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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

When I said in a recent blog that the Yucca district and Glendale were hot foreconomic development, it was probably the understatement of the year. In addition to the recent announcement of Top Golf locating in Glendale, our latest blockbuster announcement is IKEA, a leader in home furnishings retail, has chosen Glendale and the Yucca district for its newest store. It’s only other location is in the southeast Valley in Tempe. With the addition of the Glendale location IKEA will now have a commanding presence in the northwest Valley. IKEA stated in its press release, “The proposed Glendale store would complement our Phoenix-area presence established in Tempe and bring the unique family-friendly shopping experience closer to customers in the West Valley and beyond.”

From Glendale’s press release issued today:

“The 348,000 square foot IKEA will be built on 29 acres between the Loop 101 and 95th Avenue on the south side of Bethany Home Road across from the Glendale Sports and Entertainment District which includes the University of Phoenix Stadium, Gila River Arena, Cabela’s, Tanger Outlets and Westgate.

“IKEA choosing our city is further proof that major corporations agree Glendale is the place to grow and build their brand,” said City Manager Kevin Phelps. “The freeway access and visibility, the available workforce and the energy of Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District make it the perfect location for IKEA. The presence of IKEA is a ‘game changer’ that will accelerate additional growth and further elevate one of the most dynamic areas in Arizona.”

“Pending approvals, construction of IKEA Glendale will most likely occur in Fall 2018 with an opening in the Spring of 2020. At build out, IKEA will offer 300 new jobs and create 500 construction jobs. Recognized as one of the top 100 places to work, IKEA offers potential employees competitive pay and benefits for both full and part time employees.

“This city has been amassing an impressive list of corporations that now call Glendale home,” said Economic Development Director Brian Friedman. “These new businesses account for more than two million square feet of new construction in this dynamic district along. We are excited for the opportunity to welcome even more development, jobs and capital investment to the area because of IKEA’s presence.” Friedman says the additional 30 acres immediately adjacent to IKEA will attract further corporate development from businesses seeking to benefit from IKEA’s proximity.

“From my first meeting with the IKEA officials, it was my role as Mayor to impress upon them that Glendale absolutely, positively wanted IKEA to locate in our city when they were searching for possible new location in Arizona,” said Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers. “We demonstrated that by being responsive to their needs and working on their timeline. It was exciting and very gratifying to see Glendale ultimately selected. The announcement today continues the positive momentum that Glendale has been experiencing.

“Visitors to the area already top 10 million per year,” said Councilmember Joyce Clark of the Yucca district, location of choice for IKEA. “The presence of a fun and family friendly IKEA store in Glendale will further enhance Glendale’s reputation as a retail/entertainment and sports destination, not only providing residents and visitors even more reasons to shop and play here but complimenting Tanger Outlet, a premier retail destination in the Valley.”

I am very pleased to welcome IKEA to Glendale, the West Valley and most especially to my district. Glendale, the state’s 5th largest city, is on the economic development forefront. Just imagine what the next few years hold and who else will choose Glendale as their preferred location.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

The 4th floor of City Hall is closed today, September 14th and Friday, September 15th. Staff has been relocated to other city facilities and senior staff and councilmembers’ meetings are off-site. This is a sole occurrence as the A/C for the 4th floor is being repaired.  Everything will return to normal on Monday.

My last blog was about what this councilmember’s activities consist. As a follow up I thought I’d share just two recent activities. I thought I’d flesh out just what these various events are about.

I received a call from a constituent, Mark Werber, inviting me to tour his business located in my district. Mr. Werber owns 3 Tots Unlimited facilities in Glendale and the one I toured is at 8311 W. Glendale Avenue. I didn’t know quite what to expect but I was pleasantly impressed. His facility is clean. Have you ever entered a facility and you could smell urine or something else equally unpleasant? Not so here. It was bright and warm feeling with virtually every wall covered with child-oriented artwork.

At any time there will be approximately 120 to 150 little ones. My favorite was the baby, six-week old and older unit. In every room that I entered the children were engaged in meaningful activities. The kitchen facility was spotless and the food being prepared for lunch was fresh and wholesome.

The little ones are so innocent and unbiased.  They are color blind. It’s a joy to spend time with them. They are curious about everything and they are funny to watch and to talk to. It’s a shame that as they get older the mantle of that child-like innocence is replaced by meaner attitudes.

Although the care provided is primarily for preschool there is also space for after school care for kids from 6 to 12. They can do homework, play games and get an afterschool snack. I spent about an hour touring and asking questions. I was impressed with the facility and would recommend it to the parents of the Yucca district looking for a safe and well run facility for their children.

As an aside, I met an old friend who now manages the facility – Bob Huffman’s granddaughter. Many of you probably don’t remember Bob Huffman. He was a Glendale councilmember when I took office back in 1992. Bob was always a champion for the underserved people of Glendale and well respected by all. The most ironic was that when Bob ran for councilmember for his last time against former Councilmember Goulette, he passed away during the campaign. Yet, even deceased he still won the election. Goulette was second in vote total and ended up with Bob’s seat.

