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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.

City council has now spent several workshops on the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) with at least one more workshop scheduled on the same topic. Why all the emphasis on the CIP?

In all government whether federal, state or local, power derives from how taxpayer dollars are spent. Having the authority to decide where money is spent is a very powerful. On a federal level a successful Congressman/woman will bring home a project like a road or federal building to a district. It means jobs and an infusion of cash into a district. On a local level one of the imperatives is to provide amenities for district residents or to get the streets fixed in a district.

In this blog I will try to explain the CIP in detail. If you aren’t interested, stop here…but if you are, please read on.

The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is a constant 10 year plan that specifies which projects will get built and where the funding will come from. It applies to any project that costs over $50,000 and has a life span of at least ten years.

Even though it is a ten year plan, the first 5 years are the years to which you should pay attention. The second five years are placeholders and over time, they may be eliminated or moved up into the first five years, as needs and priorities change.

Where does the money come from to fund the CIP? This is perhaps, the most complicated part of the process to understand. The major categories are:

  • General Obligation Bonds (G.O. Bonds). In the Glendale election of 2019 voters were asked to approve authorization to fund certain city areas running out of authorization such as Parks and Recreation. The city only issues G.O. Bonds when there is an identified project to construct and more importantly, if the issuance of the bonds will not raise your property taxes. As an FYI, city council voted on and approved a policy of not raising your property taxes to fund G.O. Bonds. There are about 12 different categories of G.O. Bonds from Public Safety to Open Spaces/Trails to Local Drainage (streets that get flooded).
  • Pay-As-You-Go. Money for the construction of some projects comes directly from the city’s General Fund. The city’s General Fund’s monies come from various sources including city sales taxes and state-shared revenues.
  • Transportation Sales Tax. Part of the city’s sales tax is restricted and dedicated to be used only for transportation related projects such as Pavement Management.
  • Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF). The state reimburses each city a portion of what you pay in gasoline sales tax. These funds are also restricted and can be used only for transportation related projects including mass transit such as buses.
  • Development Impact Fees (DIF). These are fees paid by a developer when a new project is constructed. They are to be used in the general proximity of where the new development was constructed. Hence the need for geographical zones to ensure that the money is spent in the appropriate geographical area. Over the years the city has modified DIF geographical zones requiring checking the boundaries of the zone to see if the money can actually be spent in a certain geographical area. It must also meet stringent regulations established by the state legislature. Currently there are at least a dozen DIF funding sources dependent on the year the funds were collected and what the DIF boundaries were at the time of collection.
  • Grants. The city is always applying for grants from various governmental agencies. Many grants require the city to provide matching funds. From the feds we often get grants in Public Safety, for our airport and the annual Community Development Block Grants. Maricopa County may issue grants for flooding issues. The state may issue grants for transportation issues. This list is not all inclusive as grant opportunities come and go.
  • Enterprise Funds. This area includes water, sewer, landfill and trash collection. These areas are restricted and are dependent upon rate payers for these services. These areas tend to issue their own bonds for projects as long as restrictive guidelines are observed although there have been times when General Fund revenues have been used to help fund a major project.

So it isn’t just good enough to identify a major project in the CIP, the funding source must be identified confirming there is enough money in that fund and that it is the correct funding source for the project.

I am going to list a CIP project in some of the areas presented to city council. If you would like to see all of the projects here is the link: 01 Draft CIP 2021.02.02. I must warn you this file is approximately 300 pages but this is what city council uses to do its homework for budget workshops on just the CIP.

  • Under Airport is CIPAP21010, Southwest Apron Design/Construct. All projects begin with CIP. AP stands for airport. The number refers to when it was added to the CIP. There is a Description of the project. In this case it is, “Project design and construction of southwest apron, taxi lane and access road to accommodate capacity needs.” Then there is a Justification, “Design and construction of new public apron, taxi land, and infrastructure to accommodate expansion of aircraft storage to meet capacity needs. Project required under FAA and ADOT Grant Assurances and Airport Design Standards.” The estimated cost of the project is offered and in this case is, Design from Fund 2190 slated for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 in the amount of $225,000 and Construction from Fund 2190 slated for FY 2025 for $1,800,000 for a Grand Total of $2,025,000. Fund 2190 as a funding source is an Airport Capital Grant. The city has or will apply to the FAA for a grant for this project and it may require some city matching funds but that will not be known until the grant is issued.
  • Under Arts is CIPAT20033, Municipal Arts Program. There is Carryover of $1,245,125. That means money collected from previous years has accumulated to this amount and is available. The Description is, “City Council Ordinance No. 1226 created a Municipal Art Fund which provides for the purchase of works of art for public places. This consists of commissioned, non-commissioned and the performing arts, all reviewed and recommended by the Glendale Arts Commission (via the Annual Arts Plan0. These funds are used to implement the Annual Arts Plan and maintain and restore the City’s art portfolio (when necessary).” The Justification is, “By City Council Ordinance. No. 1226, a Municipal Art Fund is created which provides for the purchase of works of art for public places.”
  • Under Drainage is CIPDR21034, Bethany Home Road SD (storm drain), 43rd to 51st Description is, “Design and construction of storm drain pipe, inlets, catch basins and other appurtenances in a ½ square mile area centered on Bethany Home Road between 43rd Ave. and 51st Ave. Design began in FY21.” The Justification is, “Project is identified in the Storm Water Master Plan adopted by the city 2011. Maricopa County Flood Control District has budgeted $4.5 million toward completion of the project.” In FY 2022 the sources of funding and expenditures are: Carryover from Fund 2160, Other Grants of $604,173; In FY 2022,Construction from Fund 2160, Other Grants and Fund 4110, Flood Control Construction totaling $2,750,000; and in FY 2023, Construction from Fund 2160, Other Grants and Fund 4110, Flood Control Construction totaling $5,150,00; There is also the cost of Internal Charges from Fund 4110, Flood Control Construction of $123,500 in FY 2022 and $195,700 in FY 2023; in FY 2022 the cost of land totals $500,000 with funding from Fund 2160 and Fund 4110; Public Art in FY 2022 totals $27,500 from Fund 4110. The total cost of the project is $9,402,373 and the money comes from grants with some matching funds from the city.
  • City Hall 2nd Floor HVAC UNIT, CIPFC21048. Description is, “Replacement of the main HVAC for the second floor at City Hall.” Justification is, “The HVAC unit for the second floor of City Hall has exceeded it’s expected life cycle and has begun to fail.” The funding source is Fund 1080, General Government, Pay As You Go, and is Carryover in the amount of $44,221 that will be expended in FY 2022.

