News Ticker

Scottsdale Bond Priorities Emerge at City Hall

Credit: Arianna Grainey/Independent Newsmedia

By Melissa Rosequist for Independent Newsmedia

An outline of marching orders for the 58 approved bond projects is beginning to take shape at City Hall as Scottsdale officials define municipal priorities.

During study session meeting Scottsdale city staff presented a timeline for the projects to be paid for by voter-approved funds. Last November, residents of Scottsdale approved all three bond questions:

  • Question 1: Parks, recreation and senior services: 14 projects, $112.6M;
  • Question 2: Community spaces and infrastructure: 20 projects, $112.3M, and
  • Question 3: Public safety and technology: 24 projects, $94.1M.

Projects that require immediate attention between now and June 30th — the end of the fiscal year — will come to council for approval individually to allow spending to occur, according to City Engineer Dave Lipinski.

The City Council was pleased with the outline for the most part, with a special request to move project 62, building a bridge on Thompson Peak Parkway Bridge over Reata Pass Wash to improve safety, up on the priority list.

Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield voiced a desire to prioritize the senior center expansions and improvements as well. Councilmember Virginia Korte asked about Civic Center Plaza work to accommodate the upcoming 2023 Super Bowl.

The project timeline spanned from fiscal year 2019-20 to fiscal year 2030-31, and was broken up by various criteria including project timing, dependency, spending by year and bond issuance timing, operating impacts and total project funding.

“Another is project dependency — do they have to be delivered in a certain order? We can’t go in and do all of this downtown streetscape projects at once. We would shut down the downtown, and that would not be good,” Lipinski said of the proverbial game of Tetris played at City Hall to determine the order of bond projects over the next decade.

Lipinski says by working with all city departments and the city treasurer’s office, Scottsdale laid out a fairly aggressive plan to ensure secondary property tax values were not increased through the issuance of bond debt.

“What we’re presenting is more project starting time frames, not necessary completion dates because they tend to bleed over when we start getting into robust public input — that takes time,” he said. “We have to take the time to schedule those meetings, take that feedback, make sure our residents are in town when we are having those meetings and really take that into consideration. Some are very straight forward, and some obviously will take a while to get delivered.”

Projects

Initial projects set to come before council as standalone projects for approval this fiscal year (include):

  • Replace tennis court surface at Indian School Park and Scottsdale Tennis Center;
  • Build multi-use sport fields in the area of Bell Road;
  • Replace aging infrastructure and improve public and event spaces on Civic Center Plaza, and
  • Install fiber optic infrastructure to reduce operating costs.

Next fiscal year, there are 24 projects identified.

Council Priorities

During Lipinski’s presentation, he mentioned that the entire Civic Center Plaza renovations would not realistically be completed in time for the 2023 Super Bowl. Councilmember Virginia Korte said that comment concerned her.

“That’s concerning to me, very concerning. You look at your timeline, and I know we were working on it last year, the design. Though that civic plaza is going to be critical to us if we’re going to attract any of the events around Super Bowl and bring them into our city,” Korte said. “If that’s not complete then we’re not going to be able to attract and be a part of that game.”

Lipinski says the city and the Super Bowl Committee are working together to see what the right improvements are.

Lipinski says the reality of completing the entire plan for the Civic Center Plaza, within the limited construction window between now and then would be “awfully tight, if not impossible” without disrupting a lot of the city’s event seasons between now and then.

Read more at Independent Newsmedia.

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