Another event I attended recently was a ribbon cutting event in my district. Union Home Mortgage has established a branch office in Westgate. The firm has been around for 18 years and has branches throughout Arizona but this is their first branch in Glendale. I had the opportunity to meet Roseanna Diaz , Manager and Robert Fettier (sp??), Regional Sales Manager. One of my neighbors and a constituent, Fortunato Beltran, is a loan officer for the company and we had an opportunity to visit for awhile.

The Mayor and I attended and Councilmember Aldama arrived a bit later. Due to a previous commitment the Mayor spoke briefly. I then took up the torch and publicly welcomed Union Home Mortgage to our community representing Glendale. The message was Glendale and especially the Yucca district is booming. New businesses are locating in the Yucca district continually.

Lastly, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra will be at Glendale’s Gila River Arena in early December, 2017. I have FREE tickets to give away for the event. In order to participate for the drawing for the free tickets you must subscribe to my weekly Friday ENews Bulletin. Information for the drawing will be published in the bulletin every Friday in November. You must be a Yucca district resident to be eligible. You must be 18 years of age or older. Tickets are not for resale. Get the latest information about what’s happening in the Yucca District and the city of Glendale by visiting the Yucca Weekly Update page. Sign up to receive these newsletters via e-mail. Read more . Please go to this site to subscribe: https://www.glendaleaz.com/yucca/index.cfmGet the Yucca Weekly Update e-mail Bulletin.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017 the city council will have a full agenda. One of the items is a staff presentation on a light rail update. Here is the link to the staff report: https://destinyhosted.com/agenda_publish.cfm?id=45363&mt=aacc&get_month=8&get_year=2017&dsp=agm&seq=139&rev=0&ag=71&ln=2184&nseq=&nrev=&pseq=201&prev=0#ReturnTo2184

There are several points within the staff report that are worthy of note. In the Background section it states, “In 2001, the voters of Glendale approved a dedicated half-cent sales tax to fund a comprehensive transportation program known the Glendale Onboard! (GO) Transportation Program. Maricopa County voters also approved transportation funding the regional transportation plan in 2004. These ballot initiatives include a project and matching funds for a high-capacity transit corridor from Glendale’s eastern border at 43rd Avenue to downtown Glendale (my bold). Based on these successful elections, the city and regional transportation plans include funding to complete a high-capacity transit corridor in Glendale by 2026 (my bold).”

Sometimes one has to read between the lines a bit. A high-capacity transit corridor does not imply light rail exclusively. Among other options, it could be a beefed-up bus system. In the 2001 transportation ballot measure the exact route was never identified. Rather it identified a study area from Northern Avenue to Bethany Home Road. If a light rail route were to run along Northern Avenue or Bethany Home Road neither route would touch downtown Glendale. Any route does not necessarily have to go through or accommodate downtown Glendale. Lastly, there was no ‘drop-dead’ date for completion of this corridor identified in the 2001 ballot issue. Light rail is not an issue that must be decided immediately.

The Background section goes on to say, “…the ongoing maintenance and operations is a local (city) cost. Glendale’s GO! Program and $105 million programmed for capital costs (construction and design) and $3.8 million programmed for ongoing operation and maintenance in the 25-year balanced program.”

On page 4 of the staff report is a table that estimates Glendale’s share of construction cost for light rail. The least expensive which ends at 43rd Avenue and Glendale ( 1 mile) projects Glendale’s share of construction costs at $30 million and the most expensive ending at 61st Avenue and Glenn Drive (crosses over Grand Avenue and is 3.5 miles) is $123 million. Based upon the stated $105 million available for Glendale’s share of construction costs funds are available for all options with the exception of the last and most expensive option – crossing Grand Avenue.

However, Glendale’s operating costs are considerable. According to the staff report, there is $3.8 million available in GO’s 25-year programming.  The least expensive and shortest distance option would require $1.6 million a year. That $3.8 million would be expended in 2 years. The most expensive option and longest distance would require $5.7 million a year to operate. Obviously the $3.8 million GO programmed funds would not even cover one year.

Where would a shortfall in annual operating costs have to come from? It would have to come from the General Fund…you know the same fund that issues debt for the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for such things as parks and libraries. It could require competing against Public Safety (police and fire) or employee raises or any other departments for funding resulting in fewer dollars for other departments. The central question for residents may be, do you want to take precious resources away from other departments and capital projects to annually fund the O&M costs of light rail?

