Guest Editorial


ernie bunchStart adding up these numbers

On Jan. 31, I followed my heart and principles. I voted against sending a property tax to the ballot for you the voters to decide.

For three campaigns and now a fourth I have repeatedly stated I would never support any property tax.

When your elected officials support a measure such as this it is easy to read into it, their support of the idea.

Maybe folks who haven't been here that long believe that it's a good idea.

Getting a property tax to pay for fire coverage in most communities would probably be a very good idea. But there were other issues with this proposal.

Cave Creek is a town that solved a problem with sewage treatment by building an odor free plant at Rancho Mañana. Cave Creek eventually had to purchase more land to separate the homeowners from the smell. It would seem that “odor free is in the nose of the beholder."

When this plant became too small to handle the volume (80 percent capacity threshold) we were required by state statute to increase our capacity. So we built a new plant, tore down the old one (which is not yet paid for) and moved on. The voters of Cave Creek passed two bond issues, one for $25 million for sewer, and one for $25 million for the water company.
We bought the water company for $22 million or so plus the Desert Hills Water Co. for another $2.5 million. You were told your water rates would not go up and, if so, not by a substantial amount. Did that hold true?

We also needed more water storage so we built two storage tanks. We now have a much better storage capacity for when the C.A.P. supply line has problems. Oh yeah, and in the course of building these tanks we had to spend another $1 million to purchase adjacent land on one of the sites because our tank was bigger than our property. Good planning? The tanks cost us in excess of another $10 million.

The previously mentioned Sewage Treatment plant on Carefree Highway is in the range of $22 million also (change orders brought it closer to $27 million). Start adding up these numbers. In fairness we now have a more reliable water company but it still needs more upgrading.

Now we tell you that Rural/Metro Fire Department will supply fire coverage for $1.3 million per year. This number was based on the amount Carefree is paying. Carefree is about 8 square miles while Cave Creek is in the vicinity of 32. There was no contract shown to insure that $1.3 million was an accepted number by Rural/Metro. The Fire Committee report stated that we would need another fire station on the west side of town. (The same report recommending a property tax.) So would that be another $1.3 million for staffing? And how about the equipment and a new building? Where would the money come from for these expenditures?

We are not the Federal Government and can't just turn up the speed on the printing presses. We are a town of 5,000 who is in very deep debt.

When I moved my family to Cave Creek we knew that fire coverage was by subscription, so I've been paying it for 11 years now.

I do not for one minute believe that $1.3 million dollars would be the total cost of fire coverage for Cave Creek. More money would have to come from somewhere. Absent a magic lamp this whole concept was a terrible idea.

You, the voters of Cave Creek, were protected from the local "spin machine" by Councilmen Esser, Mozilo, Trenk, and myself.

Having shared a little history with you, let me now state plainly and clearly: Government at any level can never have enough of your money to satisfy it's appetite for growth. I still will never support a property tax!