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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.

There is more practical and factual information that comprised Glendale’s business decision to decline to renew the agreement with the Coyotes.

Perhaps the most important reason driving Glendale’s decision is the fact that the 18-year-old arena is due for face lift. If you have attended a game at the Cardinals Stadium, you would be aware that for the past few years the Cardinals and AZSTA have invested in upgrading the stadium making a more comfortable and accessible fan experience. The stadium these days is truly amazing, and the fans love the new look and the new accommodations.

The city is planning for the future of the arena. Should it renovate the arena to accommodate the Coyotes’ fan experience when Alex Meruelo is insistent on a short-term lease arrangement of 3 to 5 years? Does that make sense? Where is the cost benefit to the city in doing so? There is none. 

With the Coyotes gone and a renewed emphasis on concerts and other events over the next 20 years, the configuration of the arena can be designed to accommodate the concert and event goers experience. In other words, the arena upgrades would be designed one way for sports fans and a totally different way for concert and event attendees.

That is why when the city began to negotiate with the Coyotes ownership a year ago its goal was to obtain a long-term lease of 18 to 20 years. If the city were to upgrade the arena to accommodate fans it needed the assurance of a long-term lease. Unfortunately, the ownership group made clear that they were only interested in a 3-to-5-year lease time frame.

Decisions regarding an upgrade to the arena are critical. That is why Glendale did not make its decision regarding the Coyotes agreement lightly and without consulting our partners and stakeholders or looking critically at the economic facts.

Another reason is related to historical revenue sharing agreements with every Coyotes ownership group. To retain the team and to assist with their financial viability, the Coyotes retain nearly all of the revenue generated by games. The team historically has kept all the revenue earned from naming rights for the arena and parking revenues. Their rental payment was extremely generous and arguably one of the best deals in the country.

The Applied Economics study says per capita, the Coyotes generate $28 per game in spending as opposed to a concert where the per capita is $58 and another event per capita is $35. Coyotes’ fans tend to stay inside the arena and buy food, etc., within it. Due to the Coyotes revenue sharing agreements, the city earns very little revenue on purchases inside the arena and none on parking or naming rights. On the other hand, concert and event attendees often dine in Westgate before a concert or event or may book an overnight stay at a Westgate hotel. There are no revenue constraints and therefore the tax revenues earned by the city are greater.

I’ve related why Westgate and the city have come of age. Both entities see an even more exciting future ahead. Reliance upon the Coyotes to keep Westgate financially viable is no longer a reality. I’ve also related the history of the Coyotes ownerships. A turnover of 6 different entities with differing agendas and a historical lack of partnership with the city made the situation extremely difficult during the past 18 years.

The decision to decline renewal of the agreement was a reasoned one based upon sound economic data and the need to make critical decisions regarding the arena’s future use.  Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, still believes our decision is strictly a negotiating ploy to get more money from any deal. Someone should be whispering in his ear that nothing could be further from reality. The city’s decision is final. I wish the Coyotes much luck and success in their future endeavors.

There is one more thought that I want to share, and it is this. Over 18 years the City of Glendale has demonstrated, with financial investments, its commitment to keeping the Coyotes in the State of Arizona. We invested $185 million in the construction of the arena. For goodness’ sake, we paid the NHL $50 million to keep the Coyotes in Arizona while it searched for a new owner. Over the 18 years the city has invested about $307 million keeping the Coyotes in Arizona — with no help…from the state, the county or any other entity in the region. We did it alone. We put skin in the game – literally.

As Arizona Republic sports columnist Kent Somers said, When is the last time you heard of a city kicking a sports franchise out of the house?”

© 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 very first owner of the Coyotes to land in Glendale was Steve Ellman. Ellman bought the team from Richard Burke in 2001. How did Ellman end up in Glendale for he dearly wanted to be in Scottsdale? When Scottsdale rejected the idea, Ellman went shopping, looking for cheap land for his grand vision of a hockey arena to be surrounded by commercial/retail to compliment the arena. I remember at the time, early 2000s, staff indicated to city council that they wanted to show Ellman the old Valley West Mall parcel at 59th Avenue and Northern Avenue as a possible site. Council gave the go-ahead. Staff took him on a helicopter ride over Glendale. When Ellman saw the Valley West Mall site he said it would never work because the arterial roads would not be able to handle the anticipated traffic. On that same fateful visit he saw all of the agricultural land adjacent to the Loop 101 and said that was his preference for a site.

When staff reported back to council with Ellman’s feedback, I was aghast. I was not supportive of a hockey arena in Glendale. In an effort to perhaps kill the deal, I insisted that Ellman be tied to Valley West Mall in a redevelopment project. I thought he would balk and walk away. I was wrong. He agreed to redevelop Valley West Mall and did so. The hockey arena would be built.

Ellman never engaged with Glendale or worked to develop a real relationship as a partner. Who knows why? I don’t. The city tried to engage him, but nothing ever developed. Ellman was very successful in booking major recording artists into the arena during his ownership tenure. I remember in particular, seeing Bette Midler, among others, perform there in the arena’s early years.

