Smith: legacy of extraordinary volunteer signified with William P. Schrader Day

A view the 1969 Parada Del Sol featured the “W” Bill Schrader float. (Photo credit: Scottsdale Historical Society)

Last night our city commemorated 50 years of volunteer service from former Mayor Bill Schrader by declaring Jan. 30, 2017 as William P. Schrader Day in Scottsdale.

To appreciate the significance of this event requires a look back to Feb. 21, 1967 when our city council created a non-profit Municipal Property Corporation to act as intermediary for the acquisition and financing of new assets for the city.

The novelty of this financing approach was that MPC debt would be repaid by the revenue stream associated with the newly acquired assets. The revenue stream might be fees or it might be an allocation of sales tax; it would never be property taxes.  When the MPC debt was repaid, the city would own the assets outright.

David Smith

The first projects to take advantage of MPC financing were improvements at the Scottsdale Airport, where debt service was to be paid from airport revenues. Over the past 50 years, the MPC has financed $1.2 billion of city assets … but that’s not the only remarkable part of the story!

The notion of forming an MPC was not the idea of city staff nor did it come from city council; rather it was proposed by a group of five “interested citizens,” including former Mayor Bill Schrader, who was then only two years out of public office.

Bill had served as mayor during the great ‘annexation wars’ of the 1960s. His foresight and dedication to the future of Scottsdale had already prevented the loss to Phoenix of much that is Scottsdale today — the Scottsdale Airport/Airpark; the McDowell Mountains; and McCormick Ranch. Now he was proposing a way for the city to grow.

Most Scottsdale citizens have no memory of the years 1962-64 when Bill Schrader was mayor, even though the livability of their community today owes much to his leadership at that time. Nor are they aware of Bill’s involvement in the founding of the Scottsdale Jaycees and the Scottsdale Charros. Or his service on local and regional boards like the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Phoenix Zoo, the Maricopa Community College Foundation and the Friends of the Arizona Archives Advisory Committee.

In President Obama’s recent farewell address he promised; “I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days.”  No public servant has ever set a better example of continued citizen service than Bill Schrader.

During five decades of service on the board of the Municipal Property Corporation, Bill has offered a constant, steady hand of leadership to guide the continued development of our city following his service as our Mayor.

During Bill Schrader’s campaign for public office in the early 1960s, he sponsored a float in the Parada celebration that sported a fake cow on top — alluding to Bill’s dairy farm operation — and a slogan that read, “Pulling for Scottsdale.”

For more than fifty years, Bill Schrader has continued “Pulling for Scottsdale!”  Our community is richer for Bill’s selfless service as a fellow citizen. He has earned our gratitude and deserves our thanks as: volunteer extraordinaire!

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