Phillips: my perspective on two Scottsdale ballot propositions

As the Scottsdale city election draws near, I would like to present you with my opinion about the two ballot measures in Scottsdale. Both are extremely important to our community and I hope in the end you will agree with me.

Guy Phillips

The first measure is Proposition 420.

Prop. 420 is an initiative brought about by concerned residents over councils’ recent decision to allow building a large commercial project in the Preserve.

For information, Scottsdale residents and business owners have paid out over $1 billion to secure over 33 acres of land to preserve the Sonoran Highlands from over-development. The city ordinance provided that we may allow trails and trailheads to be built, as well as parking and maintenance. There was an ambiguity in the ordinance that the city attorney ruled as allowing anything can be built with a council majority vote.

This certainly was not the expectation of those who voted themselves a billion dollars to keep the Preserve land undisturbed!

Over 34,000 registered voters signed the initiative to change that section of the ordinance to make any proposition of building anything other than that which is expressly noted go to the voters and not the city council.

By voting, “yes” you agree the voters, not City Council, should get to vote on any proposition to build anything commercial in the Preserve.

This is very important because if this initiative doesn’t pass, you will see all sorts of buildings going up in the Preserve, from commercial ventures to hotels and even condos! Lets keep the Preserve what it is, the nation’s largest municipally owned Preserve with no buildings or exploitation, just pure Sonoran Desert for generations to enjoy.

The next issue on the ballot is question 1.

Question 1 is a transportation sales tax for the purpose of adding, renewing and expanding Scottsdale’s streets.

In 2004, voters across the county voted a .5 cent sales tax to fund roads across the county. Scottsdale’s share is $170 million. To date, we have not accepted those funds because in order to do so we need to ante up $70 million of our own.

That is where question 1 comes in. If passed, the .1 percent sales tax, equivalent to $10 cents on $100 dollars, will provide over 10 years the $70 million we need to get our Prop. 400 dollars.

There is an urgency because after 2020, the proposition expires and we will lose our share, so it is crucial that if we want to fix our roads, we need to pass question 1.

Also, if passed, this .1 percent tax will expire as soon as the $70 million goal is reached, which is about 10 years.

I’m no more for taxes than anyone else, but sometimes taxes are a good thing when it complies with the following:

The tax should be transparent:

This sales tax will go to transportation projects in Scottsdale only, and will be audited by the county to make sure it does.

The tax shouldn’t put any burden on the taxpayer:

This .1 percent sales tax is only $10 cents on $100 dollars, hardly noticeable in the course of business.

The tax should be accountable:

Any Prop. 400 funds used need to comply with county expenditure stipulations and will be audited by the county. Scottsdale will also have their own independent commission to follow and audit all transportation projects within question 1.

Everyone who pays a tax should benefit in some regard:

With transportation everyone who drives will benefit with new roads, extensions, intersections and traffic flow.

It should be for a specific purpose and sunset when that purpose is met:

Question one can only be used for local transportation projects and will end when the $70 million is reached.
So you can see, question 1 is a good deal for all Scottsdale residents and visitors.

Please vote, “yes” on this very important transportation tax.

Editor's Note: Mr. Phillips is a member of Scottsdale City Council.

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