Why is the city of Scottsdale trying to compete in the private sector?

The city recently announced plans to raise fees for parks and pools, beer permits in parks, garbage pickup and rental rates for special events at WestWorld.

Bill Crawford

Bill Crawford

Obviously, the city budget is stretched. There’s an area where things could be improved and unnecessary expenses could be cut.

The city of Scottsdale has no business being in business competing with local businesses.

To illustrate just how far down the wrong road this bureaucracy has traveled, look no farther than the city-owned fitness centers. Why is the city of Scottsdale in the fitness business? Sometimes municipally owned fitness centers provide a valuable service to residents when there are no fitness centers provided by the private sector. This is true in small communities and rural areas. In these circumstances it is appropriate for municipalities to provide fitness centers for the residents.

Scottsdale, Ariz. has the most fitness centers provided by the private sector than any other city in Arizona. The choices and offerings to the residents of Scottsdale are abundant.

Why then, does the city of Scottsdale own and operate several fitness centers? The membership prices for the fitness centers are far below market value, undercutting Scottsdale businesses. Membership fees are artificially held down by massive subsidies provided by the taxpayers of Scottsdale.

The city-owned fitness centers operate at a huge loss and compete with tax-paying, private sector businesses who have invested in the community and must pay overhead and compete with the city on an unlevel playing field.

What’s next from the city of Scottsdale? Dry cleaners, bars and used car lots? In a city where services are being cut and fees are being raised for recreational facilities, special permits and trash collection; what business does the city have competing with the private sector? The City of Scottsdale is losing tens of thousands of dollars every month by being in business.

Money could be saved and local enterprises could have a greater market share by getting the city out of businesses where they have no business being in business. Instead of losing money on physical fitness, the city just needs to be fiscally fit.

Editor’s note: Mr. Crawford is a 40-year fitness business owner, National Fitness Hall of Fame Inductee and candidate for mayor of Scottsdale

Editor's Note: Mr. Crawford is a local business owner and resident of Scottsdale

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