Concerns over debt, taxes and road closures

Swanson complained about the street closures and said with streets closed 16 nights in a month they could not make up that loss in revenue
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karen fanCAREFREE – During last week’s town council meeting, Rep. Karen Fann (l), R-Dist. 1, led the town in the Pledge of Allegiance and introduced herself as Carefree’s representative as a result of last year’s redistricting.

She said she represents Prescott and Yavapai County but the redistricting took away Verde Valley and the Grand Canyon in exchange for Anthem, New River, Cave Creek and Carefree.

She briefed council on the last legislative session and said the Medicaid expansion was a “very ugly session.”

As far as the state budget goes, Fann said, “We’ve been very scrupulous about our money,” and stated there was an $895 million surplus, $200 million more than projected.

She said she advocated using the surplus for state shared revenue for cities and towns and for road maintenance.

However, Fann cautioned the state still has $4 billion in debt at which it has to chisel away.

Regarding the recent Arizona Supreme Court ruling regarding Proposition 301 that requires the state to provide K-3 education automatic cost of living increases which is compounded each year, Fann said, “That’s going to be an issue."

Fann told council she fought against consolidated elections and said she didn’t see why small cities and towns should be precluded from holding spring elections if that’s what they wanted. 

What she considered exciting news was Mexico’s interest in building a deep sea port on the Pacific side of Baja, which would make Yuma a distribution center for the port.

Fann said China wants coal, Arizona has coal and this would be a means of being able to ship coal to China.

al hollerAl Holler (r), recently contracted as the town’s tax auditor and consultant, explained the difference between sales tax and use tax.

He told council because the town doesn’t have a use tax, it might be missing out on $100,000 or more in revenue annually.

However, Holler was only there to do a presentation and the subject of imposing a use tax wasn’t on the agenda so it couldn’t be discussed.

With Vice Mayor Les Peterson absent, council voted unanimously to approve special event permit applications and street closures for Magic Bird Festivals, LLC for events in January, February and April; as well as for the sixth annual Carefree Christmas Festival with street closures for the parade and fireworks.

Council also approved a special event permit with street closures for the Sonoran Arts League for an art festival in March.

During Call to the Public, Al Swanson spoke on behalf of Venues Café. He told council Carefree Station was closed permanently.

Swanson complained about the street closures and said with streets closed 16 nights in a month they could not make up that loss in revenue.

Mayor David Schwan interrupted to say Carefree Station was only closed temporarily and said he had just spoken with the owner.

Swanson went on to say it was not reasonable to close down the streets and parking, which he said also hindered handicapped access.

“We need some help,” said Swanson, as he told council they hired Carefree Station’s general manager and insisted Carefree Station was not going to reopen.

He said, “We’re the only restaurant open 365 days.”

During Current Events, Councilman John Crane announced Nov. 11 will be the fifth annual Veterans’ Day Event, an event he took over from former Councilman Arthur Gimson.

The Mayor announced a special meeting on Monday, Oct. 7 that would begin with an executive session to discuss entering into an intergovernmental agreement with the town of Cave Creek for court consolidation.

Council unanimously approved a general plan amendment and rezoning of approximately 50 acres of land located at the northern town limits to open space.

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