I could go on but I think you get the idea about the information that is presented to city council during the CIP budget workshops. The other categories I did not cover are Landfill, Library, Parking Lots, Parks, Public Safety, Solid Waste, Streets, Transit, Water and Wastewater. You can see the full presentation of the CIP in the link I cited above.

Mind you, that is just one part of our budget review. The other portion will be a city council review of and approval of departmental expenditures and employee salaries and benefits. We will probably wrap up budget discussions and decisions in April having taken 4 months of workshop discussions to arrive at a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2022.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

At the Tuesday, February 9, 2021 city council voting meeting Resolution R21-11 was passed by a majority of the city council. It is an agreement between the Tohono O’odham and the City of Glendale in which the city relinquishes its right to annex a parcel of land within its annexation boundaries.

I wish to explain my vote. I do not speak for the entire city council in expressing my reasoning for my vote and it should be noted that Mayor Weiers was absent due to recent surgery and did not vote on the matter.

The agreement helps to pave the way for the Tohono O’odham (TO), in the process of acquiring a parcel of land in the area of Northern Avenue and the Loop 303 freeway, to pursue building another casino, approximately ten miles to the west of the existent Desert Diamond Casino at Westgate. The property is currently owned by Saguaro Land Properties, LLC an entity of the Nation.  The next step for them is to put the land into trust.

All land within Glendale’s strip annexation borders can be annexed into Glendale, including this parcel. The TO asked that Glendale not exercise its right to annex this parcel into Glendale and a majority of the city council agreed. Glendale has the ability to annex, but not a legal right to force annexation.  Based on state statute, it would be impossible to annex them into the city, unless they agreed to do so. Here is a link to the agreement in its entirety: Contract # _ C21-0119 – TOHONO O’ODHAM NATION – Execution Date_ 2_9_2021

In the agreement the TO agrees to pay Glendale $400,000 and $1,000,000 with a 2% increase annually for 20 years:

8. Payments to the City and Other Considerations Provided by the Nation.

  1. Before the Nation Commences Gaming.  Within ten (10) days after the resolution provided in Section 4(A) of this Agreement become effective and the Memorandum of Agreement is fully executed and recorded, the Nation will make a one-time payment to the City in the amount of $400,000 to help fund the operations of the City.
  2. After the Nation Commences Gaming. Commencing in the year in which the Nation first offers Class III Gaming to the public on the Property (the ‘Base Year’) and continuing in each subsequent year for a period of twenty (20) years, the Nation will make the payments described below:
  3. Commencing in the Base Year, the Nation will make annual payments to the City to help fund its operations. The Nation will commence making payments to the City within six (6) months of the date on which the Nation first offers Class III Gaming to the public on the Property and annually thereafter within sixty (60) days of the anniversary date of the original payment made under this subsection.
  4. The Nation’s payment in the Base Year will be $1,000,000.00 in each subsequent year of this Agreement, the Nations will make a payment to the City in an amount that is two percent (2%) greater than its payment in the previous year, for the same purposes.”

In return for which the city will not only announce its support for this new casino but actively support its development:

4. Termination of the PADA; Announcement Regarding the Project; No Opposition; No Annexation; Covenant Not To Sue.

  1.   As soon as practicable following the adoption by the City of a resolution approving this Agreement, the City will adopt a resolution in the form attached hereto as Exhibit C approving and authorizing the execution on behalf of the City and recording a Memorandum of Agreement and Partial Termination of Prior Agreement releasing the Property from the PADA, in the forms attached as Exhibit 1 to such resolution, which will then be executed on behalf of the City and the Nation and recorded, at the cost and expense of the Nation, in the Official Records (the ‘Memorandum of Agreement’).
  2. Press Release. Within ten (10) days after the Effective Date, the City and the Nation will issue a joint press release, approved in substance and form by each of the Parties, stating that:
  3. The City and Nation have entered into a mutually beneficial intergovernmental agreement relation to the Property and the Project;
  4. The City supports the United States’ acquisition of the entirety of the Property in trust for the benefit of the Nation under the Lands Replacement Act;
  5. The City supports the Project (including the Nation’s proposed casino gaming operation on the Property);
  6. The City wants the Nation to construct and commence operating the Project as expeditiously as possible for the mutual benefit of the City and the Nation; and
  7. The City supports the Nation’s efforts to enter into a Compact authorizing the Nation’s Class III Gaming on the Property.
  8. No Opposition.
  9. The City will not, directly or indirectly, oppose, challenge, or appeal any decision by the Secretary of the Interior to acquire the Property in trust for the benefit of the Nation under the Lands Replacement Act, including any current or future fee to trust applications concerning the Property.
  10. If the Nation asks the National Indian Gaming Commission or the United States Department of the Interior to issue any decisions or opinions relating to whether the Property meets the requirements of 25 S.C.&2719(b)(1)(B), the City will not, directly or indirectly, oppose the request.
  11. No Annexation. The City will not, after the Effective Date, annex, or take any action to annex, all or any portion of the Property.
  12. Covenant Not To Sue. The City will not commence any future action or make any claims against the Nation or Gaming Enterprise to hinder the Nation or the Gaming Enterprise in developing the Project, except that the City may seek to enforce the terms of the Settlement Agreement and this Agreement.”

