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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.

Glendale’s city council vacates during the month of July. It’s a good time to catch up on my blog writing. This year there will be no vacation and no deep sea fishing in California. I thought it was a good time to honor my promise to share on what I spent my council funds. After all, it is taxpayer money and we are charged to spend it prudently.

Councilmembers actually have two budgets. You can see my budget spreadsheets here: Councilmember Expenses . Fund 52100 in the amount of $15,000 is for councilmember designated Infrastructure Projects within the councilmember’s district. When I resumed office in January of 2017 I decided that I wanted to obtain an LED sign for Heroes Park. This permanent LED sign infrastructure will provide the city and myself the opportunity to message people in the district about city activities, events and notices of importance. This is a pilot project and the first sign of its kind (an LED sign) in any city park or facility.

When I first started on this journey of obtaining an LED sign the initial estimate was approximately $19,000. Over time the cost has doubled to $38,000 not just for the sign itself but for the wiring, etc. that is needed to make it operable. To satisfy the cost, I have dedicated infrastructure funds for FY 2017-18, FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-2020 to pay for its cost.

The construction of the permanent, Phase I of the West Branch Library began this June. It is slated for completion next March of 2019 (I wouldn’t take this completion date to the bank). As the library nears completion the LED sign will be installed. I expect it to be installed sometime in January or February of 2019.

Another infrastructure project I chose to pursue was newly installed this June and is new signage for the Desert Mirage area. The sign is located at the 91st Avenue and Maryland Avenue

New Desert Mirage
Entry Sign

entrance. The letters were individually mounted on the sign base and over the years enterprising individuals have stolen various letters. It’s been an ongoing aggravation. They are replaced and then stolen once again. This year I invested approximately $1800 of my infrastructure budget in new signage for both sides of the base. They are dark burgundy colored metal plates with the letters cut out of the metal. It is my hope that this will permanently solve the problem of pilfered letters.

The second councilmember budget, called Professional Development (Funds 511400 and 518200) in the amount of $18,000 is used for professional development, constituent communications and activities, office supplies and miscellaneous. This year an expense charged to this budget will be my attendance at the annual Arizona League of Cities and Towns Convention this August. I have chosen to attend this year because it is being held in the Valley area and rather than paying for staying at a hotel I can drive to and from the site daily. The cost of convention registration is $295.00.

Major expenses within the Professional Development budget are twofold: my twice yearly district newsletter mailed to every home in my district at a cost of about $6,500 per newsletter (printing and mailing). Another $2,000 is allocated for expenses for my twice yearly district meetings. Between these two items I expend $15,000 of the $18,000 budget strictly on constituent communications.

That leaves $3,000 for miscellaneous expenses. This past year, I donated $500 to support the Kilt Run at Westgate; $600 for the Mayor’s bowling event; and $500 for the Rotary’s renovation project. I spent another $500 on additional Heroes Park directional parking signs (5 of them). The remaining $1000 was used for miscellaneous expenses such as the council office Christmas party, joint expense for funeral flowers for various individuals, a ticket for the Glendale Women’s Club Luncheon or Glendale’s Art Preview Party or lunch for staff on a field trip to learn about lake systems in other Valley communities (as we prepare to construct a water feature at Heroes Park).

I try to be very frugal with taxpayer dollars and to always keep in mind that it should be primarily spent on citizen outreach or on an infrastructure project that solves a problem within my district.

When I invite someone to a working business lunch I pay the tab out of my personal funds. I do not charge the city for mileage or use of a cell phone. I use my personal computer at home to access my city email account to do city business.

This narrative has given you an idea of councilmember expense choices.  If you wish to look at the Mayor’s or other Councilmembers’ expenses please go to:

  • glendaleaz.com
  • click on “Follow Your Money
  • Choose the “Fiscal Year”
  • Click on “Department Spending
  • Click on page 2
  • Click on “Council Office
  • Choose a council district and click on it

It’s an interesting exercise to try sometime. You never know what you will learn.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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.

This is always a difficult subject because of all of the facts and figures that are presented. The numbers can be confusing to those readers who have not followed my other blogs on the monthly reports. Here is a link to the report:http://www.glendaleaz.com/finance/documents/FY14MonthlyArenaReport-20140430.pdf . Here is the report itself:

April 2014 MonthlyArenaReport 

This monthly report publicly released by Glendale will reflect the last of the hockey games for this season but does not capture the supplemental ticket surcharge which is due and payable 60 days after each fiscal year. The new fiscal year begins July 1, 2014 so this line item would not be paid to the city or reflected in this report until September 1, 2014.

The Interest Income-Escrow Account still sits at $4,620 and has not been updated since the first monthly report.

