Bonds are Good for South Mountain Village
All eyes are on Phoenix.
And the eyes of the South Mountain Village, and all of Phoenix ought to be focused on March 14th – the day we loudly define our priorities. The day we boldly define our future. The day of the Phoenix Bond election.
Other cities across this nation struggle to pass even a single bond initiative. Not us — for two very good reasons. First, the work, the prioritizing and the recommendations are all done by citizens – not elected officials. Second, it’s all done within our existing bonding capacity. That means no increase in taxes. If you pay more in property taxes this year than last, it’s because your property is worth more – not because the city has raised your taxes. When you live, invest and raise your family in one of the most desirable cities in the country, your property values are going to rise.
When it comes to public safety, our commitment never wavers. Even when budgets are tight — like they were last year — we increased our police and fire budgets from $580 million dollars to $630 million – and added more than 100 new officers and firefighters. Soon, we will be building on that commitment with more than $177 million additional dollars for police, fire and homeland security – because public safety is not the place to pursue rhetoric. It’s the place to pursue results.
That’s why we’ll be acquiring three new helicopters and additional equipment to protect us from crime and the ravages of fire. We will be investing in new communication equipment, an emergency operations center and a brand new Family Advocacy Center.
Police Chief Jack Harris wants us all to know that having a healthy parks program is critical to having a safe city. And this year, our citizens will be providing more than $120 million dollars for park programs and mountain preserves.
Someone once observed that people who don’t read, are really no better off than people who can’t. This year, we will be investing in libraries – and also in senior centers and family centers. Our commitment is strong and significant – nearly $134 million dollars.
In a very real sense, everything we do is meant to have a positive impact on families and neighborhoods. And beginning one month from today, $85 million dollars will be directly invested in everything from affordable housing, to graffiti removal to historic preservation.
Let’s face it, downtown is the heart of Phoenix – Phoenix is the heart of the Valley – and the Valley is the heart of Arizona. And like any heart if it is unhealthy, everything else suffers. That’s why we pursue and attain both public and private investments in downtown Phoenix. Not to detract from all the other neighborhoods and villages, but to strengthen them.
And this final component of the bond program will strengthen the heart of our city – and the rest of this city, with 198 million dollars for small high schools, higher education and health science facilities.
Education is exactly how we should be investing some of our resources. Education leads to jobs. And a job leads away from crime.
In other words: public safety, education and jobs. Remember those? You can never separate them.
I hope you and your neighbors will support your neighborhoods, support your Village and support your community by supporting all seven bond proposals on March 14th. Of course, early voting is already underway, so there’s really no need to wait.