On Tuesday, November 3, Scottsdale voters will be asked to decide whether or not to pass a $95.9 million bond proposal in a special election. Some city officials argue that its passage is essential to maintain and repair public infrastructure; others contend the funds are already available in the general fund. Here’s what you need to know:
It covers parks and police. Roughly one third of the money generated by the bonds ($31.9 million) would go towards improving parks and community facilities, and nearly another third would go to the police department ($11.8 million) to help modernize and expand its jail and the fire department ($16.3 million) to add four more stations and update others.
The rest of the bond money would finance street pavement replacement ($12.5 million), citywide technology ($6.8 million), and transportation ($16.5). You can learn more online at the city’s website.
There’s fear of special interest funding. Councilman Guy Phillips told the Scottsdale Independent that he opposes the bond because these projects can be financed through the general fund capital projects division. He contends that the bond will only free up the general fund money for special-interest uses.
Even though Scottsdale has one of the lowest property tax rates in the Valley and voters haven’t passed a bond issue in 15 years, Philips feels Scottsdale homeowners already pay enough in taxes.
Some fiscal conservatives support it. Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield, who calls herself a fiscal conservative in an opinion piece she recently wrote in The Arizona Republic, says she opposes unnecessary spending, but Scottsdale needs these funds for “infrastructure needs that are critical to Scottsdale’s future.”
Littlefield points out that interest rates right now are at a historic low, so borrowing money now rather than later when rates go up makes sense and actually saves money. If the bond doesn’t pass, she believes the city jeopardizes its quality of life, public safety, and property values.
Homeowners will pick up the tab. The proposed bond would cost homeowners 11.5 cents per $100 of net assessed valuation used for secondary property tax purposes. According to the city, an average Scottsdale homeowner living in a home valued at $370,000 would pay an additional $3.50 per month if the bond is approved.
Even with this increase, Littlefield says Scottsdale property taxes will remain some of the lowest in the Valley.
You can hear both sides debate. Phillips and Vice Mayor Linda Milhaven, who supports the bond, will present their arguments in two upcoming debates:
- 1, 6-7:30 p.m., at the Scottsdale Bible Church, 7601 E. Shea Blvd.
- 3, 10-11:30 a.m., Saturday, at the North Scottsdale Christian Church, 28700 N. Pina Road.
The event will feature opening statements, a debate on the merits of the bond, and a question-and-answer segment.
For more information on the bond, call the Scottsdale City Clerk at 480-312-2411.