On April 17, the Scottsdale City Council will consider ballot language seeking voter approval for a bond issue of $350 million for capital improvements. I support the recommendation completely! I have argued since long before I joined Council, the City is reinvesting too little in our assets. The financial strategy of the past few years is unsustainable; we are on an orderly path of liquidation.
During last week’s Council meeting, I made two additional motions that may not have been understood – even by close followers of Council deliberations.
My first motion was for Council to discuss and consider seeking voter approval to issue bonds for up to 50% of the cost of renovations to our Scottsdale Stadium. Renovations are estimated to cost $60 million, but we don’t have that kind of money at the city…even if we dedicated all the carry-over cash and debt service capacity of the Tourism Development Fund.
Citizens will have to help on the Stadium project. Together, we must preserve, protect and grow this valuable community and tourism asset. Voters supported Stadium renovations the last time we asked; hopefully, they will do so again.
My motion was seconded, but not approved by Council majority. We’ll need to find other ways to renovate and improve this asset.
My second motion was for Council to discuss and consider seeking voter approval to issue bonds for up to 50% of the construction cost of a DDC/DE. Construction is estimated to cost $68 million, but, again, we don’t have that kind of money at the city…even if we dedicated all the carry-over cash and bonding capacity of the Tourism Development Fund.
We do expect cash to accumulate in the Preserve Fund, but it is problematic whether these funds could be dedicated to a DDC/DE without voter approval. Several months ago, I supported ballot language to ask voter approval to spend Preserve Fund money on the DDC/DE, but my Council colleagues did not concur.
As an aside… the only matters a governmental body can “refer” to its voters are (1) legislative acts, (2) City Charter amendments or (3) tax issues.
The DDC/DE is not a legislative act – it’s only a proposal. Furthermore, a specific prohibition against construction of a DDC/DE cannot be drafted into City Charter language. The POP Charter language on the petition being circulated only restricts construction in the Preserve…it says nothing about a DDC/DE that might be built elsewhere.
The only way voters can vote on a DDC/DE is with their pocketbooks; by saying they approve or refuse to pay for half the cost, they could have their vote. It may be premature to put a DDC/DE question on the ballot the way I suggested, but it would give many voters the opportunity they seek…”a right to vote on the DDC!”