Under the Community Benefit/Public Involvement section it states, “In addition to improved mobility and access, high capacity transit projects can also serve as a catalyst for economic redevelopment along a corridor. The original regional 20-mile light rail “starter segment” cost $1.4 billion to completer, but has generated an estimated $8.2 billion in private and public investment along the light rail corridor.” That’s about an 8 to 1 Return on Investment (ROI). Okay, that sounds great but it should be proven by providing specific, verifiable data. How much was the public (governmental) investment after light rail was completed along with a list of specific redevelopment projects and their investment cost? How much was private redevelopment and what were their projects and investment cost after light rail completion? These ROI figures cannot just be thrown out there without some kind of corroborating data. To date none has ever been provided.

Lastly, on page 3 of the staff report under Cash Flow Requirements, it says, “With the relatively short time frame until Prop 400 funding program expires in 2025, it is not fiscally sound to issue bonds, but will rely on existing fund balances and local funding to cover these upfront costs (design, right-of-way acquisition and construction). Glendale staff has told us that funding these upfront costs will negatively impact the GO program prior to construction.” In addition to the lack of long-term GO funding to support  O&M costs, staff has determined that there is not enough GO funding available to pay the upfront costs of construction. This is reminiscent of Camelback Ranch and AZSTA’s lack of ability to reimburse Glendale for those upfront costs. “Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.” Do we really want to go there again?

I have always wondered why Camelback Road has never been considered the option of choice. Phoenix would be required to build from 19th Avenue to 43rd Avenue, a distance of 3 miles. From 43rd Avenue to 91st Avenue, a distance of 6 miles Phoenix and Glendale would share the costs; and from Camelback Road to Glendale Avenue, a distance of 2 miles Glendale would be required to fund construction exclusively. But think about it. This route would accommodate 2 major destinations: Grand Canyon University and Westgate. That is exactly what light rail is designed to do — move large numbers of people to specific and major destination locations. In addition, it would run through 2 of the poorest demographic areas in the entire region: Maryvale and south Glendale and serve those whose need for mass transit is the greatest. If it really does spur economic redevelopment these two areas could certainly benefit from that kind of economic boost.

If you wish to follow the light-rail discussion on Tuesday, August 15th, at city council workshop which begins at 1:30 PM and is the last item on the agenda, please go to the city website, www.glendaleaz.com and click on the link to Glendale Channel 11 TV. It is broadcast live on the city’s site and also on Cox TV Cable Channel 11.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On Monday, August 7, 2017 the City of Glendale’s city council meeting agenda for Tuesday, August 8, 2017 was amended and reposted within the appropriate time constraints. The item added to the agenda is the city council’s consideration and approval or denial of the city’s sale of 13.1 acres located on the north side of Bethany Home Road and on the east side of 99th Avenue to Topgolf. The land is directly north of American Furniture Warehouse. The purchase price is $5,713,730 that will go back into the city’s Water and Sewer Enterprise fund. The land was originally purchased by the city’s Enterprise fund for a water treatment plant but became unnecessary when the city built the Oasis Water Treatment Plant on Northern Avenue and approximately 72nd Avenue. Currently Topgolf has two locations in the Valley — in Scottsdale and in Gilbert.

The major investors in Topgolf are WestRiver Group, Callaway, Dundon and Providence Equity. Worldwide they have 33 venues with over 10 million visitors a year.

What is Topgolf, you say? It’s the hottest form of golf as an entertainment venue for all. Every Topgolf facility has dozens of high-tech, hitting bays. One to six people rent a bay by the hour and there are free clubs for use in each bay. The average bay rental is two hours. They also offer a full service restaurant and bars with unique menu items that can be found nowhere else in the Valley.  There are private event spaces and meeting rooms along with a rooftop terrace with a fire pit.  Customers can find original content shows, simulator lounges, competitive tours and pop-up social activities. There are HDTVs all over the place as well as everyone’s ‘must-have,’ free Wifi.

You don’t have to be a traditional golfer to enjoy their activites. Nearly 40% of their patrons are non-golfers. Two thirds of patrons are male and one third is female. The largest age group using the facility is people between the ages of 18 and 34 (53%).

If you would like to learn more about Topgolf please visit this link: https://topgolf.com/us/ . I couldn’t be more pleased. If the sale of land to Topgolf is approved by city council the city will have made its first move to extend its entertainment district beyond the Loop 101 and signals development of the west side of the Loop 101 for further entertainment venues. It’s a logical progression that moves entertainment to eventually join with the city’s MLB spring training facility, Camelback Ranch. It also can become a catalyst for further commercial development between Westgate and Camelback Ranch. The west side of the Loop 101 has suddenly become a hot location for more development. Look for more to come in this area.

