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Scottsdale looks to drop tax rate for preservation initiatives

Measure would go before voters this fall

Posted 2/1/24

The city of Scottsdale Protect and Preserve Scottsdale Task Force had a regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 29 at the Via Linda Senior Center about the proposed 0.15% Preserve Sales Tax and ballot …

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Scottsdale looks to drop tax rate for preservation initiatives

Measure would go before voters this fall

Posted

The city of Scottsdale Protect and Preserve Scottsdale Task Force had a regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 29, at the Via Linda Senior Center about the proposed 0.15% Preserve Sales Tax and ballot language considerations about the Preserve Sales Tax so Scottsdale citizens can better understand the measure when voting.

The Scottsdale Protect and Preserve Task Force, which works to protect open spaces in the city, including the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, has proposed a 0.15% sales tax for the November
2024 ballot, lowering the tax from the current 0.20% rate which is due to expire in 2025.

Scottsdale voters approved a 30- year sales tax to support the land acquisition for the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve in 1995. Voters later approved more land purchases, along with approving a 30-year sales tax in 2004.


In an interview, Vice Chair Raoul Zubia of the Protect and Preserve Scottsdale Task Force said the task force's purpose was to decide whether to extend the tax which expires in 2025 and at what rate.

The task force recommended the 0.15% as the best option because it lowered the tax, but continued funding.

Members of the Scottsdale Protect and Preserve Task Force including Chair Cynthia Wenstrom have said they want a dedicated source of funding for the preserve.

“What we want is a standard way to source maintenance of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Up till now, there has not been a dedicated funding source for maintenance, that has been reliant on

the general fund, the general fund is up and down,” said Wenstrom in an interview.

The committee added language to clarify the public safety portion, which is an important factor when it goes on the ballot. The amended language said the tax is “for the expanded purpose of protecting through increased police and fire resources, improving and maintaining the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and city parks and recreational facilities as determined by city ordinance.”

The task force voted to approve the ballot language as amended.

 “But once the ballot language is finalized, individuals and
organizations can start following arguments in favor and against the ballot measure," City Clerk Ben Lane said. "These arguments are printed in the publicity pamphlet…”

“One thing to understand is that this is a sales tax. It's not a property tax. And so what that means is that everybody's paying for it, visitors, spring training, Super Bowl from last year,” said Zubia.

“So we have 12% to 15% of the people outside that pay sales tax are from outside the city. So it's not just the citizens that have to pay for this. It's everybody. So it helps us preserve what we spent over a billion dollars putting together since 1995,” said Zubia.

The task force collaborates and works together with the common goal of improving the city and quality of life for its residents.

The members of the task force represent different areas of Scottsdale.

“This is a really dynamic group of people who, we all come from different areas… so we’re not just bound by a certain geographic location. We all have different backgrounds. But we’ve all been very very willing to put in every minute that needs to be done to work on this task force,” said Wenstrom.