Gilbert and Chandler Place Well In Annual US City Fiscal Health Rankings

Town of GilbertCongratulations to the Town of Gilbert and City of Chandler for placing high in the annual US City Fiscal Health Index.

The index, prepared by The Fiscal Times, looks at five factors to derive the rankings including: ratio of city general fund balance to expenditures, ratio of long term obligations to total government-wide revenues, ratio of actuarially determined pension contributions to total government-wide revenues, change in local unemployment rate and changes in property values. Data is reported by the cities themselves from 2015. Only cities with populations of 200,000 were evaluated. (Tempe, Peoria, Surprise, Yuma, Avondale and Flagstaff have populations less than 200,000.)

City of ChandlerThe Town of Gilbert placed 17th while the City of Chandler placed 20th.

Other Arizona cities placed lower on the list:

Phoenix – 43
Glendale – 77
Tucson – 81
Scottsdale – 84
Mesa – 85

At the bottom of the list were Chicago and New York City.

To view the full index, click here.

Andy Biggs’ Special Fire District Still Burned In My Memory

By East Valley Evan

They say an elephant never forgets. This Republican certainly doesn’t but sometimes it takes an incident to help recall.

The massive fire in Gilbert recently stoked my memory about one of our local politicians who tried to take advantage of a serious public safety threat.

Andy BiggsBack in 2005, Rural Metro notified the Town of Gilbert that they were ceasing operations in Gilbert because it was becoming too expensive to service the town due to the numerous county islands. That provoked a political fight between Gilbert and the county islanders.

In early 2006, county islander and State Representative Andy Biggs jumped feet first into the fight by sponsoring legislation allowing his fellow islanders to form a special fire district that would also pay back the Town of Gilbert for use of their municipal fire service. There was only one problem. The town of Gilbert was not going to recover the full cost of providing that service – an additional $5 million! Gilbert taxpayers like me would have had to pay the difference and subsidize all the folks in the county islands who were receiving Town of Gilbert services.

To add insult to injury, we would have had to pay the start up costs for a year and a half for Biggs’ special district before we even saw any reimbursement for our up front costs.

The Town of Gilbert decided to sue based on the grounds that Biggs’ law was specially catered for his county islanders.

After Gilbert filed the suit, Andy Biggs snuck in another special amendment that would force Gilbert residents to pay the legal fees in lawsuits against the formation of his special fire district. It was written specifically to apply to the Town of Gilbert.

In the first round of legal battles, a judge saw through the special legislation and shot down Biggs’ special law. Unfortunately that the same judge made us pay for the legal costs in stopping Biggs’ unconstitutional law. It ended up costing us over $292 thousand.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, under Don Stapley’s lead, filed an appeal against the lower court’s decision but that case also ended up losing in court. In it’s decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals stated that Andy Biggs’ law failed to be written in a constitutional manner.

This battle over Biggs’ expensive unconstitutional fire district became so heated that it spilled over as an issue in the 2006 elections. Biggs was challenged by a Gilbert resident but ended up winning reelection because most voters thought the issue was settled and other issues dominated. But not this voter.

Fast forward to 2016 and Andy Biggs is now running for Congress in my district. Ten years may have passed and the memories of some voters may have faded but I won’t be voting for Andy Biggs. He’s proven himself time and time again to be the ultimate career politician who’s only interested in one thing – what’s best for Andy Biggs.

It might seem like an eternity in politics but this Gilbert Republican won’t easily forget what’s been seared into memory of how another politician divided a community to serve his own personal interests.

Jones for Congress Announces Endorsements by East Valley Elected Leaders

Christine Jones

(Gilbert, AZ) – Today, conservative business leader Christine Jones announced a round of endorsements from several East Valley municipal leaders. Council members from Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek all issued endorsements for Jones who is seeking the congressional seat in their communities. The list includes:

  • Chandler City Councilman Kevin Hartke, 2011 – present
  • Gilbert Town Councilwoman Brigette Peterson, 2014 – present
  • Gilbert Town Councilman Jorday Ray, 2011 – present
  • Queen Creek Town Councilman Jeff Brown, 2008 – present

In the announcement, Councilman Ray stated, “The East Valley needs someone like Christine Jones who knows how to create jobs and grow the economy.” Ray added, “I am also honored to play an important role as her campaign manager.”

Queen Creek Councilman Jeff Brown said, “Christine is a proven conservative leader who we can trust to do what she says. She has my full support because I know she knows how to get things done.”

Councilman Kevin Hartke of Chandler commented, “Christine Jones has deep ties to our community and she understands our needs and frustrations. I know she will represent the district, the East Valley and Arizona well.” He added, “I’m endorsing Christine because she brings a set of fresh eyes to problems that are not being solved or resolved.”

Finally, Gilbert Councilwoman Brigette Peterson noted, “Christine knows what’s important when it comes to our families and education. I put my full faith and trust in her to serve our communities well.”

On receiving each endorsement, Jones remarked, “I am truly humbled to have such heartfelt support from leadership across the district.” She concluded, “The East Valley has been an important part of my life.”