This is yet another concrete example of Glendale, and especially the Yucca district, as a premier location for development. Glendale is on the move…and more is to come. As the Yucca district city councilmember with what I hope will be a vote of approval, I welcome Topgolf and wish it much success as the only venue of its kind in the West Valley.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Yucca district meeting went live. I have seen various online live videos on Facebook from time to time. A FB friend suggested that I use it to promo my district meeting last night, April 20, 2017. I decided why just use it for a promo? Why not try to bring the entire meeting online? It was our first try and sometimes the audio is not loud enough and we never thought to bring some kind of stand to place the IPad upon for steadiness. So there is some wobbling. And then I ran out of memory…I have no clue as to why. So we will work on those issues and when I have my next district meeting this Fall we will try it again. If you would like to take a look at my first try, here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/joyce.clark.338/videos/1469350713087843/ .

Coyotes bill seems DOA. The Arizona state legislature’s adjournment is fast approaching. The tentative date was scheduled for April 22nd. Arizona senate bill, SB 1149, is for all intents and purposes dead. It would have created a special taxing district to enable the Coyotes to build a new arena…anywhere but Glendale. Governor Ducey has already signaled that even if the legislation is rolled into another bill, he will not sign. His reason? He said he would not approve taxpayers supporting the cost of yet another arena in the state. It is my hope that with Anthony LeBlanc gone (he has not made any public statement for the Coyotes in over a month and there have been rumors circulating that another investor has joined the ownership group) cooler heads within the Coyotes’ ownership will prevail and there will be a reconsideration of negotiating a long-term lease with AEG, manger of the city-owned Gila River Arena.

Glendale’s bond rating increases. You might be wondering why city officials are giddy over bond rating increases delivered this week by Moody’s and recently by Standard & Poor. Why the big deal? When a city’s rating is poor, it costs the city more money to borrow because the interest rate is high. When a city’s bond rating goes up, it costs the city less to borrow money as the interest rate drops. With the upgrade in bond rating, the city will be able to refinance a majority of its outstanding debt at a lower interest rate, saving the city (you, the taxpayers) money. It also increases the city’s capacity to issue debt and makes it more likely that the city will be able to begin new Capital Improvement Projects. These projects can focus in on amenity projects, like parks and libraries, that benefit the quality of life of all of Glendale’s residents.

Volunteers appreciated. On Saturday, April 15, 2017 the city held a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at the Adult Center to recognize and thank the hundreds of volunteers giving thousands of hours throughout our city’s government. Mayor Weiers presented a proclamation of appreciation. Accepting on behalf of all volunteers was Bobbie Garland. I have known Bobbie for over 20 years. I have seen first- hand her willingness to give of her time. There could not have been a more fitting recipient selected. Kudos to Bobbie and all those who have followed in her foot steps.

A new name for AZSTA’s football stadium. It was announced this week that the University of Phoenix is terminating its naming rights for the stadium located in the Westgate area of Glendale. Frankly, I suspect that this action brings joy to every Glendale resident. Calling it the University of Phoenix Stadium was an anathema to many. It also created a great deal of confusion as to its location. Was it in Glendale or Phoenix? We are confident that AZSTA and the Cardinals will choose its new naming partner carefully and hopefully with no reference to Phoenix.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 18 years and 90 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
On March 15, 2016 the Glendale city council held a Budget Workshop meeting to discuss the Fiscal Year 2016-17 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). As an aside, Councilmember Chavira arrived at 9:30 AM, a half hour late and offered not one original thought other than to thank staff for their presentations.
This can be a complicated issue but let’s try to break it down. The CIP is Glendale’s plan for future, major infrastructure projects. These are projects that cost more than $50,000 and have a useful life span of at least 5 years. Just a few examples are: fire and police stations, libraries, roads, flood control and the purchase of sanitation trucks to fire engines. It is a ten year plan but only the first five years of the plan have any money attached to the proposed projects because the funding for them has been identified. The last five years of the plan are a wish list and have no money earmarked to support them.
It is a very, very important component of Glendale’s budget and at times projects within it serve political interests. Each councilmember has the opportunity to advocate for a project that will be located within his or her district.
How are CIP projects paid for? Here are the sources to repay bonds issued for CIP project: 

  • Enterprise Funds are the largest component at 66% and this is because many CIP project are big ticket items related to water, sewer or sanitation;
  • next are General Obligation Bonds (GO) at 15% and are repaid through secondary property taxes that flow into the city’s General Fund;
  • Highway User Revenue Funds or HURF make up 5%. These funds are state shared revenue and come from the tax you pay on a gallon of gasoline;
  • then there is the Transportation Fund of 5%. This fund was born in 2002 when the voters of Glendale approved a small sales tax increase to set aside strictly for transportation related projects;
  • Grant funds make up 4%;
  • Occasionally the city will pay cash for a project and this makes up 2% as a CIP funding source;
  • Lastly are Development Impact Fees (DIF) at 3%. Not going into the weeds too deeply on this, these are assessments that are paid by new construction of homes and commercial buildings. It is highly regulated by the state as to the amount that can be collected and what projects can be funded.