Jerry Moyes, Swift Trucking Company owner, became the team’s second owner when Ellman sold the team to him in 2005.  Moyes, a businessman, appeared to many observers, to take little interest in the team. There were also rumors that he was reluctant to invest in the team. He, too, never engaged with Glendale to build a mutually successful partnership. In 2008, Moyes declared bankruptcy and after a yearlong legal battle, the NHL took ownership of the team in 2008, according to bankruptcy court documents.

In essence, the NHL became the team’s 3rd owner in the space of 8 years. The NHL was merely a caretaker for the team while they desperately tried to acquire a new owner. I remember there were 4 or 5 entities in the race to buy the team. The one that impressed me the most was Greg Jamison. He was a true gentleman and eager to create that long missing partnership with Glendale. He had tons of hockey knowledge and experience due to his many years with the San Jose Sharks. He knew what it would take to put a good team on the ice. He put together a consortium of investors willing to invest their own money rather than saddle themselves with enormous debt but unfortunately, he was out maneuvered by one Anthony LeBlanc, one of Jamison’s very own investors and soon to become the new owner.

The 4th owners became Ice Arizona, led by George Gosbee/Anthony LeBlanc in 2013. The trouble with this ownership group was money. LeBlanc et. al., used very little of their own.  They borrowed nearly all the purchase price from various institutions and even got a loan of $70 million from the NHL. They were always cash poor. To observers it appeared as if they were a group of guys who got together to acquire a new play toy. They seemed to revel in owning a hockey franchise but when it came to creating a great product on the ice, they were not very adept. Again, no partnership with Glendale ever developed.

Andrew Barroway was one of the original Ice Arizona partners. By 2016, he acquired a majority interest in ownership and became the 5th owner of the Coyotes. I never met Mr. Barroway and I’m not sure anyone on city council ever met him either. I have no idea as to whether he was good or bad for the team. But, again, no partnership with the city ever developed. He seems to have been an absentee owner.

Which leads us to the latest and 6th owner of the Coyotes. In 2019, Alex Meruelo bought the team. I have never met Mr. Meruelo and only know that he is a successful businessman. From the day of his purchase he has publicly stated, along with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, that Glendale will not be a part of the Coyotes future and he planned to actively pursue a new location. Obviously, there has been no development of a partnership with the city.

How does the Coyotes saga of ownership compare with other Valley Sports teams? Here’s a graphic that depicts the string of ownerships of all of our teams:

The multiple ownerships in Coyotes history would appear to play a significant part in its ability to become a successful team. A string of different owners with their own agendas did nothing to stabilize the team and to create a successful product on the ice.

I, and the city, harbor no ill will toward Mr. Meruelo. He has made what he believes to be his best business decision to create a successful team. I respect that. In my next blog, I will comment on why retaining the Coyotes is not the best business model for Glendale.

The long-held myth has always been that Glendale was not a good site because the fan base is in the East Valley. I don’t necessarily buy into the myth. If that were the case, the Cardinals would never successfully fill their stadium, game after game.

I remember attending a West Valley economic summit years ago. The one comment made by the featured speaker, Elliot Pollack, a well-respected Arizona economist, was that Glendale was destined to become the geographic center of the Valley. As each year passes, this concept comes closer and closer to reality. West Valley cities, such as Buckeye, Avondale, Litchfield Park, Surprise and Peoria are all experiencing population explosions. At some point, the West Valley’s population will surpass that of the East Valley’s. That appears to be coming to fruition now. As the media have reported, Buckeye and Goodyear are both among the 10 fastest-growing cities in the United States. Buckeye has grown faster than any city in the country as its population grew in the last decade by 80%. There is the potential explosion of a fan base in the West Valley, but a team must work to cultivate it. All the team’s past owners failed to do so.

Another concept never fully appreciated is that we are primarily a population that moved here from somewhere else. I came from New Jersey. Over the years, I have overwhelmingly met “transplants” as opposed to native Arizonans. We came here with team favorites already encoded into our DNA and it’s difficult to embrace a new team as one’s favorite, especially when there is no compelling reason to do so.

We are “fair weather fans.” What would constitute a compelling reason to become an avid fan? It’s pretty obvious. A good team…a winning team. Witness the Suns and their recent run for the basketball championship. Everyone wanted to attend a game and tickets were selling like hotcakes at exorbitant prices. Every time the Coyotes were in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup, the fans came out selling out the arena and the “White Out” was born. There was no talk of East Valley fans vs. West Valley fans.

I am not trying to sell the notion of the Coyotes remaining in Glendale. That ship has sailed. It is not in our best business interest for the Coyotes to remain and the city has stated repeatedly that its decision is not a negotiating ploy. I just wanted to highlight other factors that are contributory to poor attendance.

The old saying, “build it and they will come” is still a valid statement but with a jaded society with so many entertainment choices, it’s incumbent upon every sports team to create a compelling reason for a consumer to spend what is often a great deal of money to attend a sporting event. The Coyotes, under a series of confusing ownerships, never created a compelling reason to become an avid hockey fan.

© 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 Coyotes Press Release issued on Thursday, August 19, 2021, stated, We are hopeful that they (Glendale) will reconsider a move that would primarily damage the small businesses and hard-working citizens of Glendale.” It appears to be a veiled reference to Westgate’s businesses and seems to infer that they will suffer mightily with the loss of 42 Coyotes games per season.

