Buckeye 78, Goodyear 16; by Gary Gibbs

by Gary Gibbs

Goodyear taxpayers dodged a bullet last night (June 27) when the city council chose not to raid the city’s “rainy day” fund to give raises and/or bonuses to city employees and fund a laundry list of public works projects.

(Bear in mind that police and fire had already received pay increases in the budget approved last night. It was the city’s 300 other employees who got stiffed thanks to council rightfully resisting the temptation to throw them a bone.)

Vice Mayor Joanne Osborne and council member Sheri Lauritano were particularly eloquent in their defense of the rainy day fund, which totals $16.3 million. Both realize that the future of the economy remains uncertain and depleting emergency reserves would not be a smart thing to do, in good times or bad. And while $16.3 million is certainly a lot of money, it pales in comparison to the rainy day fund stockpiled by our smaller neighbor to the west, Buckeye. That town has prudently set aside $78 million should dire straights strike.

The scary part is that the subject even came up. We have the recently retired Dick Sousa to thank for that. Several times during the budget process, Sousa argued vehemently for city employee raises or bonuses and showed little to no regard for the 65,000 souls who pay the bills. Now that council knows they can tap up to $4 million of those reserves, they will have to be watched closely. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Speaking of those bill payers (me and you), be prepared to shell out a little more in property taxes. The new budget raises the rate from $1.42 to $1.60. It seems that as our property values continue to decline, the city is on the receiving end of less revenue. They can’t have that, so they jack the rate back up. Interestingly, I can’t recall any of the five recently elected council members running on a platform to raise taxes, but mere weeks after been installed, that’s what they did, with nary a dissenter in the bunch. The budget also includes a token, almost insulting, reduction in the food tax. Starting in September you will save 25 cents for every $100 you spend at Bashas’, Fry’s or Safeway. Whoopee!

Editor’s Note.  Comments by ‘CL’ on Gary’s post asked that I place a 36 month cost reduction plan that CL offered to CofGoodyear last year.  I am unable to add media to comments so I have added CL’s cost reduction attachments here. CL cost reduction proposal to GY mgt

Goodyear Statement on 1.6


6 Responses

  1. Editor’s note, see my reply below.
    Yes, the rate went up but what you are actually paying went DOWN. If you were involved in politics in the last few years you would know the CBC (Citizen Budget Committee) said it was OK to raise the rate to $1.90 if need be. The citizens spoke, including Mr. Brodbeck, that it was OK to raise property taxes to maintain service levels. Last years reduction to $1.42 was a one time gift, the council stated that it would return to the normal rate this year.

    As far as the sales tax it costs the average citizen of Goodyear $72 a year. I am OK with maintaining the sales tax rate increase since it impacts not only the citizens of Goodyear but anyone who decides to shop here. The property tax increase leaves the burden entirely on the citizens of Goodyear.

    Perhaps you should do a little research before you lambast the council…there were things going on BEFORE you decided to run for mayor Mr. Gibbs.

    • Thank you, Roberta G/MikeWilliams/Tom/ IP address, or whatever city council member, spouse, or pal you are, for bringing this up.
      You must have been at Monday’s council meeting where apparently they commented on the same thing, wrapping themselves up in the warm glow of “everything is Ok since the CBC said it was OK”. That’s a lot of BS.
      That, Roberta is like saying it is OK to stimulate the economy because it has faltered and then go out like Obama did and waste nearly a trillion dollars on government run political pay off “maintenance” programs instead of stimulating private business.
      I certainly didn’t agree on a tax rate hike in the CBC just to see it go to pay for $250,000 in new speed bumps, increase police and fire pay, and add 8% to YOY spending. And what about all the other recommendations that the CBC made that were never implemented? Nobody’s talking about that. Such as;
      1. Reduce employees through furlough
      2. Suspend capital projects
      3. Implement zero based budgeting
      4. NO NEW DEBT

  2. Well, they are actually THINKING a little bit these days? I’d bet a few of them may have considered the outcome of all the lawsuits they have pending that they ALL SAT QUIETLY TO LISTENING TO THE DETAILS OF YEARS AGO. At least 3 of them anyway. Glad I moved, but still listen in. Probably more than 99. % of the people who still do live there.

  3. Discussion surrounding council’s decision to raise the property tax rate has taken on strong Orwellian overtones. What is up is really down. I don’t think so.

    The newspaper notice, required by Truth in Taxation, states that the property tax is being increased by 2 per cent and includes as an example that the tax on a $100,000 home will rise from $92.61 to $94.46.

    How some can interpret that as a decrease is beyond me. And while council did say that the prior year’s reduction in the property tax rate was a one year “tax holiday” (oxymoron alert), what would you call a “temporary” three year increase in the general sales tax? Tax hell?

  4. Taxes, don’t get me started on taxes.

    If I recall last year City Management openly agreed that Goodyear has the highest taxes in the Valley, and the then Vice Mayor, requested a retreat in the Fall to discuss tax reductions and make a tax reduction plan. That never happened. However, I did send to the previous Mayor my plan for 36 months that was never even discussed (see attached) Editor’s note; CL asked me to add his charts to this comment. I am unable to add media to comments so I will place his charts with a note into Gary Gibbs’ post which generated these comments.

    To Ms. Roberta G, Council Member Stipp referred to the CBC tax rate to not exceed $1.80 not $1.90, what he didn’t cite is the context of the ceiling being raised, that it was tied directly to maintaining the debt levy. This tax increase did not address the debt reduction.

    City Management and Council like $1.60, however, why do they always focus on the primary and not the secondary which is what they reduced last year, if it was a onetime reduction from an unknown slush fund created by Management without any knowledge except to a few, then the increase this year should have been placed back in the secondary rate to bring down the 100’s of millions in debt we owe versus increasing the spending account.

    Here is the trend – 49% increase in the Primary rate since 2009 during the worst economic crises in our history, and it is not over yet, and foregoing fiscal responsibility on managing our debt. How about a compromise 50/50 .80 to spending and .80 to debt management. Still at the 1.60 rate.

    Primary 2009 .632 2012 .9446
    Secondary 2009 .968 2012 .6554

    Source Schedule B Summary of Tax Levy and Tax Rate Information FY12

    Where is fiscal conservatism when you need it? In every other business, when revenues dry up, they dig in deep or they go bankrupt, why does this Council think they should be any different?

    Cut the spending!

    Stop looking to the tax payers to keep flipping the bill.

    In my day job, a not for profit, like our city, we have to cut $200M in order to ride out this economic storm, I cut $40M this past year. How much did Council and Management cut, really true GL impact reductions without cutting labor?

    I offered my services free of charge, they declined my offer.

  5. CL — Given the city’s penchant for spending big bucks on consultants, your mistake was in not asking an exorbitant fee for your services.

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