Friday, March 29, 2013

Public Policy Update

City of Scottsdale’s Public Policy Department

Scottsdale Bond 2013
There is never a dull moment in Scottsdale, and the City Council almost put a new Scottsdale Bond proposal on the November 2013 ballot. Made up of necessary infrastructure improvements that help keep our city safe and up to date, the 2013 bond program will ask voters to approve roughly $212 million in projects, assuming final ratification by the Council on April 9.

The Chamber ran the last major bond campaign, Bond 2000, which provided $360 million toward significant improvements to Scottsdale’s infrastructure, parks and public safety. Now the City is ready to come to the voters again, this time with a more modest approach, vetted by a citizen committee who devoted 900 hours to the winnowing of projects down to the essential needs.

History tells us that in the absence of a campaign to support a bond program the voters rarely approve. A political committee has been formed called Preserve Scottsdale’s Future in which the Chamber is taking an active role. This will be an expensive campaign, and we urge members who care deeply about our city’s aging infrastructure to support the committee. Wayne Ecton, former Councilman, will chair the committee and Chamber Board Member Mark Eberle will be the campaign treasurer.

The bond package will be divided into four questions: Parks and Recreation, Public safety, Flood Control and Transportation and Streets. Each question has nearly 10 projects, each of which is essential to maintaining the city’s infrastructure. There is nothing sexy about this package, and it is all needs.

Much more on this topic later…

Visit from Councilman Littlefield

 Councilman Bob Littlefield was the guest speaker at the March PPAC meeting. A frequent critic of the Chamber, the councilman offered his perspective on what change means in Scottsdale, indicating that he would vote against any project which he felt demeaned the character of the city. He spoke of the many projects of which he did approve, including the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center at WestWorld, the Museum of the West and the increase in the bed tax to support tourism.

Councilman Littlefield also voiced his strong support for economic development that supported tourism in Scottsdale including medical tourism – a growth industry in our city. He believes that development does not pay for itself, and considers himself not anti-growth but anti-residential growth. He would also support an empty lot over what he considered a bad project, when asked about McDowell Rd.

I Scream…You Scream… We All Scream for Ice Cream

Just when you thought that Scottsdale was a model for free enterprise, along comes a young man looking to open a business in Scottsdale – an ice cream truck. A great idea from an enterprising young man? Yes, but not in Scottsdale. In Scottsdale ice cream trucks are not legal.

The young man approached the Mayor who looked at the boy’s dilemma as a challenge and a cause. There will be an attempt at a new ordinance in Scottsdale to allow ice cream trucks. Most of us grew up waiting for the familiar jingle of the ice cream truck, and now we may soon be able to purchase a cool treat on a hot summer day in our own neighborhoods.

Public outreach on this seemingly innocuous topic has produced some strange results, including deep-seeded fears among some quarters that ice cream trucks may be the source of drugs, rape, robberies and accidents. Thankfully, the Scottsdale Parent Council, representing our schools, overwhelmingly supports the idea, but Scottsdale’s ordinance, if successful, will carry with it some of the toughest regulations in the city to help address the concerns of a few who fear the worst.

The Public Policy Advisory Council of the Chamber voted unanimously to support ice cream vending via trucks in our great city.

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