Smith and Milhaven urge ‘yes’ votes on 2015 Scottsdale bond pitch

On Nov. 3, we are asking citizens to approve six ballot questions representing a $96 million program to help our city catch up on crucial improvements — including replacement of streets, renovation of park facilities and resources for police and firefighters.

David Smith

David Smith

Fifteen years ago, voters approved $358 million to finance improvements to streets, roadways, parks and other city infrastructure. Since that time, our city has grown and our assets continue to age and wear out.

The bond authorization of 2000 was to fund capital needs through 2010. Also, in the last 15 years, we experienced an unprecedented economic boom and recession.  Through the boom, the city was able to supplement the capital program from annual revenues. This is no longer possible. Even with our recovering economy, city General Fund revenues are $36 million less than the high in 2007-08.

In the current year, our General Fund budget is $264 million dollars. Hardly enough to fund $96 million in needed improvements and maintain services. We must replace and renovate critical infrastructure to maintain the quality of our city and we need a bond to pay for it.

Linda Milhaven

Linda Milhaven

The projects included in the six ballot questions represent only the most critical needs. The entire program was culled from over $1 billion worth of projects reviewed by two citizen task forces. The proposed projects will replace or renovate existing facilities or are a matter of health and safety.

More specifically, the proposed program includes $12.5 million to replace 140 miles of neighborhood and collector streets and $16.5 million for critical intersection improvements.

It specifies $32 million for parks and recreation with more than half of that for the renovation of the Vista del Camino Park and Indian Bend Wash to prevent the lake from overtaking the paths, trees and fields.

It will fund $28 million to replace or construct new fire stations, upgrade police facilities and another $7 million to ensure continuity of critical city services in the event of a disaster, including 9-1-1 police and fire services.

For more detailed project descriptions and budgets visit the city website at www.scottsdaleaz.gov/construction.

The cost for homeowners is minimal. Businesses will pay more than a third of the total bill and out-of-state investors will pay another significant share.  Owners of a home with an average value of $371,000 will pay $3.55 per month, or $42.63 a year. After taking the property tax deduction on our income taxes, the cost is even less. But we know that it isn’t so much about the price, but about the value to our citizens.

The return on this investment is safer streets, quicker and better equipped first responders, and improved public facilities.  In a larger sense the return will be protection of our individual property values and our quality of life.

Please vote “yes” for all six Questions 1-6 and keep Scottsdale great!

Editor’s note: Ms. Milhaven and Mr. Smith are members of the Scottsdale City Council and honorary co-chairs of “Yes To Scottsdale Bonds 2015” committee.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.