Election Q and A
Scottsdale voters will decide five ballot questions at a Nov. 5, 2013 Special Election. Four of the questions relate to a proposed $212.1 million bond program to fund city infrastructure projects. A fifth ballot question asks voters to consider whether a franchise shall be granted to EPCOR Water Arizona Inc. and Chaparral City Water Company to maintain and operate a potable water distribution system in the city.
Get official ballot language and more election information at www.ScottsdaleAz.gov/elections
- What are bonds?
Bonds are a method used by cities to finance major capital projects. They work similar to your home mortgage, through which you finance a large purchase over time. Individuals, insurance companies, pension plans, and other investors purchase the bonds providing the city money to pay for capital projects. The city’s bond debt is repaid through the secondary property tax paid by owners of taxable property in Scottsdale.
- Why is a bond election being held?
The Arizona State Constitution requires approval of voters before issuing general obligation bonds.
- What bond questions will I see on the ballot?
The Nov. 5 special election ballot will contain four bond-specific ballot questions, each representing a different project group. The projects cover a broad range of improvements, including: public safety; parks, libraries and community facilities; transportation, streets and trails; and neighborhood flood control.
- How were these projects selected?
Community members were appointed to the Citizens Bond Task Force by the Mayor and City Council to review, prioritize, suggest and eventually recommend bond projects going before voters. The City Council accepted task force recommendations last April and directed that a city bond election be held in November.
- How are bonds repaid?
General obligation bonds are repaid through the city’s secondary property tax, paid by owners of taxable property in Scottsdale.
- If I vote yes, will my taxes go up?
Yes. If Scottsdale voters approve the entire bond program, an increase will occur to the secondary property tax rate. The estimated average annual tax rate per $100 of secondary assessed valuation is $0.2174. The tax impact over the term of the bonds on an owner-occupied residence valued by the County Assessor at $250,000 is estimated to average $60.86 per year.
- Will bond funds be used for any other projects?
No. Any funding approved in the Nov. 5 special election can only be used on the projects listed in the specific bond question.
- If the bonds are approved, how soon will construction on the projects begin?
The bond projects included in this election are part of the city’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan. A few are ready to begin right away. All of the projects, if approved, are expected to begin within three to five years.
- What will happen if this bond program does not pass?
If the city’s voters reject the bond program, bonds will not be issued for the projects included in the program.
- What is the Capital Improvement Plan?
>The Capital Improvement Plan (or CIP) is a blueprint for the projects the city intends to complete over the next five years. Scottsdale’s current CIP includes hundreds of projects such as street and traffic signal construction; drainage improvements; streets; public safety operations; parks and recreation; and water and wastewater treatment facilities and transmission lines. The bonds allow infrastructure projects that lack other funding sources to be included in the CIP.
- How do bonds affect the Capital Improvement Plan?
Bonds are one source of funding for city construction projects. Projects that lack funding are not included in the CIP.
- What kinds of bond-financed projects has Scottsdale completed in the past?
Scottsdale has used bond-financing to fund many capital projects over its history. Some of those projects include the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt, the Civic Center Mall and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. In September 2000, Scottsdale voters approved a program totaling $358.2 million to pay for projects including the Appaloosa Library, the McDowell Mountain Ranch Park & Aquatic Center and the remodel and expansion of the Vista Del Camino Community Center.
- What else is on the ballot?
The Nov. 5 Special Election ballot also includes a question that asks Scottsdale voters to consider whether a franchise shall be granted to EPCOR Water Arizona Inc. and Chaparral City Water Company to maintain and operate a potable water distribution system in the city of Scottsdale and future additions thereto in accordance with the agreement submitted by the Mayor and City Council to the voters. The system serves about 2,200 customers in Scottsdale.
- What is a franchise agreement?
A franchise agreement allows a utility company (water, gas, electricity, cable, etc.) to use the city’s rights-of-way for their facilities and equipment to provide service to the city’s businesses and citizens. In exchange for use of public rights-of-way, the city may collect a fee from the utility company. The estimated annual revenue to the city resulting from this agreement is less than $50,000.
- Does Scottsdale have franchise agreements with any other utilities?
Yes. Scottsdale voters approved a franchise agreement with Southwest Gas in March of 2012. Scottsdale voters also approved a franchise agreement with Arizona Public Service in November of 2004.
- If I’m a City of Scottsdale water customer, how will I be affected?
There is no expected impact to customers who receive City of Scottsdale water or sewer services if this agreement is approved or denied by voters.
- I’m an EPCOR Water Arizona Inc. or Chaparral City Water Company water customer, how will I be affected?
Under the Arizona Corporation Commission rules, the cost of the franchise fee may be passed on to EPCOR Water Arizona Inc. and Chaparral City Water Company customers if the ballot question is approved by the voters.