Richardson: The good news going along with the bad in East Valley of late
Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 6:12 am
Commentary by Bill Richardson
Last week there was some good news and some not so good news for East Valley cities.
First, the good news.
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Grand Canyon University officials announced the university would build a new 120-acre campus in Mesa’s fast growing educational and technical corridor. GCU’s new campus will grow to educate 10,000 students.
Mesa currently hosts the Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus and A. T. Stills Medical School in the corridor area. Smith told Fox News GCU will be the sixth new college to call Mesa home, including “five of them this year alone. This is unprecedented.” Mesa is fast becoming a major player in post high school and college level programs that will supply an educated workforce to the valley and state.
Now for the bad news.
While Tempe officials were taking bows and slapping backs at the Marina Heights festivities, it was less ceremoniously announced Tempe’s mayor and city council decided at a council meeting, with restricted public input, to stick Tempe residents, and not developers, with the $37.4 million cost to build a new dam on the west end of the Town Lake. That works out to about $225.00 in dam debt for each of Tempe’s 166,000 residents.
Along with the cost of the dam being dumped on Tempe residents, who are already weary of a steady stream of tax and fee increases, reduced services and higher costs, the mayor and city council, the highest paid in the East Valley, gave a generous incentive package to developers that goes beyond the tens of millions of dollars in dam costs.
According to the Arizona Republic’s July 31 story, “Tempe OKs controversial lake plan”, developers will now pay a lower annual “holding fee” and a lower annual interest rate on their share of lake construction.
Tempe city hall continues to charge residents plenty to do the people’s business.
Once again developers in Tempe get the proverbial gold mine while residents continue to get the shaft from city hall.
Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in the East Valley and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith
Councilmember Dave Richins
Councilmember Alex Finter
Councilmember Dennis Kavanaugh
Councilmember Christopher Glover
Councilmember Dina Higgins
Vice Mayor Scott Somers
Office of the Mayor & Council
City of Mesa
PO Box 1466
Mesa, AZ 85211-1466