O’Hearn: supporting the Scottsdale bond is the only way

It’s been suggested that the proper method for Scottsdale to pay for the improvements called for in the upcoming bond election is by raising property taxes.

The idea is indeed appealing to those adverse to bond funding and believe that municipalities should adopt a pay-as-you-go policy in maintaining basic infrastructure.

Ned O'Hearn

Ned O’Hearn

An interesting idea and alternative to bonding – if it worked.

The fact is, it doesn’t. City councils are only allowed to increase your primary property tax rate, used to pay for annual operating expenses like fire, police and community services.

Even then, the rate can only be increased by 2 percent. Only we as taxpayers have the authority to raise our secondary property taxes that are applied to capital investments.

But let’s say for argument’s sake that the Council could increase the secondary property tax and forego issuing bonds. Assuming (appropriately) that the 2 percent restriction would apply, it would take 192 consecutive annual increases to raise the $96 million needed to address the critical capital projects identified in this bond election.

That’s like putting out a raging house fire one bucket of water at a time, one dousing every hour. By the time you’re done there’s nothing left to save.

We only have one choice and that’s to support the bond election. There’s no other way.

Ned O'Hearn is a former Scottsdale City Councilman.

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