One reason to vote ‘yes’ would have been because I do not oppose the city’s agreement to not pursue annexation of this land in question. Let it remain in the county. When it is taken into Trust it becomes a reservation and part of a sovereign nation. This means the new TO casino when built will be on reservation land and not subject to local, county or tax taxation and it is not subject to local or state building codes. That is because it will be a sovereign nation and not under local, county or state jurisdiction. The issue of agreeing to not annex the land was never the issue for me. There were other reasons that compelled me to vote ‘no’ on this issue that I believe outweighed the issue of annexation or non-annexation.

I should disclaim that I have had a long history of opposition to the first casino, now a reservation, a sovereign nation, surrounded by Glendale. I will not bore you with the long history of that fight but suffice it to say, some of the actions taken by the TO appeared to some as being underhanded. Were they? That’s for you to decide but several local tribes claimed such. Here is the link to the testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives in May, 2013, of Diane Enos, President of the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. It does a good job of summarizing many of Arizona’s Indian tribes view of the Tohono O’odham’s actions historically: HHRG-113-II24-Wstate-EnosD-20130516

My ‘no’ vote was based upon the following questions and assumptions. My first thought was, why is the TO paying the City of Glendale when the casino will not be on city annexed land? It will remain part of the county until it is designated a reservation. With the passage of Resolution R 21-11 it will never be annexed by Glendale or be a part of Glendale. There may be several reasons:

One could be in the 1986 Gila Bend Act Congress authorized the Tohono O’odham to purchase and to become reservation up to 9,880 acres of land in Maricopa, Pima or Pinal counties. The land was supposed to replace agricultural land that had been flooded by the federal government. There was the expectation that the new land purchases would be agricultural. Under the Act, it also states the purchased land may not be within the corporate limits of any city.

Another reason may be the TO’s intense desire in securing Glendale’s full-throated support as the city agrees to publicly support the new casino. Why is this important to the TO? My guess it is to neutralize any opposition there may be from other tribes such as Gila River or Salt River-Pima-Maricopa. The TO can point out that it has the support of Glendale to move forward with this new casino.

It also secures Glendale’s support of a new Indian Gaming Compact that will go before the state’s voters in 2022 as well as ensuring Glendale’s support in its requests of the federal government to designate the land as a reservation.

Under the existent Compact the TO are allowed a total of 4 casinos. They have those now – one in Tucson, Ajo, Sahuarita, and Glendale. To construct a 5th casino will require the agreement of the signatory Tribes to the newly crafted Compact soon to be presented to the state’s voters, as well as voter approval.

That raises a question about the new Compact, as yet unveiled to the public. If the TO anticipates getting a 5th casino, does that mean all of the other signatory tribes are anticipating getting authority to plant even more casinos in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area?

Yet another reason may be because the seller of the land to the TO was a member of the PADA (Pre Annexation Development Agreement) which required land owners who are party to this agreement to annex into Glendale. When the land was sold to the TO this legal proscription remained with the sale of the land.

Although it is not specifically spelled out, the agreement seems to be a “quid pro quo.” In return for certain payments to the city, the city will support the TO’s plans. It is often acknowledged that “perception is reality.” The perception of some, after reading the Agreement, may be that the Tohono O’odham bought the city council’s support. I don’t disagree.

There may be “more to this story” than the TO have shared. Perhaps they do not enjoy the support of some of the other Tribes. Perhaps if the city had decided to keep their land in the PADA it might have clouded a federal decision as to whether the land should be taken into trust for a reservation. I honestly don’t know.

Other considerations that formed my decision to vote ‘no’ were the new casino may draw customers from those traveling along the Loop 303 but I suspect it will also draw Sun City, Sun City Grand and Sun City West patrons of the current casino to patronize the new casino as it is closer to them. It may end up cannibalizing its customer base; and although the site is not within the noise contours of Luke Air Force Base, it is in close proximity to them. The TO will be constructing a casino with intense usage just outside of those noise contours.  There could be cause for concern should there ever be an aircraft accident.

In summary, it wasn’t the actual issue of agreeing that the city would not annex the land that drove my decision but rather other, less tangible considerations and perceptions. Does this mean that I cannot work with the TO on issues regarding its current casino in Glendale? No. I promised fair consideration of any request they may make and I will abide by that pledge. The Agreement just passed by city council raises questions that remain unanswered and are likely to remain unanswered. Those questions prompted my ‘no’ vote.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

One of the major reasons the 4 bond authorization questions at Glendale’s November election went down in flames was because voters feared an automatic increase in the amount of Glendale property tax they would have to pay.

To refresh your memory there were 4 bond questions.  Question 1 asked for $87.2 million for Parks and Recreation and included Heroes Park build out. Question 2 asked for $81.5 million for street construction and reconstruction primarily of arterial streets and would have included 59th, 67th and 83rd Avenues as well as reconstruction of Bell Road, Thunderbird Road and Bethany Home Road. Question 3 was under $10 million for continued expansion of the new north portion of the landfill and its debt would have been paid off by users of city sanitation services. Question 4, also under $10 million would have been to improve local drainage issues such as fixing the flooding on Glenn Drive.

At all public meetings designed to provide information on these bond questions, by state law, the city was required to provide you with the worst-case scenario. From these public meetings the following was offered to the public, “However, as part of the disclosures we are required to tell you that the amount of the proposed bond authorization combined with the outstanding debt would exceed the city’s constitutional debt limit. But as we’ve said, once before, the city’s paying off some debt which will keep the amount of outstanding bonds below either limit (6% or 20%) and no bonds can or will be issued that would exceed the city’s constitutional debt limit.” (Assistant City Manager Vicki Rios, October 2020 public bond meeting)

However, what was little known or unclear to the voters was Resolution NO. R20-137 approved by the city council on October 13, 2020. Over the years, the informal council policy had been to maintain a flat (no increase) levy for property taxes. The city’s debt capacity could only increase by the value of new properties added to the city’s tax rolls each year, but it had never been formally adopted.

