Christian Serena on the Bonds

This column was sent to GPPABlog.org by Preserve Scottsdale’s Future, which supports approval of the bond. Christian Serena is an investment adviser with Merrill Lynch.

I work in the financial industry, so I understand how critical it is to make wise investments and exercise fiscal responsibility.  Those are two of the primary principles I use when I conduct the financial activities for my clients as well as the financial affairs for my own family.

I believe the spiraling economy the past several years has taught all of us important lessons about how to manage our money more prudently. There is a new appreciation for how vital it is to take a conservative approach to both our professional and personal financial matters.

The City of Scottsdale is no exception.  Like many of us, the City Council has had to adjust the city’s budgets to match reduced revenue streams.  Unfortunately, part of that austerity postponed scores of essential projects for several years.  Now there is a backlog of projects throughout the city that should have been done years ago.

Following two years of scrupulous study, the citizens Bond Task Force prioritized the projects that the city needs to initiate and made their recommendations to the City Council.  The Council then voted to place the 2013 Bond Election on the November 5th ballot.

The last time Scottsdale voters approved bonds was in 2000.  I was a student at Saguaro High School.  A lot has happened in the past 13 years.  Important infrastructure has slowly but surely begun to break down and critical systems are in need of substantial repairs.  Some technology, like part of the Fire Department’s communication system that allows Firefighters to continue their rapid response times, needs to be upgraded.

I have followed the evolution of the bond issue closely.  I am confident that the Task Force and City Council did their due diligence before the 39 bond projects were placed on the ballot.  I also put stock in the fact that the city treasurer has said if voters pass the four bond questions, it will not impact our city’s AAA bond rating or challenge our significant bonding capacity.

It is imperative to approve all four bond questions.  These are essential projects that have been put off in the past and now need to be done.  In fact if we don’t do them now, they will only cost more later.  That, from my perspective, is not fiscally responsible.

I am a native of Scottsdale.  This is my home, and where I am raising my family. I, like most people who have chosen to live in Scottsdale, do so because of our quality of life, which is the envy of many other places around the Valley.  Preserving that special quality of life should be a priority.

I believe the 2013 bond package is a wise investment in our unique quality of life for our families and for the city’s future.

Just like with my previous article and commentary on the bond marketing efforts of the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors, former (and future) city council candidate Serena seems to be saying that we should borrow a quarter of a billion dollars because:

  1. We haven’t borrowed money for long time.
  2. City government has neglected infrastructure, so we should trust them with MORE tax money to take care of it.
  3. We all know neglected infrastructure impacts quality of life, but I never noticed it before and I didn’t do anything to address it until now.

I can tell you from my experience that Serena was nowhere to be seen when citizens (including yours truly) warned the city council years ago that they should curtail wasteful spending and focus on necessities. However, the council denied that the economy was turning sour and they continued handing out money to their friends. Then they covered it up by short-changing the capital improvements and projects fund that should have been maintaining infrastructure all along.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Obviously Mr. Serena was not present when the Task Force said that only eight of these projects where “must haves”. How can asking for $212 million to do $39 million worth of “must haves” be a wise investment and fiscally responsible?

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