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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news October 13, 2015

2/7/2013 3:41:00 PM
Voters to decide permanent base adjustment to city spending

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

In the May 21 General Election, Cottonwood voters will be deciding a question that would allow the city to have better control of its budget, including more spending power.

City Administrative Services Manager Rudy Rodriguez explained that instead of approving the Alternative Expenditure Limitation (or Home Rule) this year, the city will ask voters to approve a Permanent Base Adjustment.

Approval of a permanent base adjustment allows a city or town to permanently changes its base limit with voter approval at a regularly scheduled general election.

As part of a constitutionally mandated Arizona tax limiting formula, first patterned after California's Proposition-13 (officially named the People's Initiative to Limit Property Tax, approved in 1978), establishes how much each Arizona city or town may spend in the coming year based on a percentage of population change and cost of living.

It is essentially governed by the base revenues of the community in the 1979-1980 fiscal year. The base limit is a key number in that formula.

Rodriguez says the base limit was established at 1 million back in that 'base' year, but Cottonwood has grown substantially since then, providing many more services today. Since 1979, Cottonwood has built and operates a wastewater system. It has also acquired four formerly-private water companies and now provides citizens water utility needs plus constructing and operating a recreation center and other services.

The adjustment will be used to calculate the constitutional expenditure limitation beginning with the fiscal year immediately following the fiscal year that the permanent base adjustment is approved. Permanent base adjustments apply to all future years; however, additional adjustments may be adopted.

The Cottonwood question posed by the ballot measure reads: "Shall the expenditure base of the City of Cottonwood be permanently adjusted by $5,894,399?"

Cottonwood City Clerk Marianne Jiménez reminds citizen of the Feb. 20 deadline to file arguments in favor or against the proposal to be printed in the public pamphlet for the election. In order to qualify to vote in the election, a citizen must be registered by April 22, 2013.

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013
Article comment by: @ cottonwood should... .

your comment about the upcoming election is interesting but turn that on it's ear... lets see who is willing to tell the voters what they want to hear just to get elected rather than take a not so popular yet realistic position on the issues.

put away the pitch forks and torches... open up an internet browser and do your research on past votes and positions... etc... rather than trying to incite riots in the streets, so to speak...

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013
Article comment by: Cottonwood should reduce sales taxes

Vote no on this. I agree with the comment about more checks and balances needed in Cottonwood.

Here's why. This city is sitting on close to $35 million in excess "cash and investments" according to its 2012 financial report. This is in addition to the close to million dollars it takes in every month in various sales taxes, fees, and shared revenues.

For a town of about 11,000 people, this extra cash is beyond excessive. It amounts to about $3,200 for every man, woman and child in this city.

How much of your money do they need, really? How much is too much?

This is why they can drop $8 million, $10 million, even $15 million of your hard earned dollars on an extravagant and unnecessary sewer treatment plant in a flood zone at Riverfront Park and not bat an eyelash.

Just think if Cottonwood rebated only 6% of their stash back to the people. That would be about $200 per person. So if you have a family of 4, you'd get a check for about $800. And the city would still have about 94% of its cash reserves to play with on top of the million they have coming in every month.

Not a chance in the world of that happening? Then the city should reduce its sales taxes back to where it was before the recession.

In 2008 Cottonwood hit us with a 36% increase in the rate of sales tax, from 2.2 to 3.0%.

The justification at the time was revenue was down due to the recession. Now that revenue has recovered, the city should reduce its sales tax rate back to 2.2%.

There is no good reason not to. Population growth has been stagnant. No annexations on the horizon. And as population grows in the future, so should sales taxes. The only reason to continue this 3% rate now is to expand and grow city government beyond what's necessary.

There's an election coming up. Let's see if any candidates pick up on this. Let's see who really represents the people and who just wants to grow the government at the expense of the people.

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013
Article comment by: Say, What?

"...expenditure base..."

What is "expenditure base", are there any
limits. can/will this base go down from year to

Private companies give finance report everyear
at years end, Will the city give a years end

Is the city involved with any unconstitutional
activity (like the dog name one)?
Getting out of these activities...will cut cost for
the city.

Is the ciry still allowing itself to follow very tight
regulations (like the arsenc low level) where the
regulator seems to supply no proven health
effect/affect existance or improvement....the only
fact supplied by the regulator is we can measure
down to the low levels. Moving away from regs
that are un-proven, or un-needed will cut costs
to the city?

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013
Article comment by: Michael May

It is absolutely amazing to me how much of a cheerleader this newspaper is in regard government matters. Lets set a few things strait. The City of cottonwood does not provide services to anyone without taking a substantial amount of money out of their pockets. The water utilities for example, is a utility that the citizens pay for every month. The recreation center in a business that the people who use it pay for.

Every time the Government wants to spend taxpayer money it should be voter approved by the majority. Look at the round about project at Mingus and Willard, did that project change the amount of traffic using the intersection? Seems the same now as it was before. And a stop sign doesn't cost the taxpayer millions. Most Cottonwood residents that I talk to would agree that we have an over-abundance of city employees, specifically law enforcement, but that assessment is relevant to all areas of city government.

I always see this paper publishing the view of the local government, but where are the views of the citizens in the Verde Valley represented?

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013
Article comment by: @ 'transparency'...oops...see the link... ^) .

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013
Article comment by: @ 'transparency' .

please be aware that if this were not to pass and the home rule option was not approved then in fact the money would still come out of 'your pockets'..and would be sitting in a bank not paying for all the stuff that folks tend to enjoy in a fire departments, police, streets, rec. centers, water and sewers, libraries, etc... and so on...

the current rate was set in 1979... and while many might like to return to those wistful old days... the reality is that it would not be long before there was something you missed... see the list above...

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013
Article comment by: Need more transparency

Vote no on this unless and until the city comes clean with all the various excess reserve funds it has socked away in various accounts. Particularly in the utilities division.

Some say these excess reserves are in the tens of millions, way over the top for a town this size. This money belongs to the people.

Should your money be sitting in Cottonwoods bank accounts where some bureaucrat decides how to spend it, or would you rather your money be in your pocket?

When we see the mayor drive home in a city car at taxpayer expense we wonder. Maybe there should be more checks and balances in this town, not less.

Lets see a full and clear accounting of all the city\'s money published in this newspaper with no tricks and make it easily understandable to the average citizen.

Then we will decide how to vote.

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

$5,894,399? Just say no.Just trying to put it on
the public so you'll be the fall guy.

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