This column appeared in the Scottsdale Republic this morning. There’s nothing new here, just tired, re-hashed sales pitch material:
- ‘It’s been a long time since we had a bond,’
- ‘We need to invest in our infrastructure’ (which begs the question, why have we NOT been doing that?),
- ‘don’t confuse Preserve debt with municipal bond debt’ (this is actually General Obligation bond debt, perhaps the writer is confusing Municipal Property Corporation debt, which IS the same as Preserve debt),
- ‘We have a great credit rating’ (is that a reason to borrow money?)
Astonishingly, the writer still believes we have a balanced budget! For the record, we had an $8.4 million structural deficit last year, and we have a $9 million structural deficit this year!
‘Yes’ vote on bond questions is investment in quality of life
Scottsdale enjoys good business climate
To paraphrase the late Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi: The quality of a community is in direct proportion to its commitment to excellence.
We all live in Scottsdale because it offers us a very high quality of life. Those who came before us had a vision and were willing to invest in it.
My family and I have lived here since 1972. Long before becoming mayor, I worked on bond elections and witnessed firsthand how critically important they are to the health and success of our community.
Scottsdale has effectively implemented bond programs because we carried out a deliberate, thoughtful, citizen-driven process to determine what projects were most important to our safety and our quality of life. We also put into place an oversight committee to make sure all funds were spent wisely and only for those projects that citizens voted to support.
These same steps were taken to put the 2013 Quality of Life bond proposal on the ballot.
We all understand the necessity of investing in our own households to maintain a safe and quality environment in which to live. The exact same principle applies to our community. It is imperative that we continue to improve our streets, parks, flood-control systems, public safety, libraries and other community facilities.
Due to Scottsdale’s ongoing AAA bond rating, low property-tax rate, and favorable interest-rate climate, it is the appropriate time to undertake these improvements.
The city continues to have a balanced budget and carries a very reasonable and manageable amount of debt, while keeping property taxes competitive and low.
Do not confuse municipal bond debt with the McDowell Sonoran Preserve debt! Critics conveniently never mention that the preserve has a “dedicated” revenue stream to fund land purchases, trailheads and improvements. That means this extraordinary community amenity does not, in any way, negatively impact the city’s general-fund budget or its bond ratings.
Our Preserve, which encompasses one-third of our city in beautiful, natural open space, has repeatedly been strongly supported by our residents at the ballot box, which created that dedicated revenue stream. Therefore, Scottsdale continues to enjoy excellent bond ratings and maintain a balanced budget, even while building a “one-of-a-kind” Preserve.
It has been 13 years since the city last approved a municipal bond program. It is time to reinvest in our essential services and systems.
I urge my friends, neighbors and all fellow citizens to vote yes on all four questions on the ballot to preserve our special quality of life here in Scottsdale.
Mary Manross is a former Scottsdale mayor.