With the adoption of this resolution this policy became formal and states in part, “The City Council will not authorize the issuance of new G.O. bonds if the levy amount required to pay the debt service on existing G.O. bonds plus the new G.O. bonds exceeds the amount of the current year’s tax levy plus an amount of up to 2% per year for new growth (i.e. new property added to the tax rolls).”

With the formal adoption of this long-standing city council policy by resolution, the state disclosure requiring the city to tell you what the worst-case scenario could be is based upon the assumption that there would be an increase in the property tax levy. This disclosure is required but becomes irrelevant and is a moot point with the adoption of Resolution R20-137.

I am disappointed, obviously, that these 4 bond authorization questions did not gain voter approval. The items presented to voters were the result of the hard and extensive work done by a citizen bond committee. These were items that citizens who studied the issue felt were necessary to move our city forward. City council did not create these recommendations and after listening to their recommendations, approved them.

With the failure of all 4 bond authorization questions, projects that would have been funded will be scaled back, eliminated altogether or delayed for many years. The decisions regarding the projects will be considered by the city council when it takes up budget discussions this spring.

As the Yucca district councilmember, I want Yucca constituents to be aware that some of these bond authorizations are personally important to you. The Parks and Recreation bond authorization question, if it had passed, would have authorized the amount of $47 million to finally complete Heroes Park. This park has been in the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) since 1998, a period of 23 years. It would have included sports fields, a Recreation & Aquatics Center (like the one in north Glendale), a dog park and library expansion. (Please note Heroes Park Lake begins construction this March/April and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2021).

With a doubling of the population in the Yucca district since the last census in 2010, amenities such as the completion of Heroes Park and reconstruction of Bethany Home Road are no longer luxuries but necessities. As more and more people move into this district the need for these amenities becomes greater and greater and the lack of them puts our district at a disadvantage with other districts in the city as well as with neighboring cities such as Peoria and Avondale.

Another infrastructure issue that would have been fixed included in the Streets Bond Authorization was Bethany Home Road between Glendale Avenue and Northern Avenue. It is a mess and frankly, embarrassing. Now I do not know when it will be reconstructed.

I would hope that the city would again present these items to the voters, perhaps at our next election in 2022. I would hope that the next time it is made clear that your property taxes will not go up and a more complete explanation of the projects to be funded would be offered.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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 year 2020 has been memorable and one we hope never repeats itself in terms of the Covid pandemic. As we move into 2021, I, as I am sure many others, await our opportunity to get the vaccine. We all assume that getting vaccinated will allow us to resume a more normal lifestyle.

Despite Covid Glendale has seen some remarkable events this year.

While considering the objections of adjacent residents, the City Council decided to close Glen Lakes Golf Course and to sell the land for a residential development. That action has taken place and we should see construction activity on the site in 2021.

The area surrounding the Loop 303 erupted with activity. Major developers snapped up land along the Loop 303 as fast as they could for industrial/manufacturing/commercial development resulting in several million square feet of space now under construction. This activity will generate over $10 million in construction sales tax for Glendale. One extremely contentious project, a Love’s Travel Stop, eventually disappeared. Council’s intent directed by policy creation was and is to develop the area for commercial development and to discourage residential development in the area. To date the city has been successful except for two residential parcels, county approved prior to their annexation into Glendale.

Zanjero and Westgate continue to add new developments to their sites. New multifamily complexes are springing up in those areas designed to provide a mass of residents that will support those areas for many years to come. Perhaps the most significant project that will put Glendale on the map as a major destination location is the Crystal Lagoon, Glendale located at the southwest corner of 95th Avenue and Cardinals Way. It is, in essence, a mini-Disneyland with a large lagoon available for public recreational use along with 3 hotels, a bevy of retail and entertainment experiences including a 150-foot-tall Aero Bar and a 400-foot tall, tethered balloon designed for public viewing of the entire Valley. This experiential retail will be open prior to the Super Bowl scheduled to be hosted by Glendale in 2023. Just as importantly, it will generate nearly $10 million annually in new revenue for the city. That money can and I hope, will be used to complete unfinished amenities and establish new ones for our Glendale residents.

Another major significant project was the completion of Ballpark Boulevard establishing a permanent connection between our White Sox and Dodgers spring training facility and the Westgate/Zanjero areas. There is several hundred acres of developable land along Ballpark Boulevard and I expect to see additional development on that land prior to the Super Bowl. Glendale is booming with new development and we can expect to see it continue through 2021 and 2022.

A major disappointment was voter disapproval of bond authorization in 4 areas: streets; parks and recreation; landfill and local drainage. We did a poor job of explaining these needs to our residents and failed to assure them that approval of authorization would not raise property taxes. I would expect the city to take another run at it in a few years and do a better job of explaining how important these needs are to our residents.

For example, I receive complaints about the condition of 83rd Avenue between Glendale Avenue and Northern Avenue daily. It was one of the reconstruction projects scheduled if the streets bond authorization had passed. With the failure of the bond authorization, city council will have to decide how and when 83rd Avenue will be remediated during its next budget process discussions scheduled for the spring of 2021.

On another note, I dip into an app called NextDoor periodically. Topics that are often repeated are complaints about fireworks, alerts to all about suspicious persons in a neighborhood and car break-ins. In all these instances, while it is nice to let your neighbors know about these events, it would be better still if each person picked up the phone and called the Glendale Police Department. The department lives by statistics. Every time a call is made it adds to the statistics for a geographic area. The department uses these statistics to determine where to deploy officers. The more statistics (calls) in a certain area the more likely officers will be patrolling and available to respond in a timely fashion to a call for service. Publicly aired complaints are fine but result in a lot of “sound and fury signifying nothing.” Please call the Glendale Police Department and make a report. Do not expect your neighbors to do it. Assume they have not and make that call.

