Henninger: To conserve benefits of Scottsdale resident reinvestment is crucial

This month, the Scottsdale City Council is tackling perhaps the most important challenge it will face all year: solving the long-neglected capital improvement needs across the city.

Don Henninger

What’s at stake? It’s not overstated to say the overall quality of life in Scottsdale.

It will be a tall order. The city is working on a bond package that currently has 67 projects totaling up to $450 million. That likely will change in the days ahead as the City Council finalizes a plan to present to voters, hopefully in time to put on the ballot for this November.

The projects are not superfluous. And they’re really not optional. The work ranges from repairing crumbling infrastructure, to funding essential services like public safety, to projects that will continue to provide the amenities and quality of life that make Scottsdale a city that residents can be proud to call home.

The council’s Capital Improvement Subcommittee has asked the city staff to collect input from residents. The city has held a number of open houses throughout the city allowing citizens a chance to see the details of what is being proposed. That transparency should help because Scottsdale voters have not been warm to bond proposals, approving only two measures over three elections in the past decade.

The work that has been left unfunded and unattended is piling up.

What can citizens do?

One, residents should take the time to understand why the projects have been identified and then show up when it’s time to vote on whatever package the city puts together. Ultimately, citizens need to invest in their city if they expect to continue enjoying the benefits of what is has to offer.

Nothing is free. But it is important to note that since older bonds are being retired, there is an opportunity, depending on the size of the proposed bond package, that voters could approve the new measure without seeing any increase in their property taxes.

Two, this is a great time for residents to embrace a city-wide community spirit, realizing what’s good for the city as a whole, and not just approve projects that improve life in their own neighborhoods.

The projects being proposed involve nearly every department and cover all areas of the city. Will residents in the north understand that projects in Old Town and south Scottsdale are important to the overall economic health of the city? And the reverse is true, too. Voting records show that has not been the case.

It’s time to put individual neighborhood interests aside and celebrate the geographic diversity that makes Scottsdale unique — from its urban core in Old Town to majestic desert vistas in the north. It’s all one city. We need to invest in it from that approach.

Let’s hope that the City Council finalizes a package in time for the November ballot, and does so with a unanimous vote. If our leaders can unite behind the bond package this time around, and campaign for its passage, it improves the chance that voters will unite behind it, too.

And given the recent past, wouldn’t it be nice to see the city come together in spirit of unity?

Editor’s Note: Mr. Henninger is executive director of the Scottsdale Coalition of Today & Tomorrow and can be reached at Donh@scottsdale.com. He also serves on the Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA Board of Directors

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