Tea Party of Scottsdale, AZ
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Scottsdale City Council Report, April 20, by Doug Reed

PA160153.jpgWe have our twice yearly Adopt-A-Road event coming up Saturday, the day after tomorrow. For the past several years, Tea Party Scottsdale has “adopted” Chaparral Road between Pima and Hayden. The City supplies trash bags, gloves and safety vests, and we spent about an hour and a half helping to keep Scottsdale beautiful. The cleanup starts at 8:00 AM, and we meet at Randy’s Restaurant in the shopping center on the northwest corner of Chaparral and Hayden at 7:00 AM for a no host breakfast. I have a signup sheet here, of course.

We just had an election, but preparation by candidates for the 2018 election is already beginning. Dave Schweikert is running for reelection as our representative in Congressional District 6.  In Arizona, to be on the ballot requires a number of signatures on a Nomination Petition. The number for 2018 will change a little, but in 2016, a minimum of 1,622 signatures was needed. If you live in District 6, are registered as a Republican or as an independent or with no party preference, you can sign the petition. We have petitions available for signature tonight.

On to City Council items.  As many of you know, I am on the Bond Oversight Committee. We are tasked with keeping an eye on the spending approved in our last bond election for fire stations and for road repaving. Our next meeting is later this month, but I do have one update. One of the projects is the relocation of the fire station on McDonald and 73rd Street. The new location selected is on Indian Bend, just west of Pima. The owner of the property objected to the sale, the City invoked eminent domain, the court agreed, the City had the property appraised and deposited the appraised value in an escrow account and took over the property and began the planning and construction process. The owner then sued. I am told that

 the suit is now settled and I should have more information at our next meeting. On the surface, the settlement seems like a good thing since legal costs were funded by bond money which reduced the dollars available for station construction.

 How is the City doing on spending this fiscal year? The General Fund is the operating fund for the City-police, fire, staff salaries and benefits and so forth. And the results are pretty good if you compare to the budget for this year and to actual expenses last year. The budgeted expenses for fiscal year 2017 were about $174 million, up about $6 million from 2016. The actual expenses were $168 million which is the same as last year. So expenses so far are flat compared to last year and a little below budget. The income, however, is about $5 million lower than projected, entirely due to lower sales tax receipts. The lower figure is not due to declining sales activity, but is because of a change in state law. Our state legislators, in an effort to make sales tax collections more efficient, have decreed that the State will now collect all local taxes and rebate the taxes collected to the cities (charging the cities for this service). As you might expect, it takes a bit longer for the money to find its way from the State to the City checking account. This delay amounts to about $5 million. This is similar to what might happen to a person who expects to collect a paycheck on January 31st for work done in January, but the check doesn’t arrive until the middle of February. You still have the house payment to make, you know the money is coming, but it’s not in your checking account yet. By the way, almost three fourths of the General Fund goes toward salaries and benefits.

The City will refinance $20 million of Mountain Preserve bonds to reduce interest costs. These bonds are currently Scottsdale Preserve Authority bonds. They will be refinanced as Preserve General Obligation bonds. The idea here is that the new bonds have a stronger credit rating and thus lower interest costs. This was approved by the City Council on a 7-0 vote as part of the consent agenda, and is certainly a good thing as it will save taxpayer money. 
Buried in the small print, however, was a note which should be of interest to people on both sides of the Desert Discovery Center issue. There were two bond issues related to buying Preserve land, one in 1995 and one in 2004. In 2004, voters approved $500 million for land purchases and related improvements. After the above $20 million issue, there will be $259 million remaining authorized but unissued bonds which may be issued to finance Preserve land acquisitions and land improvements. If you are a supporter of the DDC, and believe the bond money can and should be used for the DDC, this is good news. However, the report goes on to say “ Conservative cash flow projections indicate insufficient Preserve excise tax collections to fund the remaining/unissued $260 million of authorized debt. Future debt issuances will only be considered when cash flow projections indicate sufficient Preserve excise taxes to support any future Preserve bond issues. In other words, no more money for land or for improvements which presumably would include no  money to fund the DDC.

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posted about this on Facebook 2017-04-24 15:34:40 -0600
Scottsdale City Council Report, April 20, by Doug Reed
@TPScottsdale tweeted link to this page. 2017-04-24 15:34:36 -0600
published this page in Scottsdale City Council & DDC 2017-04-24 15:34:30 -0600