The state has pre-empted cities’ ability to regulate fireworks and extraordinarily little authority is available to cities. If you want the fireworks to stop you are going to have to reach out to residents of other Valley cities and work together to let the state legislature know you have had enough.

In Glendale there are only two periods a year when fireworks may be used: June 24th to July 6th and December 24th to January 3rd. Any other time of year they are illegal. Fireworks that are shot into the air are always illegal. Glendale has increased the fine for illegal fireworks to $1500. Fireworks may not be used between midnight and 6 AM during the two permitted periods.

There is probably more that I could relate about Glendale and events of the past year but the ones I highlighted are the ones that have the most significance for me. I am proud of Glendale and especially the Yucca district which I represent. There is so much good news.

One comment that has always remained with me is a comment the renowned economist, Elliot Pollack, made years ago. He said that Glendale will become the geographical center of the entire Valley. It was prescient and extremely accurate. Glendale is becoming the center of the Valley, in more ways than one. In terms of population, Glendale is the 6th largest city in the state, but our focus is not on population growth but rather economic development and job creation. Our focus on economic development will reverse the current situation where 70% of our residents leave Glendale for employment. As we add more and more jobs and as we develop Class A office space, we will reverse that statistic and in the future Glendale’s residents will truly be able to live, work and play IN Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

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.

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.

As you may, or may not be aware, I have been working hard to make Heroes Park Lake a reality. I am pleased to share this first rendering of Heroes Park Lake to be located on the east side of 83rd Avenue just north of Bethany Home Road at Heroes Regional Park. This rendering shows the position and size of the lake (approximately 5 acres) but it does not show ‘the bells and whistles’ that will be incorporated. Since it will be a fishing lake there will be a few fishing piers, a 20’ foot fountain, several shade structures, benches and the planting of larger trees (none of which is depicted in this rendering).

I am so excited and pleased to be able to finally announce that this lake is definitely coming to the park and soon. There are a lot of moving parts that complicated this project including coordination with Salt River Project. Final details on the amenities are still to be determined and finalized. The latest schedule is that work will begin in the first quarter of this coming year, around this coming March or April.

 I thank all city personnel that will make this project a reality. If I omit some names, please accept my apology. Thanks to City Manager Kevin Phelps, Assistant City Mangers Jack Friedline (technical) and Vicki Rios (financing), Don Bessler, Special Projects Engineering and Trevor Ebersole, Director of Transportation and Streets (includes engineering). Many more were involved. My thanks also goes to the entire City Council. Without their approval this project would never have occurred. I appreciate their recognition of and commitment to fulfilling the city’s promise to complete Heroes Park. My thanks to every Yucca district resident for your patience. You have had to wait over 20 years to see this park completed. I believe the lake is just the beginning of the road to placing all elements within this park.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

I have received a lot of calls, emails and text messages from citizens wanting an explanation of Proposition 437. They say the city has not provided any information on this issue. If you go to www.glendaleaz.com on the landing page there is a link to get you to the information about Proposition 437 and the 4 ballot questions asking for voter approval for bond authorization. 

You may have wondered why the city is not asking voters to vote ‘yes’ on Proposition 437 and the 4 bond questions. By state statute a city may not advocate for or against issues presented to the voters when they are city initiated. The city has held at least a dozen public informational meetings on these issues where information about them was presented by staff being careful not to advocate for the issues presented.

With Proposition 437 the city is asking for voter approval to grant a franchise agreement between the city and EPCOR Water Arizona, Inc. Approval would allow EPCOR to construct, maintain and operate water and wastewater utilities within the city including any future annexations, west of 115th Avenue. EPCOR has been providing water and wastewater services to many entities both commercial and residential west of 115th Avenue for many years. All of their current  service provision has been on county land not incorporated Glendale land. Since they are already operating in that area and already have the infrastructure in place to provide services it makes sense to grant them the right to service properties in Glendale’s Municipal Planning Area (MPA) as those properties are annexed into Glendale.

The city council approved a policy for future annexations in far West Glendale that mandates the area be used for industrial, commercial and retail development, most particularly around the Loop 303 area. With EPCOR already providing water and sewer services in that area it does not require the city to invest millions of dollars in putting in the needed infrastructure there.  EPCOR already has customers and operates in that area as well as in some West Valley cities.

Voter approval of this franchise agreement in no way affects current city water and wastewater customers now getting those services from the city. There is no relationship between the two services. Those people who get water and wastewater services from the city will continue to get those services. Approval of this franchise agreement eliminates the need to expand city infrastructure beyond 115th Avenue. If the voters do not approve this franchise agreement then Glendale may have to build infrastructure in far west Glendale. In this scenario every current customer would bear the associated costs. 

As a franchisee of the city EPCOR will be required to pay the city three percent (3%) of its annual gross (not net) receipts. The estimated annual payment to the city is $825,612.

It’s a win-win for the city and for EPCOR. I would recommend a ‘yes’ vote.

Please note my previous blog presented information not just on this issue but on the 4 bond questions that are on the ballot.

  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.

As voters receive Early Ballots and we are 3 weeks away from voting in person, it’s a good time to review the items related to Glendale on the ballot..

The first is Proposition 437. The city is asking voters to approve granting a franchise agreement to EPCOR Water Arizona, Inc. Approval would allow EPCOR to construct, maintain and operate water and wastewater utilities within the city including any future annexations, west of 115th Avenue.

The city council approved a policy for future annexations in far West Glendale that mandates the area be used for industrial, commercial and retail development, most particularly around the Loop 303 area. With EPCOR providing water and sewer services it does not require the city to invest millions of dollars in putting in the needed infrastructure in that area.  EPCOR already has customers and operates in that area as well as in some West Valley cities.

