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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.

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.

Just as in years past, I like other Glendale councilmembers, received numerous complaints about the use of fireworks. Only this year the number of complaints seems to have grown exponentially. One Yucca district complainant said that upon calling the Glendale Police Department to make a fireworks complaint, it was said by dispatch that over 300 complaints had been received in Glendale. This week I will ask Glendale personnel for the final total number of complaints received and what disposition they received.

What can be done to stop an activity which has gotten out of hand, is being abused and appears to be unenforceable? Currently, not much. The state legislature has taken control of the fireworks law and allows cities extraordinarily little authority to control the activity. Here is the link to the full text of the state statute: ARS statute Fireworks

This portion of the law makes very clear that the state has usurped cities’ ability to regulate fireworks by saying,  36-1606. Consumer fireworks regulation; state preemption; further regulation of fireworks by local jurisdiction, “A. The sale and use of permissible consumer fireworks are of statewide concern. The regulation of permissible consumer fireworks pursuant to this article and their sale or use is not subject to further regulation by a governing body, except as follows:

(c) Prohibit the use of permissible consumer fireworks on days other than May 4 through May 6, June 24 through July 6 and December 24 through January 3 of each year and the second and third days of Diwali of each year.” It seems it is legal to use fireworks on:

  • May 4th through May 6th , Cinco de Mayo, a period of 3 days
  • June 24th through July 6th, Independence Day, a period of 13 days
  • December 24th though January 3rd, New Year’s Day, a period of 11 days
  • 2nd and 3rd days of Diwali of each year. Diwaliis India’s most important holiday—and a celebration of good over evil. This five-day festival of lights is observed by more than a billion people across faiths and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November). A period of 2 days.

Have you noticed the inconsistency in the number of days allowed per event? Everything from 2 days for Diwali to 13 days to celebrate the 4th of July, Independence Day. I would suggest that the state law be consistent for all recognized events allowing fireworks on May 4th and 5th for Cinco de Mayo; July 3rd and 4th for Independence Day; December 30th and 31st for New Year’s; and the 2nd and 3rd days of Diwali.

We know aerial fireworks are illegal per state statute: “(c) Does not include anything that is designed or intended to rise into the air and explode or to detonate in the air or to fly above the ground, including firework items defined by the APA 87-1 and known as firecrackers, bottle rockets, sky rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, torpedoes, roman candles, mine devices, shell devices and aerial shell kits or reloadable tubes.”

We know what permissible fireworks are: “7. (i) Ground and handheld sparkling devices; (ii) Cylindrical fountains; (iii) Cone fountains; (iv) Illuminating torches; (v) Wheels; (vi) Ground spinners; (vii) Flitter sparklers; (viii) Toy smoke devices; (ix) Wire sparklers or dipped sticks; (x) Multiple tube ground and handheld sparkling devices, cylindrical fountains, cone fountains and illuminating torches manufactured in accordance with section 3.5 of the APA 87-1 and

(c) Does not include anything that is designed or intended to rise into the air and explode or to detonate in the air or to fly above the ground, including firework items defined by the APA 87-1 and known as firecrackers, bottle rockets, sky rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, torpedoes, roman candles, mine devices, shell devices and aerial shell kits or reloadable tubes.”

The use of illegal fireworks is almost impossible to enforce without allowing police departments the use of new tools such as drones. A drone can provide factual evidence that should be allowed as meaningful evidence in a court of law.

State statute clearly says, “…their sale or use is not subject to further regulation by a governing body,…” That leaves only one option, that cities and citizens lobby the state legislature to amend the current law. Since cities cannot further regulate the use of fireworks complaints to elected officials are often wasted. If truth be told, most elected officials view the use of fireworks exactly the same way you do.

The only way to achieve some meaningful results would be to ask elected officials from all Valley cities to join their efforts into one coalition to lobby the state legislature for amendments to the existing law. Those amendments could include limiting the number of days for each event to two days; prohibiting their use after midnight; and granting police departments the ability to use drones with drone photograph captures as being recognized as admissible evidence in a court of law. 

© 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 first began this blog in the spring of 2013. Since its inception I have written 860 posts centered on issues related to Glendale, from ‘hot button’ topics like the current Glen Lakes issue to past issues including chickens! I have received nearly 3,000 reader comments. My subscribers span the globe from Zimbabwe to China to Kuwait.

I want to thank all of my subscribers for following me these many years! It makes the effort worthwhile. I intend to continue to offer my perspective on Glendale issues until I can no longer see or write. Sometimes you may agree with my take and sometimes I am sure I have angered others. That’s great because it highlights an issue, makes the reader think and hopefully offers a forum to weigh in with your opinion on the topic.

Again, thank you…

Number of reads as of October 24, 2020

© 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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