By Sasha Weller —
The Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association’s support for Scottsdale’s $319 million bond package is based on far more than the much needed items that directly address public safety. That’s because most if not all of the spending plan will benefit public safety either directly or indirectly. And that’s why I am voting yes in November and it’s why the Association was an early endorser and financial supporter.
Question 3 allocates $94 million to build and upgrade police and fire stations and training facilities. It modernizes resources and equipment. It gives first responders the tools we need to keep our city safe. The public safety benefits are obvious.
I would argue Questions 1 and 2 also benefit public safety, significantly. For example, needed upgrades to the WestWorld city facility as well as Improving the streets and roads in and around it ensures its ability to serve as a signature facility attracting events and tourists from all over the country.
This keeps Scottsdale on the map as a premier tourist destination and strengthens a reliable revenue stream that funds the everyday needs of police and fire, as well as other critical programs, services, and facilities in the city. Our tourism revenue stream pays salaries. It covers routine costs. What good is a new fire station if there is nobody there to staff it? Events at WestWorld contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity to Scottsdale. Updating basic items like bathrooms, parking and the like isn’t just long overdue, it’s good for business.
We also ensure the health of tourism dollars when we improve infrastructure in downtown Scottsdale. Improved parking, enhancing performing arts centers, and facilitating walkability all contribute to ensuring that Downtown Scottsdale is the tourism and resident magnet and revenue generator that is the envy of the Valley.
The proposed improvements to senior centers will help foster a healthier senior citizen population. And the improvements to roads and walkways in northern and southern Scottsdale will make our streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. Numerous improved street light projects will do more towards that end. This is especially important as the city strives to encourage walkability downtown and in our neighborhoods.
This bond package works because its benefits have a ripple effect, positively impacting our city’s residents on multiple levels. And because our Mayor and City Council, unanimously, was conservative with this package’s projects taxes will actually still go down even if we vote all three Questions up. That’s because financing for Scottsdale’s last major program in 2000 is ending. This new bond package represents smart spending that improves the quality of life for ALL of Scottsdale’s residents. It’s why the Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association supports this plan. I hope you will as well. Please vote yes on Questions 1, 2, and 3 in November.
Sasha Weller is president of the Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association.