Council Preview

The first Scottsdale City Council meeting of 2012 is tonight. Given what’s on the agenda, I’ll be sure to be there and you can expect other notable citizen/neighborhood advocates to be in attendance.

Sonnie Kirtley with Coalition of Greater Scottsdale send the following out to her list:

Consent Agenda items (no public or council discussion—group vote to approve)  These liquor license renewals are requested because of new ownerships: Eddie V’s, Wildfish, Soul Café and el Ranchero. Additionally is the Brown’s Ranch Trailhead case 40-UP-2011 to construct an access trailhead to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve which includes the NWC (northwest corner) and NEC of Alma School Road and Dixeleta.

Regular Agenda items Item #9 Bond Task Force Update.  [COGS readers can go back to your December 20th Newsletter and open the attachments to read the  Bond Task Force 1st draft of projects/proposals to include in a possible 2012 Bond Election.]  Their council microphone time will simply be a verbal update and not a presentation of any final draft or decisions by the Task Force.

Item #10 Clarifies the separation of Medical Marijuana facilities to include multifamily developments and defines schools as kindergarten through 12th grade.  It also combines dispensary uses into one “medical marijuana use” category.  The Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for facilities limit hours from 6 am to 7 pm; no drive-up or take out and it must be one-quarter mile from another marijuana facility.  Up to this date in our city: 33 pre-applications were received and 18 CUPs were submitted. These resulted in 11 dispensaries okayed, one cultivation okayed and 4 distribution plus cultivation approved by city council.  HOWEVER, of the 16 approved, 14 will expire January 10th, one expires in February, and the last approved CUP expires in April.  You should know that no “patient cultivation” requires city review, so zero/none of these are in the city process. The delay is at the state level as Arizona seeks to have the federal law redefine marijuana use from a “crime” to include a “medical use as legal”.  Healthcare givers want legal protection from the federal law.

For the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale Board of Directors, Sonnie Kirtley, Chair, e-mail cogsaz@cox.net

As for me, here are my other items of concern:

4 p.m. Special Meeting to fill vacancies on Boards and Commissions, one of which is the seat vacated by my firing from the Airport Advisory Commission. Jim Lane made a campaign promise to empower boards and commissions, but his actions in the last year have rendered them weaker and less functional. Most citizen advocates find them to be a complete waste of time.

On the Regular Meeting Consent Agenda:

On the Regular Agenda

This last one is apparently some sort of special item with no supporting documentation and no public comment allowed:

Request for a Joint Work Study Session with Airport Advisory Commission
Request:  At the request of Councilman Littlefield, discuss and provide possible direction to staff to agendize a joint work study session with the Airport Advisory Commission and an FAA representative regarding land use compatibility around the Scottsdale Airport.

Note:  The only Council action to be taken on Item No. 16 is a decision on whether to agendize the referenced matter at a future Council meeting.  No public comment will be taken at this time.

Former Budget Review Commission member Graham Kettle submitted the following to the city council as a comment on Agenda Item 11, City’s Proposed FY 12/13 Key Budget Issues:

This pathetic presentation from staff is not worth the paper it is written on. It categorically proves that staff has not learned one damn thing from the FY 11/12 budget process, and furthermore that they have absolutely no intention of trying to do so. It is a self serving analysis which has only one idea for utilizing growing revenues and that it is to bolster their own pay and benefits. Scottsdale deserves better than this. Productivity improvements should be the funding source for remuneration improvements and not the taxpayers. This is how it happens in the real world but alas this is not the case in the public sector.

Staff is performing their usual conjuring trick of using the FY 11/12 approved budget as the base when in fact they should be using the latest forecast for FY 11/12 which will show lower costs and higher revenues. Remember from last year the gross inaccuracy of the expenditure forecasts that staff used for FY 10/11 to try to justify their unrealistic budget proposals for the current year FY 11/12; there was an overstatement of over $9m – all part of the process of providing misleading information to mask the real cost of running services in this city.

So the real budget objective for FY 12/13 should be as follows:

“How can services be maintained (in terms of both volume and quality) while at the same time lowering the tax burden on businesses and citizens”

To achieve this objective you will need a higher caliber of management in this city, more comprehensive financial reports each month and a realization that it is payback time for the taxpayers.

Wasting money has been the standard modus operandi in the City of Scottsdale. It was Mayor Lane who said this in a 2008 election ad (and he must be correct!!!) and I quote “In her 8 years as mayor, Mary Manross’ mistakes and weak leadership have cost Scottsdale taxpayers more than $1 billion”. The waste has continued under Lane with excessive general fund expenditures, an insane retirement incentive program, overcharging on utilities, selling assets off too cheaply (and then not using the proceeds to pay down debt) etc etc. All this despite election pledge No 2 “Better protection of taxpayer money” and election pledge no 9 “Stop waste and inefficiency in city government”

It is time this waste stopped and an objective appraisal of the true cost of running current city services was carried out by an independent body. This is what the businesses and citizens, i.e. the funding source for the city, deserve.

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