Granting voter approval for this franchise agreement in no way affects current city water and wastewater customers now getting those services from the city. There is no relationship between the two services.  As a franchisee of the city EPCOR will be required to pay the city three percent (3%) of its annual gross (not net) receipts. The estimated annual payment to the city is $825,612. It’s a win-win for the city and for EPCOR. I would recommend a ‘yes’ vote.

There are also 4 Bond Questions on the Nov. 3rd ballot. The city issues bonds to pay for Capital Improvement Projects. These bonds are paid off over time, usually 25 or 30 years. The city has committed that it will issue no more bonds than that which can be paid off while keeping your property tax rate at its current rate. In other words, passage of these bond questions will not raise your property tax bill.

Question 1 is for Parks and Recreation in the amount of $87,200,000. These bonds would not be issued all at once but rather as other bonds are paid off that allows the city to issue new bonds without raising your property tax. Here are the specific projects for which the bonds will be used:

  • Existing citywide park infrastructure improvements $31,819,400.00
  • Heroes Regional Park Lake                                      4,435,000.00
  • O’Neil Park Splash Pad                                            1,350,000.00
  • Park play structures city wide                                  3,195,000.00
  • Heroes Regional Park Build Out                             46,400,000.00

Question 2 is for Streets in the amount of $81,500,00. and lists specific streets that will be reconstructed. It costs between $3M and $4M to reconstruct one mile of arterial street. The specific streets are:

  • 67th Ave (Greenway to Bell Rd)                      $3,528,000.00
  • 67th Ave (Deer Valley Rd to Pinnacle Peak Rd) $3,704,400.00
  • 59th Ave (Glendale to Northern Ave)               $3,704,400.00
  • Cactus Rd (59th to 67th Ave)                           $3,704,400.00
  • 51st Ave (Peoria Ave to Cactus Rd)                 $3,528,000.00
  • 51st Ave ( Olive Ave to Peoria Ave)                 $3,616,200.00
  • 75th Ave (Glendale Ave to Northern Ave)         $3,528,000.00
  • 83rd Ave (Glendale Ave to Northern Ave)         $4,254,000.00
  • Arterial Street Reconstruction identified in the Capital Improvement Program (Years 6 through 10)   $51,932,600.00        

Question 3 is for the Landfill in the amount of $9,900,000.00 and any bonds issued will not be paid back from the General Fund. These bonds will be paid back by the consumers/rate payers that use city sanitation services.  Current bond repayments for previously issued bonds are already part of your monthly sanitation bill. These funds will be used for expansion of the city’s landfill as it opens the north cell and closes the south cell.   

Question 4 is for Flood Control in the amount of $9,300.000 and will be used for 3 specific projects:

  • Storm drains, Camelback Rd ( 51st Ave to 58th Ave)                       $2,776,400.00
  • Storm drains, 83rd Ave (Bethany Home to Camelback)                    $3,129,500.00
  • Drainage improvements, Glenn Dr (52nd Ave to 59th Ave)                $3,394,100.00

If all or any of these 4 Bond Questions do not pass, there will be no bond money to pay for them. The city options are to not build the project or scale it back. It should also be noted that when voters approve these bond questions, the bonds issued can only be used for the specific projects on the ballot that were voter approved.

I ask that you carefully consider all 4 questions. If you think they are worthy of investment then you will vote to approve them as I am doing.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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 September 29, 2020, Glendale resident Ron Short sent a letter to the Mayor and all Councilmembers regarding Glen Lakes. The entire council appreciates hearing from citizens and values their comments and takes them under consideration when making decisions. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Short. He is a valuable member of our community. In fact, he is a former employee of the city and worked in the Planning Department working on historic properties. Although at some time he may have, I don’t remember his working on any new development or redevelopment applications (unless they had a historical component). His area of expertise was that of historic property preservation.

In his letter he questioned whether the city is an appropriate applicant. Unfortunately, he ‘cherry picked’ the City Code, Section 3.803 – Authorized Applicant. He referenced A. 5., only one of the 6 permissive applicants listed, “5. The Planning Commission or City Council on its own motion at a public meeting; or.”

The complete Section 3.803 – Authorized Applicant., as follows:

“A. An application for an amendment to change the zoning on any property shall be one (1) of the following:

  1. The owner of the property;
  2. One (1) or more of several join owners of property who own individually or as a group, a majority interest in the property;
  3. One (1) or both of the property owners where property is held in joint tenancy;
  4. Seventy-five (75) percent, or more, of the owners of property in the area covered by the application when the application covers more than one (1) property;
  5. The Planning Commission or City Council on its own motion at a public meeting; or
  6. The Historical Preservation Commission, the Planning Commission or City Council on its own motion at a public meeting, may initiate an amendment to establish or amend Historic Preservation District Zoning.”

Fact:   The applicant for the amendment is the city, owner of record at the time the amendment was filed and meets number 2 of the above Section 3.803. Mr. Short refers to an agreement with Homes by Towne dated December 11, 2019. That was the initial agreement agreeing in principle to sell under certain conditions. The actual sale and close of escrow occurred at a much later date.

Mr. Short, within his letter, then makes reference to the required landscape area referring to Code Section 19-62, On-Site Landscaped Areas and quotes, All development projects covered by Section 19-4 here shall provide on-site landscaped areas located in accordance with the following standards and requirements: (3) For all development within other zoning districts, landscaped areas shall be provided on the site in an amount equal to or greater than twenty (20) percent of the net site area.”

Let’s see what Section 19-4 actually says and requires. “The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all development or construction, all building remodeling, alterations, additions, or expansions, and to all changes of occupancy in the use or development of land which requires the approval of a development site plan or subdivision plat by the city. Agricultural uses and single-family and two-family residences and their accessories shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter.” Once again Mr. Short chose one sentence to make his case without bothering to review Section 19-4, his citation, to see if it applied to this development project comprised of single family residences.

