Whitehead: I am an engineer & I can count to $21,900,000

There was a lot of talk about financial credentials at the city council candidate forum held last week. One incumbent is a banker, another an accountant.

Solange Whitehead

I am an electrical engineer. Engineers are good with numbers, too. But in the engineering profession, it’s results that matter. Either the Mars Rover lands intact or $2.5 billion tax dollars go up in smoke.

City council “results” over the past eight years including a $21.9 million dollar giveaway two weeks ago are behind my decision to run for city council.

Our city’s once flush rainy day fund is bone dry, there’s $800 million of infrastructure needs, and no money to pay for it.

Financial discipline & spending priorities

Scottsdale’s financial crisis is not from lack of tax revenues. It is because a city council majority lacks fiscal discipline, prioritizes spending projects poorly, and has implemented changes with severe but foreseeable financial consequences.

All of which were on full display two weeks ago.

A city council majority tossed planned growth to the wind and approved the Crossroads East project rezoning 1,000 acres. The project was predominantly negotiated behind closed doors.

The approval increases profits for the state government and developers while Scottsdale residents pay the price. More density, more height, more traffic, more cars and air conditions pumping hot air into our desert skies, and more tax dollars. The $21.9M infrastructure costs will come from the city’s General Fund, money used to operate the entire city.

City council approved the $21.9 million dollar commitment without the city treasurer being able to identify how the city will pay it.

This is not how engineers land rovers on Mars.

It also seems worth pointing out that engineers were notably absent from the list of professions that gamed our nation’s financial system for profit causing the Great Recession and costing millions of Americans their homes, jobs, and savings.

Understanding numbers, budgets, and finances are great skills. However, it doesn’t do Scottsdale any good if that knowledge is not used for the benefit the community.

Future value depends on today’s priorities

Scottsdale citizens and businesses pay taxes and the taxes must be spent wisely and conservatively. Planned, high quality development will enhance Scottsdale’s valuable brand and improve quality of life for existing residents.

These priorities will ensure that Scottsdale remains attractive to tourists, first and second homeowners, and companies looking for the perfect spot to set up shop.

Editor’s Note: Solange Whitehead is running for Scottsdale City Council.

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