The agreement revenues to the city to date total $4,686,412 and reflect a prorated 11 month fiscal year begun on August 5, 2013. The total city expenditures to date are $10,252,055. In this first year all figures are prorated. The total management fee the city will pay is $13,750,000 and total capital improvement expenditures are $450,685.   The report reflects a loss to the city, to date, of $5,565,643.

For purposes of discussion let’s include as revenue the supplemental ticket surcharge. It comes in at $774,452. Let’s add that amount to the total qualified ticket revenue received by the city; and new ticket revenue figure is $2,323,357. The total management fee of $13,750,000 and capital expenditure requirement of $450,685 paid by the city this fiscal year is a total of $14,200,685. Subtract revenues received from fees paid and the loss to the City of Glendale in this fiscal year is the grand total of $11,877,328.

Consider this. Next fiscal year even if all 17,700 tickets per hockey game were qualified tickets the maximum amount the city would receive is $2,537,000 in qualified ticket revenue. For this exercise, let’s add to that figure another $1,268,500 in supplemental ticket surcharge. Add an additional million dollars more in parking revenues to the nearly $1 million generated this year and the maximum revenue 42/43 hockey games per season can generate is approximately $6 million.  

Global Spectrum and IceArizona would have to have approximately 100 revenue generating non-hockey events in order to earn an additional $9 million annually to be paid to the city to offset the $15,000,000 the city must pay as an annual management fee to IceArizona. They will be fortunate to host 25 non-hockey revenue generating events next year.

Some folks dismiss the $6 million portion of the annual management fee because it was already budgeted. It’s not to be dismissed because it’s in the budget. The money still comes from General Fund sales tax revenue. It still counts. It is still money the city has to receive from sales tax revenue to pay all required arena expenditures. 

I added the Supplemental Ticket surcharge to the total revenues to be received by the city. Even with that “enhanced revenue,” the fact remains that this year the city’s loss is $11.8 million dollars. There is no more money forthcoming to the city from any magical or secret source.

For purposes of this exercise, here is how this year and the next 4 fiscal years worth of loss to the city may very well pencil out. For this exercise I reduce the annual loss by an estimated $2 million a year by increasing revenue to the city by an equal amount annually:

  • This year, FY 13-14           loss of $11.8 million
  • Next year, FY 14-15          loss of $  9.8 million
  • Year 3, FY 15-16               loss of $  7.8 million
  • Year 4, FY 16-17               loss of $  5.8 million
  • Year 5, FY 17-18               loss of $  3.8 million
  • 5 Fiscal Years                   Total loss of $39 million

Add to the $39 million deficit in earned revenues approximately $12 million a year in construction bond debt for a total of $60 million. In five years I estimate the city will pay $99 million dollars between paying annual construction debt and covering annual revenue losses generated by the management fee.

My disclaimer is that these estimates are my best, educated guess based upon the numbers that are publicly available. The actual loss number for five years could be higher or lower than estimated.

What is ironic about this IceArizona contract is that the “enhanced revenues” (with the exception of naming rights and the supplemental ticket surcharge) are not really new revenue. Before IceArizona and the NHL’s two years of management, the city paid no annual management fee…none…nada. Yet it collected the very same revenues — a ticket surcharge and a parking surcharge. They were included in the price of every ticket. Those revenues: sales tax earned inside the arena and the ticket/parking surcharges were used to pay down the construction bond debt because the city didn’t have to also pay a management fee.

With this new deal the management fee consumes all of ticket/parking surcharge revenues (in addition to the other revenues like naming rights) the city was already getting and leaves the city struggling to cover some portion of the $15 million deficit every year. Oh, and don’t forget, IceArizona takes $20,000 off the top of parking fees for every game. That comes to $860,000 this year.

Another irony is that when IceArizona took over, it didn’t subtract the existent ticket and parking surcharges that were historically already included in the price of the ticket. Those charges were absorbed and became part of the base price of the new IceArizona tickets to which they added the new, qualified ticket surcharge. In essence, every fan’s ticket now includes the old ticket and parking surcharges within the base price and the new IceArizona ticket surcharge is then added.

The management agreement was and is good for IceArizona but it’s not so good for Glendale. Earned revenues once applied to the construction bond debt are now used to cover the $15 million annual management fee. Those earned revenues simply are not adequate to cover the management fee.

The argument for keeping the Coyotes as an anchor tenant was to benefit all of the surrounding businesses in Westgate. With the totality of Glendale’s excessive debt burden the question must be, is it worth it to keep the team and struggle to pay the annual management fee? Or is Glendale better off going back to accepting one of the Beacon bids solicited last year? You decide.

© Joyce Clark,

2014 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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