Scottsdale City Council OKs $95.9M GO bond election proposal

Scottsdale City Council Wednesday, June 3 voted 6-1 in favor of calling a $95.9 million special general revenue bond election meant to pay for depreciating infrastructure citywide.

The special bond election, which comes at cost of $500,000, will be voted on the Nov. 3 ballot. The bond proposal will be presented in six categories: Parks and community facilities, transportation, city-wide technology, street pavement replacement, fire, and police.

The breakdown of the bond pitch is:

  • Parks and community facilities: $31.9 million
  • Transportation: $16.54 million
  • Public safety- fire: $16.35 million
  • Street pavement replacement: $12.5 million
  • Public safety- police: $11.8 million
  • Citywide technology: $6.87 million

Councilman and former City Treasurer David Smith says during the economic recession, the city failed to maintain the infrastructure, and now the need for improvements is more pressing.

David Smith

David Smith

“I’ve been a proponent of new bond elections for a long time,” Councilman Smith said in a June 8 phone interview. “The infrastructure of the city is being allowed to deteriorate in a way that is unsafe for the city’s future.”

Councilman Guy Phillips, the only councilmember to vote against the special election, says the city should not be using a general obligation bond to pay for the infrastructure improvements.

“The city already has the money to pay for the improvements,” Councilman Phillips said in a June 8 phone interview. “You can get money from other sources.”

Councilman Phillips also says general obligation bonds should be viewed as a “last resort.”

Guy Phillips

Guy Phillips

The improvement of street surfaces would cost $12.5 million, and Councilman Smith says it’s a necessary cost.

“When I was campaigning for office, I said one of the most serious neglects was allowing the street condition to deteriorate,” he pointed out. “That’s important. But, frankly, they’re all important investments.”

The proposed money for the parks and community facilities would fund park renovations, lake rehabilitation, pool chemical safety improvements, and the installation of energy-efficient lighting at ballparks, among others.

For the transportation category, the proposed money would fund improvements at the intersection of Hayden Rd. and Chaparral Rd. It would also fund improvements of Highland Ave. and improve downtown pedestrian environments.

Public buildings would see improvements in energy efficiency and wireless technology if the proposed bond passes. It would also lead to the purchasing of software and hardware to prepare for an unexpected loss of the city’s primary data center.

The proposed bond for fire safety would lead to the improvements of Fire Stations 605, 613, and 616. It would also fund the relocation of Fire Station 603. The proposed police safety bond would pay for a renovation of the police civic center jail and the resurfacing of the police vehicle training track.

The most expensive item of all the bond proposals is the renovation of Vista del Camino park and Indian Bend Wash area from McKellips Road to Thomas Road that will cost $18.5 million.

Other high-priced items include the expansion and renovation of the civic center jail ($10.1 million), the relocation of Fire Station 603 ($6.75 million), and the purchase of disaster recovery technology ($4.9 million).

Councilman Phillips is against the idea of placing so many items on a general obligation fund, and Councilman Smith says he knows he will have to be a salesman to get the voters like Councilman Phillips on his side.

“I think the bond will pass if the voters understand the urgent need for investment on infrastructure,” he explained. “It’s a bit of a sales job.”

In order to be qualified to vote in the special election, city residents must be registered to vote by Oct. 5.

Scottsdale Independent Sports Correspondent Justin Maskulinski can be contacted at jmaskulinski@newszap.com. Follow him on twitter at twitter.com/Maskulinski.

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