It’s time to look back at the history of Westgate. It’s only rationale for existence in 2003 was the deliberate development by the city of Glendale’s hockey arena. When it opened in 2003, it was surrounded by a sea of vacant land, some of it was still agricultural. Fans came to the arena for the games and left immediately after the games because there was nothing for them to do or experience.

Steve Ellman failed to develop any of the adjacent commercial/retail for 2 years. It wasn’t until 2006, limited development opened with a few restaurants. Westgate, now in its infancy, began to grow and take shape. The Cardinals Stadium, Cabela’s, the AMC Theater and a few restaurants also opened in that year. Followed a year later, 2007, by the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. This is what the early Westgate looked like.

By 2012 Ellman could not weather the aftereffects of the economic storm and shed himself of Westgate as it went into bankruptcy. One of institutions that had loaned him the money for the project, IStar, took over Westgate.

Back then, the arena and stadium were the anchor tenants that kept the nascent Westgate afloat especially through the national recession that ended in 2009. Even though the recession officially ended in 2009, everyone, including Westgate felt its effects for several more years. IStar, as a major lending institution, held on to this property knowing its future potential. It did a credible job of keeping Westgate intact and growing. Since 2012, iStar had executed over 50 retail and office leases totaling in excess of 260,000 square feet, converted two floors of vacant office space into 76 luxury loft-style residential units, and brought to the district multiple new entertainment options including Dave & Busters and Tavern+Bowl.

Tanger Outlet Mall opened in 2012 and everything changed. iStar partnered with Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. to build the successful 400,000 square foot Tanger Outlets, Westgate. Tanger with its nearly 90 stores became the catalyst for more restaurants landing in Westgate for there are no restaurants within Tanger. Tanger patrons began crossing 95th Avenue to eat at Westgate’s restaurants. More restaurants located in Westgate as a result. Tanger Outlets was the beginning of less reliance on Coyotes games to keep Westgate alive.

In 2018, Bob Parsons, GoDaddy founder, bought Westgate for $133 million. Parsons said at the time of purchase, The potential at Westgate is huge. Westgate currently offers visitors a wide variety of entertainment options, but we’re looking to develop features that will entice even more visitors and residents to this unique and vibrant Valley location.”

In the past four years, due to Bob Parsons and his team (YAM Properties), Westgate has become even more vibrant with 38 restaurants, hotels, condos, apartments, and office space. It has become an economic powerhouse in the state and where businesses want to locate. Coming next to Dave & Buster’s will be Tiger Woods’ Pop Golf and Tesla has built a service center on the south side of Glendale Avenue. Some of the long tenured tenants, despite learning that the Coyotes are leaving, remain enthusiastic about investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into upgrading their venues. They know there is more to Westgate than the Coyotes and that more exciting development is coming before the Super Bowl in 2023.

YAM has done an exceptional marketing job for Westgate. Everyone in the Valley knows of Westgate. On any given night you can find some kind of activity in and around Westgate. Westgate is truly a sports and entertainment district.

Just to reemphasize how well Westgate is doing, this week in the Business Journal there was an article about the 7 new businesses coming to Westgate:

  • The Tesla Service Center will offer remote diagnostics, pre-diagnosed repairs and a retail showroom for model vehicles
  • Tacos Culichi, a popular Mexican restaurant in Phoenix, will open another location near Sunrise Boulevard.
  • First Watch is an American restaurant chain that offers a mix of breakfast, brunch and lunch classics. 
  • Bruster’s Ice Cream, another American chain, will open its third Arizona location at the district next to the Aloft Hotel. 
  • Pokitrition, a local shop, serves customizable poke bowls and sushi burritos. 
  • PopStroke Entertainment, which is owned by golf legend Tiger Woods and Greg Bartoli, announced plans to open in the Westgate Entertainment District. 
  • Cupbop, opened at the northeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hanna Lane in the entertainment district,
  • NakedQ BBQ, a barbecue joint, opened its third Valley location at Westgate

As reported in the Business Journal, “Oren Hartman, the owner of the NakedQ BBQ and head pit boss, said he’s looked at moving to the area for years, but decided the timing was right with ‘all the great growth out here’. He went on to say, ‘With the continued growth and population out here, with the commitment from YAM and Westgate to keep building up and making the facility better, and just to be around some world-class tenants, those were all the main reasons that we came over’.”

In a previous statement as part of the city’s Press Release, Dan Dahl said he supports the city’s decision to end negotiations with the Coyotes. The Business Journal received further comment from Mr. Dahl, “Westgate is not solely dependent on sports programming and the announcement doesn’t take away the endless potential we have to offer the area,” he said in an email on Tuesday. “Several of our tenants, including many restaurants, are experiencing increased activity and strong sales numbers every night of the week. Many even exceed pre-Covid numbers despite the events and activities still coming back slowly.” 

Perhaps the most consequential development scheduled to open in the Fall of 2023 is the Crystal Island Lagoon Resort located at 95th Avenue and Cardinals Way in the Westgate footprint. With its 3 hotels, 7 specialty retail islands, a 12-acre lagoon for public use, Mattel Amusement Park and much, much more it is anticipated to attract between 2 and 5 million visitors in its first year.

