Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I would like to remind you that the Phoenix City Council votes this week on enforcing the Parks Board's recently approved fee to park at preserves. This would be yet another new fee placed upon the taxpayer in Phoenix, while very little of the burden to balance the budget has been felt within the city's organization -- all so Phoenix can afford an average cost of labor of almost $100,000 http://www.phoenix.gov/webcms/groups/internet/@inter/@pcc/@dist6/documents/web_content/042170.pdf. The council needs to see and hear from you about your position on this new fee before it is too late. Round up all your neighbors and come to the council's Formal meeting this Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the City Council Chambers (200 W. Jefferson Street). There will be an opportunity to speak if you would like, and even if you cannot stay until the end, you can fill out a card stating your position. Please see my column below that outlines why I will vote against this fee.
Councilman District 6 - Ahwatukee, Arcadia, Biltmore and North Central
The latest citizen sacrifice: Hikers
The city of Phoenix is getting ready to bleed yet another passionate segment of its citizenry, hitting them up for a few more dollars because they truly care about a narrow aspect of city life and are willing to pay more for it.
Then the city will turn around and give that money to its employees. There is insufficient backbone to say no.
This time it’s the hikers
You’ve seen this movie before: Threaten to kill or severely cut some service with passionate (or desperate) supporters. Offer up a disaster scenario if more money isn’t produced. Then, after the initial wailing and public apoplexy, come up with a slightly lesser fleecing of this group to gain public compliance. Hey, it’s only a few bucks and it will keep our (fill in the blank) hiking trails, softball fields, library hours, etc. etc. etc.
The Oscar for this performance came during the budget hearings, where police, firemen, libraries and seniors centers were offered up as sacrifices to the fiscal gods if the public didn’t approve a $50 million food tax. Take a wild guess where all the public hearings were held? Libraries and senior centers, naturally.
The ugly truth is that the $100 million in new taxes and fees Phoenix has already imposed on its citizenry in the past seven months is not necessary to keep those services and protections. It’s to find enough money to pay for 14,000-plus union-represented employees who average $100,000 a year in compensation.
The parking fee – at trails you already pay for three ways – came about after the city drastically cut services and hours for parks, then gave the parks board the notion that if it didn’t raise money for the general fund, much more would be cut. That’s where the $5 a day parking fee came up (later reduced to $2 – hey, a comparative bargain). Then the city management promised that all the new dollars would go to parks.
First off, management can’t guarantee that. Even the Council can’t guarantee that.
On Sept. 15, the Phoenix City Council will be asked to approve enforcing this latest rummage through your pockets (3 p.m., Council Chambers, 200 W. Jefferson). No Council approval, no new fee. I say it’s time to separate the taxing-and-spending addict from its drug, which is your money.
If you want to learn more, contact us. Or show up at the Council meeting and tell Phoenix it has enough of your money already. And be sure to send this around to your email list.
Councilman Sal DiCiccio represents District 6, which includes Ahwatukee, Arcadia, Biltmore, East Camelback and North Central. He can be reached at email@example.com.