To further complicate the issue the state has divided General Obligation bonds (GO) into two categories: 6% and 20%. 6% GO bonds can be used for economic development, a cultural facility, a government facility and libraries. 20% GO bonds are used for flood control, open space & trails, parks, public safety, streets & parking and water and sewer projects.
Now that you are thoroughly confused, what’s in Glendale’s CIP for Fiscal Year 2016-17, the upcoming fiscal year that starts on July 1, 2016? The big ticket items are Parking Lot P-1 in the amount of $6 million and Parking Lot P-2 in the amount of $10.5 million. These 2 projects will be funded with GO bonds repaid through the city’s General Fund. What are these parking lots? If you recall, the city paid $22 million for land adjacent to the University of Phoenix Stadium to be used for parking necessary to meet the obligations of an agreement between the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority (AZSTA),the Cardinals and the city. Parking Lot P-1 for $6 million will definitely move forward immediately. Parking Lot P-2 for $10.5 million will only be built if senior staff finds it necessary to completely meet the mandatory number of parking spaces to which the city is obligated to provide.

 

The two other big ticket CIP projects for FY 2016-17 are the Pyramid Peak Water Treatment Plant improvements for $15.2 million and the Arrowhead Water Reclamation Facility improvements for $25.4 million. These will be funded through Enterprise Fund revenue bonds. Lastly $7 million will be spent for street improvements funded through the Transportation Fund.
To review these are the projects in the Fiscal Year budget of 2016-17 that begins on July 1, 2016:
• Bond Construction Funds will cover $7 million to improve the city’s streets.
• DIF Funds will partially fund the temporary West Branch library in the amount of $600,000+.
• Enterprise Revenue Bonds will pay $15.2 million and $25.4 for water improvements
• GO Bonds will pay for two parking lots, in the amount of $6 million and $10.5 million. That’s it. These are the major infrastructure projects slated for FY 2016-17. There are lesser amounts for the scalloped street program and infill street light program as examples.
Criteria for determining whether a project is eligible for the CIP are extensive. However, there are 3 criteria worthy of mention:
• “Does a project support the city’s goal of ensuring all geographic areas of the city have comparable quality in the types of services that are defined in the Public Facilities section of the General Plan”
• “Does a project prevent the deterioration of the city’s existing infrastructure?”
• “Does a project encourage and sustain quality economic development?”
These criteria are noteworthy in terms of 2 ongoing issues: the Western Area Branch Library and O’Neil pool. In the proposed FY 2016-17 CIP funds are earmarked for a temporary branch library of 7,500 SF to serve south and west Glendale. It is a travesty. Northern Glendale has the Foothills Branch Library ( 34,000 SF) and central Glendale has the Main Library (64,000 SF). Downtown Glendale has the 15,000 SF Velma Teague Branch Library built in 1971, forty four years ago. A 7,500 SF modular building as a temporary library branch serving south and west Glendale does not even come close to meeting, “Does a project support the city’s goal of ensuring all geographic areas of the city have comparable quality…” What a joke. Nor does this temporary building meet “Does a project encourage and sustain quality economic development?”
Currently the area of major, economic development is the Westgate area in west Glendale. Exactly how does a temporary 7,500 SF modular library building (½ the size of Velma Teague, which is SMALL; ¼ the size of Foothills Branch Library; and 1/10 the size of the Main Library) enhance “comparable quality” and “economic development?” Not to mention Heroes Park in west Glendale. It is 88 acres in size with approximately 20 developed acres. The rest of the park is a barren, dirt and weed filled wasteland. How does this park meet those criteria? Have you seen the parks the City of Peoria has recently built? Not only are they numerous they are gorgeous and put Glendale to shame.
Another issue that surfaced was that of O’Neil Pool located at 6500 W. Missouri Avenue. The surrounding square mile is known as the O’Neil Ranch Area. Its population is one of, if not, the densest in the city. There are 2,000 children in that square mile attending William C. Jack Elementary School and Mensendick Middle School. Up until 5 years ago these kids had O’Neil pool as a major recreational opportunity. The pool developed some cracks and leaks and was closed. A Parks & Recreation study was then done to measure the attendance but by that time kids had to be bused to the Rose Lane Pool. Obviously, the recorded attendance was low and was used to justify a staff recommendation that the pool not be repaired and the area be repurposed. Another joke. O’Neil must be repaired and reopened to service those kids. This is not an affluent area of town and has often been ignored. An overwhelming majority of the over 1,300 homes and 7 apartment complexes in the adjacent area do not have swimming pools. The ratio of residential swimming pools is one of the lowest in the city. As city criteria states, “Does the project prevent the deterioration of the city’s existing infrastructure?”
There is one more piece of bad news associated with the CIP. It is not until 2022, 8 more years, that there is GO bond debt capacity for new projects. Yet Tom Duensing, the Assistant City Manager, recently found GO bond debt capacity in the amount of $32 million to buy land and building a parking lot to satisfy the Arizona Cardinals and AZSTA. It’s time he turned to the needs of our residents and found GO bond debt capacity for these much needed projects.
It is incumbent upon the current city council, Mayor Jerry Weiers, Vice Mayor Ian Hugh, and Councilmembers Turner, Tolmachoff, Malnar, Aldama and Chavira to insure that a comparable quality of amenities exist in all parts of our city, including south and west Glendale by building a permanent Western Area Branch Library (overdue for 18+ years), completing the development of Heroes Park (also overdue for 18+ years) and repairing and reopening O’Neil Pool (overdue for 5+ years).
© Joyce Clark, 2016
FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 18 years and 68 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