Westgate has grown up as has the City of Glendale. The city commissioned an economic study of the fiscal impact of Westgate with the Coyotes and without the Coyotes (replacing the team dates with other major events). The Applied Economics report revealed that, “In terms of spending at Westgate only (outside the arena) it would take approximately 20 additional concerts or large other events (with attendance of 10,000+) to equal the same amount of sales tax revenues to the city as 43 Coyotes games.”

Another important element of the Applied Economics study revealed was a comparison of per capita spending for a Coyotes game vs. a concert vs. another event. Per capita, the Coyotes generate $28 per game. A concert per capita is $58 and another event per capita is $35.

Currently, discounting last year which was severely impacted by Covid, the arena already books about 10 – 12 major events a year. With the Coyotes no longer consuming 42+ days (game days and practice days), there is confidence that an additional 20 days of major events can be booked. Keep in mind, the Coyotes actually tie up 200 days a year. Let me take a moment to explain what that means to the arena. In the fall, arena management must submit to the NHL 200 open days during which games can be scheduled there. However, the NHL doesn’t post its league schedule until the following spring at which time the arena finally learns which 42 game days must be preserved. Imagine trying to book other events when 200 days are in limbo for 6 months of the year.

When the Coyotes claim that their departure “would primarily damage the small businesses,” that is no longer an accurate statement. Like Pinocchio, their nose continues to grow longer and longer.

© 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

Recently Tucker Carlson had a segment on affordable housing and its impact on Buckhead, Georgia. More about this later in this article. It reminded me of the blog I posted this February about the federal government’s push to create more affordable housing throughout the country.

The Progressives in the Biden administration are working overtime to require more affordable housing everywhere. Under the HOME Act in a strategy to increase affordable housing stock, CDBG grantees, such as Glendale, requires “Each grantee receiving assistance under this title shall—

 ‘‘(A) include in the consolidated plan required under part 91 of title 24, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor thereto) a strategy to support new inclusive zoning policies, programs, or regulatory initiatives that create a more affordable, elastic, and diverse housing supply and thereby increase economic growth and access to jobs and housing;

and‘‘(B) include in the annual performance report submitted under section 91.520 of title 24, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor thereto) the progress and implementation of the strategy…”

Measures to increase the amount of affordable housing include:

  • “Increasing both the percentage and absolute number of affordable units
  • “Authorizing high-density and multifamily zoning
  • “Eliminating off-street parking requirements
  • “Establishment of density bonuses
  • “Streamlining or shortening permitting processes and timelines
  • “Removing height limitations
  • “Establishing by-right development
  • “Using property tax abatements
  • “Relaxing lot size restrictions
  • “Prohibiting source of income discrimination
  • “Taxing vacant land or donating vacant land to nonprofit developers
  • “Allowing accessory dwelling units
  • “Establishing development tax or value capture incentives
  • “Prohibiting landlords from asking prospective tenants for their criminal history
  • “Provide that affordable housing units should, to the maximum extent practicable—be designated as affordable for not less than 30 years; comprise not less than 20 percent of the new housing stock in the community; and be accessible to the population served by the program established under this title”

Let’s take a snapshot of Glendale. There are 82,810 housing units (homes and apartments). Of those, 2,629 are affordable apartments in 25 low income complexes in Glendale. This represents 3% of the current housing stock as affordable and a far cry from the 20% required under the soon-to-be enacted federal HOME Act. Here are the 25 apartment complexes:

  • Vista Alegre

6549 W Maryland Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Income Based 1 BR Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Landmark Senior Housing

8232 N 59th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Income Based 1 BR 62+

  • Brook Creek Apartments

4937 W. Myrtle Avenue Glendale, AZ 85301

Glendale, Arizona

$475-600 1-2 BR

  • Good Shepherd West

6113 N. 60th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Call For Rent Studio BR Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Kachina Place Apartments

6238 N 63rd Avenue

Glendale, Arizona

Call For Rent Studio-1 BR Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Casa Bill Soltero

6001 W Missouri Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Valley of the Sun School 6

5239 W Tonto Rd

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized Accessible Accessible Disabled Supportive Housing

  • Bethany Glen Apartments

4788 W Bethany Home Rd

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized

  • Waymark Gardens

5325 W Butler Dr

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Glencroft Towers

8620 N 65th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Manistee Manor

7987 N 53rd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • John’s Manor

7229 N 51st Avenue

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • San Remo Apartments

5755 N 59th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Valley of the Sun School 5

4649 W Haywood

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized Accessible Accessible Disabled Supportive Housing

  • Tanner Terrace

7138 N 45th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Palms at Glendale

6112 N 67th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Desert Eagle

6917 N 71st Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Faith House a L a Prospect Park Apartments

8581 N 61st Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Villas Solanas

6755 N 83rd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Glendale Homes

6617 N 52nd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • San Martin Apartments

6802 N 67th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Town Square

5136 W Glenn Dr

Glendale, Arizona

  • Glendale Enterprise

6839 N 63rd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Los Vecinos Housing Development, Inc

7131 N 54th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Shadow Creek II

10854 N 60th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Ten of these complexes are for elderly housing and two complexes are for disabled housing. Thirteen are non-restrictive subsidized housing. Note that almost all are in the Ocotillo District—an unhealthy situation for that district at best.