Mr. Short also fails to recognize that city code with reference to a Planned Residential Development (PRD) allows for public open space to be a part of the development. The developer in required to build the park (on his dime) and then must dedicate the park to the city as public open space. The requirements for specifications and maintenance of the park area are the responsibility of the city, not the developer, which is his assertion.

Mr. Short refers to the ‘boom times’ the city is currently experiencing and therefore there is no need to sell Glen Lakes Golf Course. Boom times don’t last forever and are often followed by ‘bust’. When ‘bust’ does come, everything is on the table for consideration as to whether it is an essential component of city service delivery. Historically, the city has spent millions of dollars to preserve Glen Lakes Golf Course and if retained would continue to spent considerably more. A component of council’s decision was the question, is it fair and equitable to all city taxpayers to continue to subsidize this golf course? That is a complicated question that each councilmember must decide for himself or herself. Each will have come to a final conclusion when it comes before council for a vote this month.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

I asked city staff to research a series of questions regarding expenditures for Glen Lakes over the years. Much of it was historical data which they could not provide. However, I am sharing the information I did receive.

I asked what the 1979 purchase price was for Glen Lakes. The amount the city paid in 1979 was $1,418,113. I would only remark that the 1979 price was remarkable considering that it was purchased over 40 years ago. It would be considered a remarkable amount of money today as well.

I asked if there were any expenditures required after the land was purchased prior to opening the course to the public. Staff could not find any information.

I assumed the course operations and maintenance would have been a line item in the city’s budget over the years but that was not the case. Costs of operation and maintenance for all city parks and facilities were lumped together so there is no method to determine what would have been expended on the course until 2019. In 2019 the city implemented a new financial software system that now enables the tracking of individual facility expenditures across all departments.

It is fair to assume the city did spend money on operations and maintenance of the course between its purchase date and 2019 when the city could actually begin tracking expenditures. We just don’t know how much was spent each year so I find it puzzling when supporters opposed to the sale of Glen Lakes claim the city deliberately underfunded the operations and maintenance of the course in recent years when they have no factual information to prove it. As can be seen below with regard to attendance figures available attributing the decline in attendance to lack of maintenance seems unrealistic when nationwide golf course attendance declined.

We do know the city paid Golf Maintenance Solutions $120,500 in 2018. We do know that city expended $394,537 in 2019; another $166,691 in 2020; and another $65,000 in 2020. I asked what the city has spent on course maintenance since its closure. That figure is $261,634.

Factually, it can be documented that between the purchase price and the expenditures identified since 2018, the city has spent approximately $3,164,841.00 plus whatever expenditures there were between 1979 and 2018. Over 40 years, it is fair to say the expenditures were considerable and could be considered in the millions of dollars but there is no means of verification.

I asked what the attendance at the course had been since 2005. I have heard Glen Lakes advocates say repeatedly that in 2005 the course was very popular. I asked staff if they had any data on attendance and they provided:

  • 2005 47,469
  • 2006 46,947
  • 2007 42,999
  • 2008 39,455
  • 2009 39,999
  • 2010 33,577
  • 2011 25,104
  • 2012 21,377
  • 2013 22,788
  • 2014 19,196
  • 2015 18,420
  • 2016 15,483
  • 2017 unknown
  • 2018 12,240

I discovered many 9 hole municipal golf courses throughout the country whose annual attendance is twice that of Glen Lakes at its peak in 2005.  By 2016 users of Glen Lakes had declined by 67% from the 2005 figure.

An article entitled Course Correction published in September of 2019 sums up the current issues associated with municipal golf courses, “But over the past 15 years, golfing participation has fallen by 20 percent, from 30 million in 2005 to 24 million today. Now, according to the National Golf Foundation, there are more municipal courses than ever—some 2,800 across the country—but they are serving far fewer golfers than they once did. As a result, course costs are cutting into city budgets. One-third of public golf courses don’t make enough to cover annual operations. That number goes up when taking into account other expenses, such as debt and employee retirement benefits.”(https://www.governing.com/topics/finance/gov-golf-courses.html).

There is another issue that has surfaced recently with regard to Glen Lakes and that is, the issue of the park space to be reserved for public use. Currently, other than the view provided to adjacent neighbors, to actually be on the golf course one would have to pay a fee to use it so consequently the only benefit to neighbors is the view.

It should be noted that there is quite a bit of established park space in this area. Close by are Butler Park and Manistee Ranch Park. A little further is one of Glendale’s premier parks, that of Sahuaro Ranch Park.

I attended the public meetings for neighborhood residents. At one of those meetings conceptual plans were offered for proposed park space and the amount of improved park land is to be + or – 10 acres. The attendees were the ones who chose the final conceptual plan and they made it quite clear that they did not want a park with active amenities such as basketball courts that would attract users from outside their neighborhoods. Now to hear complaints about the configuration of the park space is quite baffling.

The city council will be voting on this issue sometime in October. I have no idea how the vote will go. There are several issues to consider. Does the city need two 9 hole municipal golf courses? Is it cost effective to maintain a view for the adjacent neighbors? Should this course be preserved no matter the current and future costs to be borne by all of the city’s taxpayers? Would the funding to operate and maintain 10 acres of useable, neighborhood, public park space be a better investment for the city?

I understand the Glen Lakes advocates’ position. Their request is to restore the course. I represent all citizens of Glendale. Is it fair, just and equitable to ask every taxpayer in Glendale to subsidize millions of future dollars to completely renovate, operate and maintain this course? Even if the course were renovated, it is anticipated the revenues earned by players’ fees would not cover the annual costs of operation and maintenance. The reality is that this course will be a financial deficit to the city in perpetuity.

