Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce announces 2018 ballot positions

A historical photo of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. (Photo courtesy of the Scottsdale Historical Society)

The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has announced its recommendations on city of Scottsdale ballot propositions.

The board of directors evaluated both ballot propositions thoroughly and considered ballot arguments for each initiative prior to voting on a Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors position, according to chairman Dale Fingersh.

“The SACC Board represents over 1,000 members of Scottsdale’s business community,” Mr. Fingersh said in a prepared statement.

“After careful consideration, we have taken positions to oppose Proposition 420, regarding the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve, and support ballot question one, to temporarily increase the local sales tax to fund transportation projects.”

A view of McDowell Mountain Preserve in northern Scottsdale. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Prop. 420 – amendment to Scottsdale City Charter that would prohibit altering the natural state of preserve land and limiting the use of preserve funds

Recommendation – No

Reasoning:

•Changes to the City Charter, no matter how small, would have a permanent impact on the governance of the city, should be taken seriously and must anticipate the future needs of the City and its citizens.

•Proposed changes should avoid creating issues that invite “interpretation.” Once a change is made, it’s difficult and complicated to reverse it.

•Prop. 420 empowers an unelected and unaccountable group (the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission) to interpret language and make and mediate decisions about the future of the Preserve, circumventing the authority of the publicly-elected Scottsdale City Council.
Prop 420 creates a long list of “unintended consequences.”

•The initiative allows for “appropriate restoration efforts within the Preserve.” This phrase is undefined, leaving the Charter open to interpretation and opening the door for expensive litigation.

•This lack of clarity could prevent the City from restoration of the Preserve following a flood, wildfire or any other unforeseen natural disaster.

•Prop. 420 prevents the city from installing additional watering holes in the event of prolonged and significant drought. It prohibits the city from creating fire breaks or wash maintenance which could have a devastating impact on surrounding property and citizens.

•In short, Prop 420 would handcuff the city from taking nearly any action in the Preserve without calling an expensive election to seek voter approval.

•The cost to taxpayers for one publicly-held special election is $500,000.

A portion of 68th Street Bridge is closed. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Ballot Question 1 – Temporarily increase the rate of sales tax to provide for transportation improvement projects

Recommendation – Yes

Reasoning:

•The ballot measure asks residents to approve an increase in the city’s transportation sales tax by .10 percent for a period of 10 years to fund transportation projects to improve streets throughout the city. The tax is an increase of one penny on every $10 purchase, and can only be used for transportation projects.

• Monies collected from the temporary tax will be used to fund 22 street improvement projects that are eligible for matching funds through the Maricopa Association of Governments Arterial Life Cycle Program. These matching funds total approximately $170 million of county-wide sales tax dollars that have been contributed by Scottsdale taxpayers. If the city does not obtain its share of the match, about $71 million, then the county matching funds would be made available to other communities beginning in 2020.

•Even with the sales tax increase, Scottsdale’s tax rate, if approved at .0175, would remain the third lowest among the eight largest Valley cities.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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