Obviously, Glendale as a federal recipient of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Surface Transportation Block Grants (STBG) would be subject to this federal law or become ineligible to receive either of these block grants. Practically, Glendale in its annual report, would have to show that it is using any or all of the measurements listed above to achieve a goal of 20% of its housing units as affordable and that they would remain so for 30 years (for a generation).

How does this situation apply to Buckhead, Georgia? Buckhead, unlike Glendale, is not an incorporated city but rather a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Therefore, it is subject to whatever zoning code amendments are enacted by the Atlanta City Council and its Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms. Much of what is in the federal HOME Act is suggested for use in Buckhead as well as other communities considered to be the suburbs of Atlanta proper.

In March of this year, Atlanta issued a report, Atlanta City Design Housing. It says, “The first step toward making Atlanta a more inclusive place to live should be to end exclusive single-family zoning by allowing an additional dwelling unit in all existing single-family zoned areas in the city.” Other ideas promoted in this report include reducing minimum lot sizes, allowing small apartment buildings in some neighborhoods currently limited to single-family homes, and mandating those wealthy neighborhoods have their per-capita share of ‘affordable housing’.“ Yet other strategies include: creating basement apartments, converting garages, allowing accessory dwelling units on the same lot; elimination of parking minimums for apartments complexes; elimination of low density housing; reduction of minimum lot size requirements; distribute affordable housing throughout the city including wealthy neighborhoods; creation of overlay affordability districts; and the use of city owned vacant land for affordable units.

There is also the creation of an Atlanta Housing Affordability Tracker which “provides a snapshot of progress made in reaching the goals of (1) creating or preserving 20,000 affordable homes by 2026 and increase overall supply and (2) investing $500 million from City-controlled public sources in the production and preservation of affordable housing as part of the larger goal of investing $1 billion (the other $500 million coming from private and philanthropic sources).”

In the name of diversity or equality what is happening in this country? When, not if, this amendment to the HOME Act becomes law, the incentive to work hard and become successful will be disincentivized. It doesn’t matter if you are black, white or brown. The most important and meaningful purchase of anyone’s life will have been diminished. It smacks of reverse discrimination not based on skin color but rather on one’s ability to be financially successful in life.

We live on an acre of land in a 3,000 SF home. For 30 years our family lived in a typical R1-6 residential subdivision. Twenty years ago, we were fortunate and found our current home and large lot property. We worked hard all our lives to have the necessary funds to buy. If the HOME Act amendment becomes federal law, our opportunity to live on a large lot today would evaporate.

I suspect that the residents of Buckhead and other Atlanta suburbs have the same attitude, and it will not surprise me in the least if they take Atlanta’s zoning amendments to court—perhaps even the Supreme Court. It is clearly a “takings” issue.

© 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.

I’ve wanted to write this particular blog for nine months but confidentiality imposed by the principal developers precluded me from doing so.

Last September, the Glendale city council approved documents for the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale. At that time David Leibowitz published an article disparaging the project. Here is the link to his original article: https://www.eastvalleytribune.com/opinion/valley-theme-park-plans-all-smoke-no-sizzle/article_50d85836-f6ab-11ea-a6a8-47e43bc1f48b.html .

In it he said, “Not to be outdone, the Glendale City Council last week approved ‘Crystal Lagoons, Island Resort,’ an 11-acre water paradise purported to include paddle boarding, scuba diving and boogie boarding – plus ‘water jetpacks.’ Whatever the hell those are.

“Naturally, Glendale electeds voted to waive $1 million in fees for the developer and employ a sweetheart financing deal known as a GPLET, which allows the builder to avoid paying property taxes for 25 years. That’s predicated on the project being built, of course, which I doubt. Not to sound cynical, but, like I said, I’ve been following theme park news for years. 

“The projects all follow a similar pattern: They get announced amid much braggadocio, make zero progress for years, then quietly expire.

“In this case, the political burbker du jour was Glendale Councilwoman Joyce Clark, who said at the Council meeting: “I am just so excited. … (This is) a blockbuster project that’s going to put Glendale on the map, not just in the Valley but in the Southwest.” Which I’m sure is what some elected yoyo said when the Garden of Eden was built – and with nary a tax break, if you can imagine that.”

Well, Mr. Leibowitz, today was the official groundbreaking for Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale. The project will be completed prior to the Super Bowl of 2023. I think it’s time you pound sand regarding your commentary about this project and I invite you to Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale when it is opened to pound said sand.

A project of this magnitude is not built nor planned in a day. The sale of the land has been completed at a cost of $27 million. Conceptual plans have been rendered and engineering/architectural plans are nearly completed. So now it is time to begin grading the land and that is exactly what is occurring now.

I suspect that Mr. Leibowitz’s motive for disparaging Glendale’s project had more to do with the election atmosphere in the fall of 2020. Add in his close connection in working with the Glendale fire fighter union. Glendale’s Primary Election was in August, 2020, a month before this blockbuster announcement. In that Primary Liebowitz and the Glendale firefighter union took a whippin’. They had backed and had poured tons of money supporting the opponent of Mayor Weiers and my opponent as well. They lost…again. You would think that they would learn the lesson to not mess with Clark and Weiers.