City council held its first budget workshop on February 16, 2016. Here is the schedule of future budget workshops:

  • March 15, 2016             9 AM
  • April 5, 2016                 9 AM
  • April 19, 2016               9 AM
  • April 21, 2016               9 AM

This first budget workshop was a review of all budget components as of December 31, 2015 or the first two quarters of Fiscal Year 2016. The only item which required council consensus for direction was the issue of raising the Secondary Property Tax rate to the maximum of 2% as allowed by state law. Council consensus was…nothing. They gave no direction to staff. Look for the vote on acceptance of a property tax rate in June when council must publicly vote on the issue.

Senior staff’s presentation on the budget’s performance was pure “government speak.” Here’s a good example, “(General Fund) Revenues are $11.2 million or 11% higher than revenues at the same time last year.” Boy, that sounds really, really good. Wait a minute. Staff then said, “Out of the $11.2 million increase in revenues, $8.3 million is due to consolidation of the general fund sub-funds into the General Fund.”

In plain English what that statement means is this. General fund sub-funds are the Arena, Camelback Ranch, Zanjero, Civic Center and Stadium events. This is not a complete list but you get the idea. Prior to this Fiscal Year, 2015-16, the sub-funds stood separately. Staff had to report on the revenues received and expenditures of all sub-funds. This Fiscal year they were rolled into the General Fund for “accounting purposes.” No longer is there a separate accounting of the sub-funds’ performance. Hmmm.

Staff went on to say, “General Fund City Sales Tax collections are $48 million which is an increase of $7.3 million or 18% over the same time last year. Approximately $6.0 million of the increase is attributable to the consolidation the sub-funds into the general fund. Without including the sub-fund revenues, city sales tax increased by $1.3 million or 3%.” This 3% figure is in line with the federal GDP.

In terms of General Fund expenditures staff reported, “The actual (General Fund) expenditures increased by $15.4 million over the same time last year. This increase is primarily due to the consolidation of the general fund sub-funds into the General Fund ($9.7 million) and reclassification of Technology and Technology Projects ($5.0 million)…” Once again most of the expenditures are attributable to rolling the sub-funds into the General Fund.

The bottom line is this. Half way through Fiscal Year 2015-16 the General Fund has an excess of $8.3 million. It can be assumed that this excess is due in great measure to the $9.0 million reduction (from the previous figure of $15 million) in the arena management fee paid to IceArizona.

Tonight, February 23, 2016 city council will host its regular voting meeting. Guess who will be AWOL? Yep, Councilmember Sammy Chavira…once again. Be reassured. He will participate telephonically.

Three agenda items are worth following: Item 20 is Resolution 5071. It is an acceptance of a $49,000 grant from the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority to be used to help develop an archery range at Heroes Park; Item 21 is acceptance of Ordinance 2975 reflecting rezoning request ZON15-10. This action will allow for development of the Westgate Healthcare Campus PAD at the northwest corner of 99th Avenue and Glendale Avenue. This is a very welcome project and provides a fantastic compliment to Dignity’s Westgate Hospital Campus just north of this proposed project; and lastly Item 22. Council will vote on the adoption of the Loop 101 Scenic Corridor in north Glendale. This is another very welcome development that warrants expansion of this designation all along the Loop 101 within Glendale with the only exception being a narrowly tailored Westgate area.

Stay tuned for more reports on Glendale’s budget as council meets in March and April of 2016.

Don’t forget…it’s budget season in Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 17 years and 210 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Nearly all major battles we face seem to revolve around either love or money. In the case of the Coyotes vs. Glendale it’s definitely money. Before I post a blog on the current deal between these entities it’s important to understand the effects of the biggest driver — money.

Westgate and its sales tax revenue is an important component. It cannot be denied that the majority driver of retail sales tax revenue in Westgate comes from Tanger Outlets. Before Tanger’s opening in November of 2012 retail sales tax revenue was under a million dollars a year. Tanger, when it opened, was projected to earn $2M in sales tax revenue and in fact, from the start, has generated closer to the $2.5M mark.

