Goodyear Primer

Keep It Simple Stupid.  Eight points to know about Goodyear.

In addition to the “let’s spend more money” nonsense coming from your city council here are eight points you should commit to memory about Goodyear’s politics and finances;

1.Goodyear taxpayers are paying spring training fans about $100 per ticket to attend Spring Training at Goodyear Ball Park.  Let me say that again.  WE are PAYING FANS $100 each for every ticket that they purchase for Spring Training.

2. Goodyear and other taxpayers are paying EACH Park & Ride user about $30 per day to use the new park and ride rather than spend $8 of their own money on gas and conveniently drive themselves (riders could finance a new car for the $22 difference $22 x 20 = $440 per month).

3. There isn’t any “money available” now for Goodyear to start spending more.  Goodyear revenues are essentially flat except for the property tax increase council is putting through as well as over charges for utility services and some wishful thinking about grants from outside agencies, none of which materialized from the ones that were put in last year’s budget.  And how about the long term capital projects your city council has put on the agenda to start planning for. We don’t need nor can we afford a new library, city center, admin centers for cops, fire, public works.  And no new city hires please.  And no raises yet.  There have been no layoffs in Goodyear, we are paying at 96% of midpoint according to Goodyear’s HR director, leave it alone.  City Council should pay their political debts elsewhere.

4. The Westcor Mall deal has been a terrible investment so far for Goodyear. For a perhaps $100 mil investment, Goodyear stands to get a 7% return (according to city numbers. I think it will be much less for quite a while).  While that does not sound too bad, the problem is that the way the deal is structured, Goodyear could get nothing but a pile of dirt with curbs if Westcor walks. It also appears that at best we’ll only start getting our return 8 to 10 years AFTER Goodyear’s initial investment.  Plus, Goodyear won’t start to recover its initial investment until at least 2032 and the 7% return does not take into account all of Goodyear’s additional costs to provide police, fire, water, trash, waste, road repair, etc, etc, etc for such a project.  You can bet that if this mall ever gets built, police, fire and all their suppliers will be in line right away to tell us all how much new equipment, people and specialized new training they’ll all need in order to do their jobs properly.  The city and Westcor now say they’ll finally start construction this year or next.  We’ll see.

5. Public employee pensions and benefits are a huge future liability that most local governments do not even account for.  Goodyear should start to publicly account for them.  Goodyear Finance Director Larry Lange should have a detailed 10 year forward looking model based upon worst case scenarios that is factored into and included in each new city budget at the beginning of each budget cycle to estimate how bad the city’s liabilities in this regard might become.  And he should show all of his assumptions and calculations. Then before Goodyear spends any “when it becomes available” money, council should deal with those worse case scenarios first. That is what well run businesses do, that would be the responsible thing to do for Goodyear taxpayers.  What is the net present value of each Goodyear employee?  That is, when you add in salary, increases, health care cost, length of service, retirement costs over a single employee’s career, what is the total cost to the taxpayers in today’s dollars?  Larry Lange should calculate that as well.

6. Mayor and Council should be involved in the whole Police department hit and run/manslaughter debacle rather than being silent as they have been so far.  Someone should be giving Fischbach some advice on what the city’s  ‘policy’ should have been on all the promotions the same people who created the problem got.

7. Hassling Cancer Treatment Centers because they supported the contenders in the election is petty and poor governance.  And everyone can see it for exactly what it is.  Goodyear council should get over it.

8.  Goodyear is broke.  Goodyear could possibly exceed it’s debt capacity in the next 12 months and be forced to either dramatically slash employee pay and benefits as well as lay off a lot of people and/or default.  Approving more capital projects in this environment ($250k for speed bumps) and increasing year over year spending by 8% is beyond irresponsible, some might consider it to be criminal.

Understand these 8 points and you are probably a better informed voter than 80% of Goodyear residents… and most of city council.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: