a legal opinion on whether using Preserve sales tax funds is legal and 3-the City Council doesn’t want to be accused of spending general fund dollars on the project (yet). Perhaps it seems a little odd for the Council to be spending almost $2 mil on DDC just after promising us that all of the bond projects were critical to the city, but DDC was not on the bond project list. To be fair, the DDC money will come from the bed tax, which is separate from the general fund. But, appearances are important. We might also ask if it is appropriate to spend $1.7 mil on a project before we get a legal opinion as to whether the likely funding source will be legally available.

The DDC website contains a lot of information and history-particularly the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Phase 1 is what will be discussed and likely voted on at the January 11th meeting. If you have an opinion, I encourage you to contact the Council and the Mayor.

Hayden-Northsite roundabout

The city has accident data for the 18 months after completion of the roundabout and for the previous 6 years while it was a traffic signal intersection. With the roundabout, the accident rate has stayed the same at slightly less than one accident per million entering vehicles, and the injury rate has dropped dramatically.

Cultural Council Funding

City has, as part of its 2015 budget, funded the Cultural Council at $4.3 million. Cultural Council asked for $1.6 mil more. The requested increase was for facility upgrades and for an art event in downtown Scottsdale. The City Council authorized $550,000 more instead of $1.6 mil on a 4-  3 vote. Lane, Klapp and Littlefield voted against. Phillips was a yes vote, saying it was a contractual obligation.

2016 Mayor Race

Jim Lane (incumbent)-Fiscal conservative but not obstructionist, responsive to the marketplace.

Bob Littlefield-Current Council is not listening to residents, and is not conservative on fiscal issues.


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commented 2015-12-19 10:33:24 -0700 · Flag
Mayor Lane is not a fiscal conservative. The idea that Mayor Lane somehow works to reduce the size and scope of the government of Scottsdale is not well grounded in fact. Mayor Lane is a masterful politician. He has never voted to reduce unnecessary city spending, in any verifiable manner, since 2010.
published this page in Scottsdale City Council & DDC 2015-12-16 14:42:10 -0700