Why a ‘yes’ vote on bonds makes sense

"No one can expect to get $319 million worth of upgrades and new infrastructure for nothing."

On Nov. 5, Scottsdale voters will be asked to approve three bond questions totaling $319 million to fund capital projects in Scottsdale.

Because I am a member of the Council Capital Improvement Plan Subcommittee (along with Councilmembers Suzanne Klapp and Guy Philips), I have been getting many questions about how this package was put together and what it really means to Scottsdale’s citizens.

With the help of Councilmember Klapp, I fought for and won:

Six open house meetings throughout the entire city where the public could review and comment on all of the potential projects. We also opened a city website where citizens could leave the comments and ideas.

The bond request is broken into three questions, giving citizens more choice about which projects they want to fund with their property taxes.

The total amount of the bond request was cut from $730 million to $319 million, leaving only those projects that are most vital to the city as a whole, for which there is no other funding source available, and will most improve the quality of life of Scottsdale’s citizens.

The finalized format for the bonds was decided by Council as three questions. They are: Public Safety, Parks and Recreation, and Infrastructure. The total bond request stayed at $319 million. So, let’s look at some key facts about the bond questions and the election:

This will be an all-mail-in ballot election: every registered voter in Scottsdale will be mailed a ballot, and every household with a voter residing there will receive a copy of the information pamphlet. Please do not throw out the pamphlet. It contains the information on the projects in each of the questions.

Unlike previous bond elections, the ballot does not list the individual projects or their individual costs. You can see the actual ballot language at scottsdaleaz.gov/Assets/ScottsdaleAZ/Elections/110519ballotlanguage.pdf.

Citizens can also see the details of each project in the bond questions on the city web site at: scottsdaleaz.gov/construction/unfunded-cip-projects.

If the bonds are approved, the plan is for slipping them in slowly as current bonds are paid off to keep the cost near current levels. This may result in a small decrease of the City’s portion of your property tax bill over the life of the bonds.

The actual amount of the change will depend, of course, on the interest rates and terms the City can obtain in the bond market. Right now, the rates are low and Scottsdale’s Triple A rating only enhances our position.

No one can expect to get $319 million worth of upgrades and new infrastructure for nothing. Rather consider this question: “Will the benefit we, the citizens, receive from these bonds be worth the small cost to fund them?”

I believe the question to that question is “yes.”

These bonds include fire and police stations and upgrades to the training facilities for both. It funds new parks and park renovations, a much-needed bridge, a dog park, a senior center and an adult care facility, sport facilities upgrades, solar power systems, event space at Civic Center Plaza, better IT equipment and security.

I believe the quality of life for our citizens will be improved by these projects well beyond the point where the costs are justified.

-Kathy Littlefield is a Scottsdale City Councilwoman. She can be reached by email at kathy@kathylittlefield.com