Liebowitz, stung after another firefighter election loss in Glendale, probably thought his article would be great payback and would be a perfect opportunity to go not to go after not only Glendale but me as well. It was like killing two birds with one stone. In this case, his stones missed their mark. I think we can write off Mr. Liebowitz and his opinions regarding anything Glendale related.

When the official groundbreaking occurred this past Thursday, June 10th, I said repeatedly this is the most significant project to come to Glendale since the arena opened in 2003 and the stadium opened in 2006.

Think about it. Why do so many of us escape to California for vacations? The incredible weather along the coast, of course, but it is the beach and water fun and the myriad of theme parks. I can’t think of a single theme park over there that combines a beach with rides.

That’s what makes Crystal Lagoon Island Resort such a unique venue, especially in the Arizona desert. I’m not sure the public realizes just how much one can do.

  • Do you want to swim, scuba dive, water jet pack or boogie board all day? No problem. You and your family can do that with a lunch break at one of the dozen or so restaurants available.
  • Or maybe it’s a day with the kids or grandkids at the Mattel Amusement Park including Thomas the Train and Hot Wheels rides. Over the coming months Mattel will be announcing more components for their amusement park. So be on the lookout for them.
  • Perhaps the older kids would prefer the “fly”or 4 D theaters similar to the “Soarin’ Around the World” attraction at Disney’s California Adventure theme park.
  • Have some visitors? They will be able to stay at Crystal Lagoon Island Resort where 650 hotel rooms will be available. Then you can all meet for a leisurely lunch followed by shopping at one or all five of the themed retail/restaurant island areas.
  • Looking for something unique to show off? Go to the Aerophile’s Aerobar for extraordinary food and drinks 130 feet off the ground. Want to show off the entire Valley of the Sun? Then the tethered hot air balloon rising 400 feet is just the ticket.
  • Need a bit more? Then plan on attending a live outdoor musical concert with well known musical artists nearly every night of the year. More announcements will be made about this element when the principals are ready to do so.

Marry Crystal Lagoon Island Resort with the Westgate/Zanjero area and it becomes a major vacation destination. Want to golf? Go to TopGolf or PopStroke (Tiger Woods designed mini golf). Professional sports venues of NFL football, NHL hockey or MLB spring training baseball await. If your passion is bowling there’s even a bowling alley! Professional shoppers beware as you head off to Tanger Outlets at Westgate or the unique, themed shops at Crystal Lagoon.

Just imagine! When Glendale hosts the Super Bowl in January of 2023, a couple or family can stay at one of the dozen hotels (nearly 2,000 suites available) and be within walking distance of all that I have mentioned above.

I hope I have been able to convey the magnitude of Crystal Lagoon Island Resort and its impact on Glendale with expected visitors of 5,000 to 6,000 a day. It is significant and truly incredible!

So, David Liebowitz…go pound sand…at Crystal Lagoon Island Resort. It’s coming despite your negativism and disbelief.

© 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.

You may have noted that at council voting meetings I often vote ‘no’ on a majority of city contracts. It is not on a whim but rather on principal. Contracts are legally binding documents. They are for goods or services specifying details and with a mutually agreed price. For instance, if you agree to buy 100 widgets at fifty cents each the supplier must provide that count of items at that price.

If the price of widgets goes up that is unfortunate for the supplier for it still must provide you your widgets at the contracted price. I suppose the supplier could renege on the contract but that would be a breach of the contract for which the supplier could be civilly sued. Or the supplier could come back to you and tell you its cost of widgets has gone up and it would like to renegotiate the contract. At that point you have the option of mutually voiding the contract or paying the new price.

That’s not quite how it works with governmental contracts. One can assume that since the contractor knows its bidding on government work, the price is already higher than the private sector would pay. A number of times the city has chosen to work with a private sector company to bid on and manage a project because the cost will come in lower if the job is done through the private sector. It happens all the time.

A majority of governmental contracts are for 5 years or more. Here are some recent examples:

  • “…for an initial term of one (1) year and to renew the agreement, at the City Manager’s discretion, for an additional four (4) one-year terms…”
  • “…and to authorize the City Manager, at the City Manager’s discretion, to renew the agreement for four (4) one-year terms not to extend beyond October 1, 2025.  The initial term of this agreement is from the date Council approves the agreement through October 1, 2021.”
  • “…and to authorize the City Manager to renew the agreement, at the City Manager’s discretion, for an additional five (5) years, renewable on an annual basis…”
  • “…and authorize the City Manager to renew the agreement, at his discretion, for an additional four (4) one-year renewals…”

Councilmembers have 4 year terms, not 5 year terms. Any councilmember may or may not be reelected. If an official is not reelected someone new with no history of a particular contract will be asked to approve or disapprove its renewal beyond 4 years. It becomes very difficult to provide a continuum of accountability to a councilmember when that contract becomes renewable.

Often during the term of the contract, council will be asked to approve or disapprove an amendment to a contract that usually involves a price hike in the contract. The contractor, knowing that it has a 5 year contract, will ask for greater compensation as a result of increased costs for the product or services. If a governmental agency, such as the city, has a justified reason to comply with the increased cost by showing that it is still a competitive price, council does not receive that information. Rarely, if ever, is an increase in price ever denied.