It is always jarring and upsetting to residents when they are confronted with the fact that a once vacant parcel of land nearby will be developed. Their first comment is on the loss of their unimpeded view enjoyed for many years.

As Planning Chairperson Gary Hirsch said at a recent meeting, if this were a parcel owned by a private entity wishing to develop, it would be recognized and acknowledged that the private entity has the right to so as it wished with its investment. He drew a line in the sand when it came to a public entity, namely local government, and its desire to develop or to repurpose land that it owns. I’m not sure I agree with his premise. Taxpayers constantly question whether its local government is making sound financial decisions and operating in the most cost effective manner possible. Doesn’t local government have the obligation to stop throwing good money after bad?

I understand the anguish of nearby neighbors and the loss of their view of 40 acres of green space but at what cost do the rest of the taxpayers preserve the neighbors’ view?

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

No project as large in scope as this one is simple or easy to create. This project is wide-ranging and complex reflected by the fact that it has taken over a year to put all of the pieces in place. There are 5 different agreements:

  • Development Agreement with ECL Glendale, LLC. (approved by city council on Sept. 8)
  • Government Property Improvement Leases with ECL Glendale, LLC. (approved by city council on Sept. 8)
  • Purchase and Sale Agreement with ERD Glendale, LLC. to purchase approximately .2942 acres of city-owned land (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)
  • Option Agreement to purchase real estate with ERD Glendale, LLC to purchase approximately 4.154 acres of city-owned land (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)
  • Parking Agreement(s) (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)

The Development Agreement acknowledges that this project qualified as a business expansion economic development project. The term of this agreement is 25 years. The agreement spells out the terms of a 25 year “partial” Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET). Under Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S. 42-6208) a GPLET may be applied only to amusements and their related retail and restaurant concessions. It allows for a 25 year partial exemption of lease excise tax for recreation and entertainment uses. Once the project has completed all construction (October, 2022) the company sells the project to the city for a token amount. The city becomes the lessor (owner and landlord) exempting ECL from paying property tax.  ECL becomes the prime lessee (renter) paying the city a token annual rental payment and pays annual lease excise tax instead of property tax. After 25 years the GPLET terminates and cannot be renewed. At that time the project reverts back to ECL, becomes private property and pays property tax rather than a lease tax.

The Government Property Improvement Lease further refines the terms of the 25 year partial GPLET. The terms remain as represented above but they are spelled out in excruciating legal detail. It’s a 50 page document (yes, I read it all) that only an attorney would love. It even covers what happens if there is “an act of God” that destroys the project.  It’s a very detailed, boring, yet important document.

The company is obligated to operate and maintain the project for at least 25 years continuously. The company agrees to completion of construction of the entire project on or before October 31, 2022. The city recognizes the right of the company to develop, construct and use the property under its current Planned Area Development (PAD) zoning. The city will provide expedited plan review. The city will provide a Fee Waiver in the amount of $1M in permit, plan review and inspection fees but this waiver does not include Development Impact Fees (DIF) which is estimated to be a one time payment of $4.4M.

Purchase Sale Agreement for 0.29 acres allows ECL to purchase for $10 a square foot, totaling $126,000. This small sliver of city-owned land is situated on the southwest corner of Montebello Avenue and 95th Avenue. It enhances access to the project site.

Option for Purchase Sale Agreement for 4.15 acres allows ECL to purchase for $10 a square foot, totaling $1.8 M. This land would be used for water retention, employee parking and maintenance operations for the project.

Parking Agreement(s) provide for the project’s overflow parking needs at the city-owned Black lot on all days but football game days and mega events at the stadium (attendance must be 40,000 minimum). ECL will maintain the black lot and pay for all associated utilities. This agreement will also be approved by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) and the Cardinals. Additional agreements between the Bidwill family and ECL may provide alternate parking should the city decide to develop the Black Parking lot. Obviously, with this project and others within Westgate and Zanjero, at some point the Black Lot parking land becomes so valuable for development that its use as a parking lot no longer makes financial sense.

The Return on Our Investment (ROI) is substantial. Keep in mind the city always uses conservative figures and I think it is fair to assume the numbers provided could be higher. Over 25 years the county earns $60.4M or $2.4M a year; the schools earn $90.6M or $3.6M a year; and the state receives $309.3M or $12.3M a year. What does the city earn? Over 25 years $240.5M or $9.6M a year. During construction of the project the city earns construction sales tax of $5.9M; $1.8M for the sale of remnant land parcels; and DIF fees of $4.4M. I personally think the annual revenues will be higher, especially during and after the Super Bowl in 2023. This resort project is sure to be heavily promoted during the Super Bowl generating a ton of viewer interest and a spike in tourist visits to Glendale.

All of these revenues are generated because the city, in order to attract this project, was willing to forego $1M in fee waivers, agree to accept excise lease tax rather than property tax and already had an abundance of available overflow parking constructed. In return for which, the city will generate almost $10M a year in new revenue. The city did not have to pay a dime to entice the project. The city does not write a check as an incentive to the developer for anything. I think that it is a win-win for Glendale and ECL. That’s why it won my immediate and enthusiastic support from the time I first learned of the project.

There are cities across this country that will never have this kind of opportunity but Glendale has spent the past several years positioning itself to attract just such a project.  As I said in my last blog there are intangible benefits as well. This experiential retail, entertainment concept is a brand new concept and will be the very first anywhere in the world. It will claim the attention of both the retail and entertainment industries and provides a blueprint for marrying the two concepts together. Glendale was on the map as a host city for the Super Bowl and the Final Four but this project moves Glendale to a new level of prominence.

I thank ECL for choosing Glendale as its partner and for hanging in there for over a year to execute tedious, legal, governmental documents that can be frustrating at times. It’s a challenge for all concerned to bring a project such as this to reality. Kudos to Glendale and ECL for making it happen. I am very proud to welcome them as the newest member of our Glendale family and the Yucca district.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

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