City council to ruminate funding options for $350M in capital improvements

 (File photo)

The Scottsdale City Council will consider a plan Tuesday, Feb. 20 to fund $350 million in streets, parks, drainage and other capital improvements for the city.

The city has identified those projects as community needs, but are not included in proposals for Scottsdale’s next fiscal budget or five-year capital improvement plan. The reason is cost or not enough funding exists to pay for them, according to a press release.

Instead, a variety of additional revenue sources which the council subcommittee would recommend could fund the projects. The council subcommittee has been studying how to prioritize and fund capital needs for the past 12 months, a release states.

At a Feb. 8 city council meeting, the subcommittee explored how some capital projects not currently funded in the budget could be paid for through a combination of general obligation bonds, sales tax, and an increase in the city’s storm water fee. Some of those options would require a public vote.

Scottsdale’s latest budgeting process has identified about 200 potential capital improvement projects totaling more than $800 million. The proposed city budget and capital improvement plan, however, has only identified funding for 31 projects, totaling about $33 million.

The alternative funding sources explored could close that funding gap to pay for a group of projects totaling about $350 million, which the subcommittee identified as the most pressing needs.

Capital projects are defined as “brick and mortar” assets — things like streets, libraries, parks, sewers and water lines. They are considered separate from a city’s operating expenses such as salaries, fuel and electricity.

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane appointed in 2017 the City Council Capital Improvement Subcommittee — composed of Vice Mayor Virginia Korte, Councilman Guy Phillips and Councilman David N. Smith — to review the city’s capital needs and make recommendations to the city council.

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