A better practice would be to disallow 5 year or longer contracts and instead to adopt a policy of using 3 year contracts or when a price increase is requested it automatically moves to an open rebidding process. In either case it motivates the contractor to bid at current fair market value.

As we all know the economy can fluctuate wildly in a 3 year period. Who could have predicted 3 years ago that the cost of lumber would triple? By rebidding contracts every 3 years it is always possible that the cost will go up but the same possibility of a price reduction is also valid. The ultimate goal is to ensure that whatever price is paid by a governmental agency for goods and services reflects fair market value.

© 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.

I haven’t written a blog in quite some time but I have a good excuse. The city council has just gone through its budget season which consumed our lives. In an effort to “do my homework” I have spent countless hours studying hundreds of pages of budget material. In addition to creating city policy the annual budget is the most important council activity.

Money is the life’s blood of our lives. If we have enough, we’re comfortable. If we don’t have enough, we’re miserable. Money is the life’s blood of all governments, from local to federal. Who ever directs its spending has the power.

The Glendale City Council has had 9 meetings since January building its annual budget.  For Fiscal Year 21-22 Glendale’s total budget is $1.242 billion dollars. It breaks down as follows:

  • An operating budget of $730 million dollars or 59% of the total budget. The police and fire budgets consume most of the operating budget coming in at 66%. This budget convers all employee salaries and benefits, all supplies, and all usual day to day equipment (such as computers and phones) and all minor purchases and contracts needed to operate (such as building cleaning services). In addition to employee salaries and benefits and public safety it convers such services as community services and transportation.
  • Our capital improvement budget totals $280 million dollars or 28%. This budget is used to construct new amenities such as Heroes Park Lake and the O’Neil Splash Pad and to repair and maintain all sorts of things such as a fire station, a park irrigation system, the adult center entry way or repainting Sahuaro Ranch fencing. It covers items such as streets, the airport and transit.
  • The contingency budget is $139 million dollars or 11%. Our contingency funds are just that. For example, the council approves a construction project that totals $500,000 but it turns out that lumber prices have tripled. Yet the council approved allocation is that $500,000. Contingency can be used to cover the costs associated with the rising and unexpected costs of materials.
  • The debt budget is $93 million dollars or 7%. It not only convers the debt on the arena and spring training facility but debt arising from the capital improvement program.

Some of the departmental highlights within this year’s budget include:

  • Community Services will continue to provide pass through services for the distribution of federal Covid funding for emergency rental and utility services.
  • Development Services will see the addition of 3 new inspectors to handle the tremendous amount of new construction we see at the Loop 303 and elsewhere throughout the city.
  • The Fire Department will add a second federally granted funded Medical Response Unit and will get new and replacement turnout gear.
  • The Police Department will provide cell phones for all sworn personnel and institute a drone program as a tool to combat crimes in progress.
  • The Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events Department will see Heroes Lake constructed this year in addition to upgrades to 3 community centers and Foothills Recreation and Aquatics Center along with park restroom replacements and the addition of a mid-city splash pad.
  • The Facilities Department will oversee City Court, Glendale’s Operations Campus, and amphitheater renovations.

There are two fiscal issues that should be noted. The Arizona Legislature will likely pass a presumptive fire fighter cancer bill. This means all fire fighter cancer claims will be automatically presumed to have occurred while being on the job. Previously a fire fighter had to provide proof that the cancer was the direct result of working as a fire fighter. Now, cities will have to prove that the cancer did not occur because of that work. In other words, all fire fighters’ cancers will have to be covered by cities. This new fiscal burden will add millions of dollars of liability to each and every city in the state.

Another legislative bill under consideration is the reduction of state shared income tax paid to all cities and will be a substantial hit. This will reduce the amount of state shared revenue received by every city in the state. So, at a time when the legislature is adding another fiscal liability by requiring all cities to cover all fire fighter cancers it is also reducing the amount of money received by reducing the income tax payments it shares with all cities. Don’t be surprised if some small cities and towns find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. These legislative mandates are unsustainable.

The good news is the Glendale city council has achieved a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 21-22 which begins on July 1, 2021. There are many elements within it that will upgrade all of Glendale and add amenities unable to be achieved due to the past recession. You will see parks that look and feel better. You will see roads that continue to receive pavement management or reconstruction of major arterial streets. You will see the city continue to assist those in need because of Covid. You will see neglected city facilities receiving long overdue repairs and upgrades. You will see a better Glendale.

© 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.

On March 16th, Brian Friedman, Glendale Economic Development Director, and Tony Lydon, National Director of Jll, Inc., offered a virtual WestMarc presentation on the state of economic development in Glendale. Here is the link: https://www.westmarc.org/city-of-glendale/ .

There were several important ‘take aways‘ presented to viewers. One concept was there are 3 major skylines in the Valley – Phoenix, Tempe and now, Glendale. Elliot Pollack said 15 years ago that Glendale would become the geographic center of the Valley. Not only is that happening but it is growing into a major economic presence within the Valley. Much of the material Brian and Tony presented prove it.