As you can see from the chart below in calendar years 2013 and 2014 retail sales tax revenue was over $3.5M and almost all of it is attributable to Tanger. In October of 2014 Tanger expanded and the city can now expect an estimated $4.5M in retail sales tax revenue in 2015. Restaurant/Bar sales tax revenue has also increased over time and can be related to football games, hockey games and concerts held at the University of Phoenix Stadium and the Gila River Arena. This component is also attributable to the opening of new restaurants in Westgate. This sales tax revenue has grown as well and is estimated to earn some $3M. “Other” sales tax revenue is composed of bed tax, AZSTA stadium city sales tax, licenses & permits, etc. It is estimated to earn about $5M in 2015.

In 2015 estimated sales tax revenue from Westgate looks like this: Retail — $4 to $4.5M; Restaurant/Bar — $3 to $3.5M; and “Other” — $4.5 to $5M.

Westgate sales tax

The argument often used by Coyotes’ supporters is that the spillover effect from 42 nights of hockey games is essential to Westgate’s restaurants and bars survival and to the city. How much of that spillover is from 70,000 fans attending each of 10 football games? Admittedly it is substantial and could account for anywhere from 1/3 to ½ of the sales tax revenue generated from restaurants and bars annually.

The point is that Westgate has grown despite all of the drama and turmoil of the Coyotes and is strong enough to survive with or without them. If one looks at all of the factors that determine annual sales tax generation at Westgate the Coyotes (from hotel stays and restaurants/bars) are estimated at driving about $2M a year out of a total estimated annual sales tax revenue of a low of $11.5M to a high of $13M.

As long as we are on the subject of money there is another factor to consider. Many Coyotes fans are hoping that the Coyotes will move to downtown Phoenix or a new arena at Talking Stick. Dan Bickley in a recent July 26, 2015 Arizona Republic story entitled Coyotes not out of the woods – or Glendale – just yet said, Sarver says his Suns pay $23 million a year just to play at US Airways Center: $12 million in debt service, $8 million in arena management costs and $3 million in rent. A new arena capable of housing a NBA team and a NHL franchise starts at $500 million, and that’s being conservative.” Kudos to Robert Sarver for publicly offering some expense figures (no revenue figures, mind you). That’s more than anyone has seen from the Coyotes. Any public figures associated with the Coyotes have been minimized or denied by Anthony LeBlanc, an owner and visible spokesperson for the ownership group.

The question for the Coyotes becomes can they afford to move anywhere? Sarver is not in the charity business and I suspect that the owners of Talking Stick are not either. All bets are off if the Coyotes move out of Arizona. Is there an entity out there willing to pay the Coyotes to play in a newly constructed arena? Who knows? The Coyotes will have to pay to play anywhere else in Arizona and as long as they continue to suffer losses of an undetermined amount their options are very limited. No one is offering any love to the Coyotes these days and their entire future is being driven by only one thing – money.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR  USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Tomorrow, July 13, 2015 the Glendale city council will meet in executive session at 11 AM. What is the topic? Your guess is as good as mine. No one is talking and how could they? Senior staff has decided (perhaps wisely) that council will not know the subject matter of the e session until the actual meeting. The only other period of time staff went to such lengths was when Phil Lieberman was on council. It was suspected but never proven that he leaked e session material on a regular basis to Canadian folk during previous Coyotes’ buyer negotiations. This time the alleged leaker(s) may be Councilmembers Sherwood and/or Chavira spilling all to the owners of the Coyotes.

It may be that senior Glendale staff will present a Coyotes offer to the city council. There are events that hint that this may be the topic. Several councilmembers were scheduled last week for depositions with regard to the Coyotes law suit. Abruptly those deposition sessions were cancelled. Was it because the city’s attorneys were in talks with the Coyotes’ attorneys? The Coyotes payment of $1M bond and the city quarterly arena management payment of $3.75M are linked together and are to be paid concurrently. Neither has been paid to date.

If this is indeed what occurs tomorrow council will have several options. They do not vote in workshops or e sessions but do provide direction for staff. They can provide direction to: 1. Accept the offer; 2. Reject the offer; or 3. Send the offer back to the Coyotes with a counter proposal.

If you look at the council e session agenda for this meeting it is rather specific:

“A. The City Council will meet with the City Attorney for legal advice, discussion and consultation regarding the city’s position in pending or contemplated litigation, including settlement discussions conducted in order to avoid or resolve litigation. (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(3)(4))

“B. Council will meet to discuss and consider records exempt by law from public inspection and are specifically required to be maintained as confidential by state or federal law. (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(4))”

A.R.S. § 38-431.03 (A)(3)(4) is also pretty specific:

“(iii) discussion or consultation for legal advice with the city’s attorneys (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(3));

“(iv) discussion or consultation with the city’s attorneys regarding the city’s position regarding contracts that are the subject of negotiations, in pending or contemplated litigation, or in settlement discussions conducted in order to avoid or resolve litigation (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(4));”

It is possible that they will discuss the city’s current law suit with Vieste over recycling issues at the city landfill but it doesn’t seem probable based upon the events of this past week.

