City & Local Reform
It turns out that you can fight town hall. Here’s how we’re standing up for local citizens and winning.
Oro Valley's Town Council has decided to put anto issuing sales tax-sharing retail development incentives, though existing incentive agreements won't be affected.
Economic development incentives for retail "don't make sense," said Councilman Barry Gillaspie at an Aug. 14 public meeting. "I don't believe governments should be tampering in the private sector like that."
Oro Valley collected nearly 82 percent less sales-tax revenue than originally projected from two retail developments granted tax-sharing incentives by the town, figures show.
Two Oro Valley retail centers subject to those economic development agreements are open for business Oracle Crossings and Steam Pump Village and so far neither has met developers' original sales-tax forecasts.
As cities and towns across the state grapple with their own growing pains, Oro Valley recently decided to change how it attracts businesses, particularly retail establishments.
Across the state indeed across the country municipalities often attempt to lure retail outlets by offering them and developers perks and incentives.
In the past few years, voters in Oro Valley and local officials, have opted to sweeten development deals by sharing percentages of sales tax revenues with developers that promise to bring retail centers to the town.
Mesa is hopping mad over a lawsuit attacking a fee it collects for arts and cultural programs.
"This doesn't go well toward open communication and dialogue," City Manager Chris Brady said after the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix conservative think tank, announced it was suing Mesa over its cultural impact fees.
As the stakes get higher, a couple of new fronts may be opening in the fight against municipal tax-giveaways.
The assumption had been that Phoenix had topped the charts with a $100 million sales tax rebate to CityNorth. Surprise, however, has blown way past that mark with a $240 million rebate to Westcor.
Scottsdale's plan to offer employees up to 11 percent raises next year is a driving force behind city projections that show spending increases will far outpace revenue and population growth in the coming years.
The proposed 2007-08 budget is expected to be approved by the City Council today, with two council members likely voting against the $1.4 billion spending plan because of the 6 percent across-the-board cost-of-living raises that when combined with
5 percent merit raises push the salary increases into double digits.
Well, cities, the party is officially over. Goodbye to taking when you don't like the look of the development on the corner or you think a newer, fresher building might bring in more revenue. It's not that city planners and elected officials can't still be visionary in their quest to see their municipalities develop in the best possible way, they just can't force someone to sell out in order to implement the vision.
The flap over Scottsdale's tax subsidy for Steve Ellman's big-box development plans for Los Arcos mall and the state's pursuit of a new Boeing aerospace plant has rekindled the contentious debate over economic development incentives.
The debate over giving financial incentives or tax breaks to lure jobs and business investment has long been a heated one in Arizona. And the issue is not going away anytime soon, as business and political leaders look to jump-start the state's tottering economy and attract big-ticket and new economy investments.
It is time for straight talk on the fire service initiatives on the May 20 ballot. The good news in that Scottsdale is one of the safest communities in the nation and is fortunate to have excellent fire, police and emergency services. I do not support the fire service propositions as they are written and strongly urge Scottsdale voters to vote NO on Propositions 200 and 201.
Here are the facts:
SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE
When people think of downtown Scottsdale, they think of the wonderful shops and fine dining, of Thursday night art walks and, of course, the Sixth Avenue/Stetson area.
Wait, didn't you know? The City Council declared downtown Scottsdale a slum on Dec. 2, 1996.
So what happened between 1993, when Scottsdale was declared the "Most Livable City" by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and 1996, when the city declared the downtown a slum area?