Did you know that when Glendale hosts the Super Bowl in 2023, there will be a dozen hotels in the Westgate/Zanjero area offering over 2,000 rooms? There are already 50 restaurants in the Westgate/Zanjero area, and more are coming. In addition, the Crystal Lagoon project will offer an additional 3 hotels with another estimated 600 rooms. Add the stadium and the arena along with AMC Theater, TopGolf and a future indoor shooting range. Shopping preferences are offered from Cabela’s to Tanger Outlets to small boutique shops.

Another ‘take away’ was the abundance of the work force. The West Valley now has a population of 1.7 million and as new, affordable residential communities spring up more people arrive every day. Many of the new residents are highly technically trained and as the new breed of manufacturing and distribution centers come online these are exactly the work force being hired.

A third ‘take away’ is new infrastructure that attracts major industrial/manufacturing/commercial users. Through significant partnerships water and sewer is becoming abundant in the area of the Loop 303, necessities for large users. Transportation corridors are in place from Northern Parkway (which will connect with the Loop 101 by 2026), the Loop 303 and the Loop 101. All provide easy and fast access to the I-10 and the I-17, interstate highways. There is also a railroad spur that serves large manufacturers like White Claw and Red Bull.

Here is a recap of the 11 commercial projects in the Yucca district either approved, under construction or completed:

  • Westgate district shops, 9405 W. Glendale Avenue
  • EOS Fitness, 5070 N. 83rd Avenue
  • En Fuego at Westgate, northeast corner of Glendale Avenue and Zanjero Blvd.
  • Fox Aviation Hangar 6781 N. Glen Harbor Blvd.
  • Glendale Avenue Storage, 10911 W. Glenn Drive
  • Great Lawn Pavilion, 9600 W. Sportsman Park
  • Starbucks Coffee Shop, 91st Avenue and Glendale Avenue
  • Westgate Tesla Service Facility, 9245 W. Glendale Avenue
  • Jack in the Box, 9152 W. Glendale Avenue
  • Westgate Medical Office, 9950 W. Glendale Avenue
  • Holiday Inn, 6151 N. 99th Avenue

Here are the 12 industrial projects in the Yucca district either approved, under construction or completed:

  • T2/Red Bull expansion, 10501 N. Reems Road
  • Polar Bear-White Claw expansion, 9601 N. Reems Road
  • Park 303, Buildings A and B, 6620 N. Sarival Road
  • Ball expansion, 15101 W. Peoria Avenue
  • Barclay 303 Logistics Center, 16801 W. Glendale Avenue
  • G303, 6605 N. Sarival Avenue
  • RBNA, 10001 N. Reems Road
  • 303 Project, Sarival Avenue and W. Maryland Avenue
  • Bethany Business Park, Cotton Road and W. Bethany Home Road
  • Commerce 303, 15600 W. Camelback Road
  • The Cubes at Glendale, Reems Road and Orangewood Avenue
  • 303 Commerce Center, N. Cotton Lane

Here is one miscellaneous project in the Yucca district, ether approved, under construction or completed:

  • Zanjero Sante Assisted Living, 7410 N. Zanjero Blvd.

Here are the 7 multi-family projects in the Yucca district, either approved, under construction or completed:

  • Bungalows at Westgate, 7403 N. 91st Avenue
  • Bethany Crossing, 6253 N. 69th Avenue
  • Cardinals 95, 9600 W. Georgia Avenue
  • Zanjero II, 7200 N. 91st Avenue
  • Acero at the Stadium, 5550 N. 95th Avenue
  • Mera Westgate, 7460 N. Zanjero Blvd.
  • Glen 91, N. 89th Avenue and W. Glendale Avenue

Here are the 8 residential subdivisions in the Yucca district, either approved, under construction or completed:

  • Olive Grove, 71st Avenue and Olive Avenue
  • Orangewood Ranch, 7606 N. 83rd Avenue
  • El Prado, N. 80th Avenue and W. Camelback Road
  • Stonehaven, Phase I, Parcels 2-8 and 13A and 14, 9050 W. Camelback Road
  • Cadence at Westgate, 89th Avenue and W. Glendale Avenue
  • Jaafar Estates, 7111 N. 83rd Avenue
  • Orangewood Terrace, 8079 W. Orangewood Avenue
  • Rovey Park, 8806 W. Emil Rovey Parkway

This is a snapshot of the various projects occurring in the Yucca district. I can assure you that there are more projects in the pipeline. I read a statistic about the Yucca district that so impressed me I have never forgotten it. At the last census in 2010, the Yucca district had a population of about 41,000 and was comparable to all the other districts in Glendale. Since 2010, in the past ten years, the population in the Yucca district has doubled. I find that projection to be mind boggling! There is a staff projection (that I think is way off) that anticipates the growth in Glendale of another 40,000 people by 2024. If that is correct (which I doubt) most of that population growth occurred in the Yucca district. It would not surprise me to learn, after the 2020 census figures are available that the Yucca district’s population has doubled to about 75,000 people. It is mandated that each district have approximately equal population to all the other districts. Yucca’s population will be so great that when new district boundaries are adopted, its eastern boundary will move significantly westward. How far westward will depend upon the final growth numbers in this district.

As new commercial, industrial, and residential projects are approved in the Yucca district I will offer a new list of those projects as warranted. Glendale’s economic development continues to boom but the loudest explosion is in the Yucca district.

© 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.

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       

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