On another topic, the University of Phoenix Stadium hosted a soccer cup game today, July 12, 2015. A friend happened to have lunch at Westgate today. The friend related that the Westgate parking areas were jammed and they finally found a parking space literally in the “back forty” of one of the free lots. They almost decided to leave assuming that if the parking lots were filled, so were the Westgate restaurants. That was not the case. Their restaurant, as well as others, was nearly deserted. Who was parking in all of those free Westgate spaces? They learned it was the soccer game attendees at the University of Phoenix stadium.

The stadium has since its inception relied on Westgate parking spaces for football games and major events. Per the agreement with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) the city is responsible for providing 6,000 parking spaces for the football games and major events such as the Super Bowl and Fiesta Bowl. The city has always fulfilled its commitment to do so. Now AZSTA and the Bidwills are pressuring the city to build a $46M parking garage and the city is acceding to that pressure. Last fall senior staff brought forward a new capital improvement project – the infamous and very expensive parking garage at Westgate. Instead of building a library or a swimming pool as a capital improvement project Glendale taxpayers will be footing the bill for a Taj Mahal of a parking garage. You can count on its cost mounting. Don’t be surprised if the final bill is way north of $50M.

Glendale’s taxpayers are not happy about this. They ask why AZSTA and the Bidwills don’t build their own parking garage. They are the ones who need it. They are aware that the Bidwills sought and gained city approval for the development of Sportsman’s Park East and West. Those development plans include approval for several parking garages. Why don’t the Bidwills invest in a parking garage to meet the demands of their patrons attending their football games? Is it because they don’t want to pay for it? Is there a trigger threshold or event that requires the city to build this parking garage? What is it and has it occurred? Does the parking garage have to be as large and grand as staff presented or can it be scaled down to meet a minimal requirement? Can we wait until Glendale’s financial picture is stronger and can absorb yet another debt payment? When is the city going to prioritize the needs of its citizens first? So many questions – met with…silence.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

mothers 4

It has been 17 years and 129 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

When it comes to determining the actual cost of hosting the Super Bowl it is almost impossible using the city’s current financial tracking system. As the city responded to my Public Information Request it noted for Pro Bowl and Super Bowl expenses, “It was not announced that the Pro Bowl would be held in Glendale until budget development already took place so there were not separate accounts created for Pro Bowl expenses. Everything was charged to fund 1010 National Events.” In terms of Public Safety costs the city also responded with, “There was not a separate reporting code for Pro Bowl. Pro Bowl public safety costs were subject to the provisions of the city’s contract with Global Spectrum for public safety services at the stadium and the city will receive a partial reimbursement for those expenses.”

I requested a list of all departments that contributed, by event, in any way. The city’s response was, “A list as requested does not exist, but the documents provided somewhat address the request. There were obviously other departments involved as issues arose that affected their service areas, but a list was not created for tracking purposes.”

Based upon city provided figures I arrived at police Pro Bowl figures of 5,486 hours and wages of $309,387.54 and fire Pro Bowl figures of 1,400 hours and wages of $90,000. The city received partial reimbursement from Global Spectrum and I have established an estimated reimbursement figure of approximately $70,000 for police and $45,000 for fire services. Obviously this does not include other departments’ employee time and materials. Based upon figures available it is estimated that the city spent a minimum of $300,000 for public safety in support of the Pro Bowl. Other department costs are estimated to be in the range of $200,000. The city spent an estimated range of $500,000 in non-reimbursable hosting costs for the Pro Bowl.

Based upon city provided figures I arrived at police Super Bowl figures of 7,321.89 hours and wages of $527,527.08 and fire Super Bowl figures of 2,900 hours and wages of $241,000. The city’s costs for public safety alone are approximately $768,000. Add the city identified travel expenses for the 2014 Super Bowl of $19,000, Building Safety costs of $40,000 and Transportation Department costs of $787,000. These city identified costs total $1.61 million.

Add the untracked, unidentified costs such as the Super Bowl Operations Planning Team, the Code Compliance Enforcement Teams and the PIO team. Now add the untracked, unidentified costs of many departments: Sanitation, Marketing, Streets, Parks & Recreation, Planning & Zoning, etc. These costs are easily estimated to total $1 million to $1.5 million. It is fair to estimate the city’s true cost for hosting the 2015 Super Bowl between $2.6 to $3.1 million dollars.

What have you, the taxpayer, paid to be identified as a Sports Mecca in 2015?

  • Fiesta Bowl non-reimbursable cost of an estimated $300,000 to $500,000.
  • Pro Bowl non-reimbursable cost of an estimated $500,000
  • Super Bowl non-reimbursable cost of an estimated $2.6 million to $3.1 million
  • Total cost an estimated $3.4 million to $4.1 million dollars.

Ka-ching…

Next up…some interesting factoids discovered and did the city earn any money while hosting these events?

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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