Burke: let us live up to your trust Town of Paradise Valley

It’s the days after the election and the shock of the Cubs winning the World Series seems minuscule next to the surprises at the ballot box.

Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke

While it’s not a surprise, it is certainly an honor and a responsibility to receive the trust that was bestowed upon your Paradise Valley town government in the form of Proposition 499 prevailing. Proposition 499 was a request to raise the expenditure limit ceiling in order to meet the financial challenges of today and preserve our quality services into the future.

Your town government accepts this trust with an obligation to demonstrate its fiscal responsibility of the public’s money.

Before I outline how that fiscal responsibility will be executed, I want to talk about what this measure isn’t. It isn’t a blank check. It isn’t an increase in taxes. It isn’t an increase in the debt ceiling. And it isn’t the opening of flood gates to money pouring into the town.

I have been asked, “What are you going to do with all that money?” Ironically, the town has the same revenues after the election that it had before. And, those revenues are not meeting all the current service demands. Even with Prop 499 adopted, the town must operate with a balanced budget. It can’t spend what it doesn’t have. And, therefore fiscal responsibility must remain a core principal of the Town’s governance.

An example of that fiscal responsibility is using part of the town’s $25 million reserve that is earning approximately 1 percent per year in interest to pay down its $18 million unfunded liability in the public safety pension that is incurring an almost 8 percent surcharge each year. Council made a commitment to pay that off over the next three years.

That will save the taxpayers approximately $11 million. It also allows the town to accomplish a much needed mill and overlay of Lincoln and Tatum over the next three to five years. My last example is it allows the town to accept approximately $5.3 million from the Ritz project to improve Lincoln, Mockingbird and Indian Bend around that project.

That’s fiscal responsibility and good governance. That is what Proposition 499 allows the town to accomplish while maintaining existing services.

Again, approval of Prop 499 was a gift of trust and we don’t plan to misuse that. Our budgeting process and expenditures are always open for inspection. Further, we are improving ways to review these numbers with an enhanced budget book and quarterly reports to be placed online.

If you ever have a doubt or a question, please feel to contact me at 480-348-3960.

Editor’s note: Mr. Burke is the Paradise Valley Town Manager

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