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Report on City Council Meeting & DDC by Doug Reed May 19, 2016

DESERT DISCOVERY CENTER-Howard Myers presented a petition to the Council requesting that they agendize (put on a future agenda) a discussion of amending the city charter requiring a public vote on:

1. Construction of anything in the Preserve, other than trails, minimal trailhead facilities for trail access, and a wildlife land bridge at Dynamite Boulevard, or

2 Use of Preserve tax funds for anything other than land acquisition, building of trails, minimal trailhead facilities, and the land bridge.

Councilman Guy Phillips made the motion to agendize, seconded by Kathy Littlefield. Motion carried  4-3 with Dave Smith and Mayor Jim Lane voting in favor. Councilwomen Klapp, Korte and Milhaven voted against

MOUNTAIN PRESERVE-McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission has recommended that City Council ask the voters to allow the use of Preserve sales tax funds to establish an endowment fund for the continuing operation of the Preserve. (Fund in which money is invested and the income stream is used to pay expenses without invading principal). Currently, the Scottsdale general fund pays these expenses totaling  about $700,000 per year. Future operating expenses, when the Preserve is completed, are estimated at 

about $1 million annually.  The endowment fund would need about $34 million invested at 3% to fund this. In coming up with this recommendation, the Commission recognizes that, with three small exceptions, there are not any realistic opportunities to buy more land. If they do not buy more land, about 8-10 years from now, there will be more sales tax money coming in than is needed to cover the existing bonds. This is the money they propose putting into the endowment fund. The argument is that this will relieve the general fund of a $1 million per year obligation and guarantee operating funds for the preserve. There was a general agreement on the Council in favor, with Dave Smith commenting that he doesn’t like taxing citizens to fund a savings account.

Of particular note, in one scenario, after funding the endowment, there is still $75 million left over. And $75 million coincidentally is fairly close to some estimates for the cost of the Desert Discovery Center.

UPCOMING ELECTION-Assuming that all three candidates for Scottsdale Mayor obtained the needed qualifying petition signatures, we will have a primary election to be held on August 30th. Mayor Jim Lane is running for a third (and final) term. Challengers are Bob Littlefield and Bill Crawford. We will have a candidate forum at our July 21st meeting.

Also on the ballot will be a technical amendment to the City Charter clarifying that the city’s primary and general elections are held concurrently with the State’s, and that mayor and council terms commence at the first regular meeting in January of the year following their election.

NEW REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENTS PLANNED-Two new developments are planned for the North Scottsdale Rd area. The first, named District at the Quarter, at 73rd St and Greenway Hayden envisions a four story complex containing 644 apartments or condos on a 9 acre site. The second, Scottsdale Marketplace, involves 10 acres South of Mayo Blvd and Scottsdale Rd. The plan is for a five story residential complex (maximum height 75 feet) containing 301 apartments or condos along with shops and restaurants

PHOTO RADAR-Is back on in Scottsdale for red lights and speeding. Arizona’s Attorney General ruled that photo radar companies needed to have a Private Investigation Business License so the program was suspended. The company now has the license.

CITY MANAGER-Our former City Manager, Fritz Behring, suffered a stroke and was unable to continue working. There were some questions about termination pay along with lawsuit threats. The City agreed to pay Mr. Behring $55,000 as full compensation. City Council is looking for a replacement. The current City Treasurer, Jeff Nichols, is rumored to be in the running for the position.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA-The Council has been told by City Staff that Scottsdale has the least restrictive medical marijuana zoning rules in the Valley. So, they are determined to do something. Interesting item of note-current zoning does not allow drive through or take out windows.  Staff presented several options for Council to pick from. Council picked two options to consider at a future meeting. One option involves greater separation (up from ¼ mile to ½ mile between dispensaries and schools and residences. (Unanimous vote) The other adds churches and several other classes to the separation list. (6-1 vote with Korte dissenting). Existing dispensaries will be grandfathered. If passed, the rules will probably prevent any future medical marijuana dispensaries in Scottsdale. We currently have 5.

PROPOSITIONS 123 and 124

Proposition 124, amending the fire and police pension system passed resoundingly, with about 70% in favor. Proposition 123, which amends the Land Trust/School Funding  is still up in the air. With 931,000 votes counted, 123 is passing by 7649 votes, with about 100,000 votes still to count.

And lastly, slightly tongue in cheek from Councilman Guy Phillips

When you hear a politician use the term “MULTI-MODAL”, what they want you to think is “a vast array of ways to move the public from point A to point B.” What they really mean is LIGHT RAIL

And when you hear a politician say “CONNECTIVITY”, what they want you to think is “Various ways of getting from one place to another.” What they really mean is “LIGHT RAIL”.

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published this page in Scottsdale City Council & DDC 2016-05-19 15:55:59 -0600