Scottsdale’s New Spending Plan: What’s In It, What’s Not

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The City of Scottsdale recently released their spending plan, a robust $2.1 billion plan that partly came about as a result of unexpectedly strong revenue. Sales tax revenue is at $46.4 million above what was budgeted for the last two years COMBINED, according to City Treasurer Sonia Andrews, a strong indicator of the major bounceback that we’ve had in tourism, be it international, national and  domestic. .This loaded budget will be setting the path for the investments of the 2022-23 fiscal year and will tell us plenty about priorities for the city. So what does it say?

For starters, it involves a pay raise as well as an increase in the number of city employees, which is certainly a positive and necessary development in the face of significant inflation. It also broaches numerous subjects that we’ve spoken about, such as costs to counter the water crisis, as well as costs to cover the new STR unit at the SPD.

Along with those, inflation is mentioned a few times as expectations and allowances for it within the supply chain played a prominent role; apparently it’s not just a concern for the rest of us. Additionally, a number of city-building renovations and city-centric projects have the funding to move forward. Surely some of them were cleaved off of previous leaner budgets and the significant surplus gives an opportunity to come back to them.

That said, with such a major surplus, there was also an opportunity to incentivize new growth within the area,. Additionally, there was an opportunity to address the rent crisis. Specifically, we would have loved to see incentives for building more and for making apartments more affordable, perhaps with tax credits to balance out below-market rent. This was an opportunity to address a real problem, and perhaps it was a missed opportunity.

Along with it came a vote on the Transportation plan, flying under the radar as the budget took much of the attention away even as it has been well funded by recent minute sales taxes dedicated to transportation upgrades. Kathy Littlefield was the sole dissenting voice: her point about making life more difficult for drivers to the benefit of bikers may not be far off and something that we’ve heard from others before, sometimes it does seem like she lives to be the sole dissenting vote. .

So in summary, the city is in an excellent financial state, for which we should be glad. We do wish the city would see this as an opportunity to address some pressing issues, but if we have this to complain about as opposed to crippling deficits or taxes, we’re not doing too badly.