Derouin: To maintain Scottsdale the time to act is now

My family and I moved to Scottsdale in 1985; we love it here.

Jim Derouin

In November, voters will be asked to approve three bond questions, known as Questions 1, 2 and 3. I believe that these questions should be approved because they would better the city’s assets while, at the same time, the city’s bonded debt would be reduced.

  • Question 1 would provide $112 million for 14 deserving projects related to recreational facilities at, among other places, Pinnacle Peak Park, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, the Cactus Pool and the Eldorado Pool; and related to senior citizen facilities at the Granite Reef Senior Center, the Via Linda Senior Center and the Paiute Community Center.
  • Question 2 would provide $112 million for 20 badly needed infrastructure and repair projects at, among other places, Civic Center Plaza; for roadway and pedestrian improvements and parking in Old Town; and for various projects at WestWorld.
  • Question 3 would provide $94 million for 24 overdue projects relating to public safety and technology including replacing the city’s 9-1-1 dispatch system; replacing emergency power sources for the city’s public safety radio network; replacing obsolete software and hardware; construction of a new fire station and a fire department training facility; and renovation of various police and jail facilities.

Importantly, the bond questions in November represent a unanimous consensus of the council as a whole — a unanimity not seen in recent times in Scottsdale. We should take advantage of this opportunity.

Scottsdale is an asset rich community; but assets need to be maintained.

The good news is that this is a great time to for Scottsdale to issue new bonds because it is going to be retiring more bonds ($80 million annually) than it would issue assuming that Questions 1, 2 and 3 are approved ($50 million annually).

In other words, our quality of life can be enhanced, old assets can be refurbished, new assets can be added, home values can be protected — and, at the same time, the total amount of Scottsdale’s bonded indebtedness will go down. To me, this is great news for both taxpayers and for Scottsdale.

Scottsdale is a fiscally sound community that can afford to issue the bonds authorized by Questions 1, 2 and 3. It is one of only 30 cities in the nation with an AAA rating from all three major bond rating firms.

Scottsdale has a lower property tax rate than Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Glendale, and Mesa.

Out of every property tax dollar paid in Scottsdale, only $0.05 goes for government obligation bonds; by comparison, $0.48 goes for state education, $0.16 goes for community colleges, $0.18 goes to Maricopa County, and $0.07 goes to special districts.

Now is the time to act.

Editor’s Note: Jim Derouin is a lawyer who has lived in Scottsdale since 1985. He proposed the adoption of the city’s ethics code and served on the city’s Charter Review Committee, the city’s districting task force and as president of the Scottsdale Ranch Community Association.

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