BY THOMAS MCGUIRE | APRIL 17, 2013
Cave Creek now and into the future
Thank you for all of the positive comments about my decade of service to Cave Creek. During my three terms on the town council I have played an important role in positioning Cave Creek for a bright future.
Property Tax: The only property tax in Cave Creek, overwhelmingly approved by the voters in 2000 to pay the Cave Creek portion of the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, ended in 2012. When the question of a community contract with Rural/Metro came to the voters last year, the citizens voted 2:1 against a property tax.
I do not support a property tax for Cave Creek. Walmart and carefully planned commercial development along Carefree Highway will produce sufficient sales tax revenue to enable town government to function without a property tax. Keeping town government small and efficient will also be very important. Staffing has been reduced by more than 25 percent.
Cave Creek Water Company: Cave Creek used a private water company until it was purchased by the town in 2007. The infrastructure of the water company had not been properly maintained and upgraded; water shortages occurred. Businesses had to truck in water and some residents had interrupted water service. Water rates were low because investments in the infrastructure were not being made.
The town has now replaced pumps, other equipment and constructed two large, modern water storage tanks. Shortages are a thing of the past. Upgrade of aging water pipes, especially along the west side of Black Mountain, has been ongoing. The 2008 recession caused development fees to drop dramatically, necessitating a water rater increase. However, Cave Creek water rates are now comparable to nearby communities – about the same as water rates in Carefree and 25 percent lower than Anthem.
Wastewater Treatment: The wastewater treatment plant constructed near Rancho Mañana in the 1990s was not large enough to meet today’s needs, nor upgradable. Although local businesses were required to install grease traps, the old plant exceeded capacity, requiring a new facility.
With my support, the town built a new “water ranch” along Carefree Highway. This facility will allow commercial development (more sales tax revenue!) near Carefree Highway and it can be readily expanded to meet future needs. It is also less costly to operate.
The water systems including their assured water supplies and the wastewater treatment plant are vital to the health safety and welfare of the citizens of Cave Creek. They are town assets that add to our property values and will contribute to expansion of the town’s revenue base, eliminating the need for a property tax.
Debt: Cave Creek was able to obtain low-interest loans from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority and $2 million in federal stimulus grants to cover the cost of needed infrastructure improvements. Repayment of the outstanding $60 million is well under control. Council will consider reducing local sales tax and water rates when the current town reserve funds, already $4.6 million, reaches $5.4 million by the end of next year.
Financial Transparency: I listen to Cave Creek citizens. As a result, a new town finance reporting procedure is now in place. The town web site (cavecreek.org) provides up-to-date financial information. You are encouraged to access this public information at any time.
A very important part of financial planning is the annual budget which runs from July through June. The budget is developed in a cooperative process among staff and community volunteers. The budget is discussed in detail in a series of council meetings open to the public. Only then, in open council meeting, is the revised budget voted on by council.
Planning: Every community in Arizona is required to produce and publish a General Plan. Cave Creek also has a Town Core Plan and an Open Space Master Plan. I have been intimately involved in the process whereby these documents are created with the guidance of public input.
They are revised and voted by both the planning commission and town council in public meetings. These documents are available at the town website cavecreek.org. Their purpose is to guide growth in Cave Creek.
I do not support, and I have never supported, up-zoning residential areas outside the vicinity of the Cave Creek Road-Carefree Highway intersection. Cave Creek residents do not want rezoning in other residential areas; nor do I.
My experience dealing with these issues make me the single most valuable candidate for town council. None of my opponents have demonstrated TOWN COUNCIL experience in management and planning for the future of Cave Creek. Make your sole vote for me, Tom McGuire, count for leadership and integrity.