New Poll: Mesa Residents Overwhelmingly Want Council Member To Resign After Second DUI Charge

Data Orbital

(Phoenix, AZ) – The Public Integrity Alliance recently commissioned two polls, both conducted by Data Orbital that shows Mesa Councilman Ryan Winkle largely favored to resign after second super extreme DUI arrest. Councilman Winkle, in his first time on the Mesa City Council, has faced recent scrutiny after an arrest in Tempe where he allegedly nearly hit pedestrians while swerving.

Data Orbital, a Phoenix based consulting firm, announced today the results of two surveys that asked Mesa residents city wide and specifically residents of Mesa District 3 (the district Mr. Winkle represents) their knowledge of the recent arrest and if the DUI was merit enough for him to be removed or asked to resign by the Mesa City Council.
The poll results, that were taken city wide and specifically in his home district Mesa 3, showed that 70% of people favored his removal/resignation while only 14% thought he should not be removed. Also, a little more than 40% of people were aware that this was his second DUI arrest.

Tyler Montague, President of Public Integrity Alliance had this to say:  “Councilmember Ryan Winkle has argued that he should remain in office in spite of his behavior because ‘his district wants him there’ because they elected him. Clearly that’s no longer the case. Integrity matters, and Winkle has lost the mandate to lead and should listen to the vast majority of Mesa residents who want him to resign.”

 

Data Orbital Poll

George Khalaf, consultant and pollster, issued the following statement: “It is clear that Mesa voters overwhelmingly want Mr. Winkle to step aside and allow the city to move forward in the process. While it is true that people deserve forgiveness, our elected officials are held to a higher standard and that is a standard Council member Winkle has now broken twice.”###

Survey One: IVR poll of 800 registered voters in the city of Mesa has a margin of error at plus or minus 3.5 percent, with a 95 percent confidence interval. Respondents were weighted on a number of different demographic figures based off an Arizona registered voter file and responses were collected from automated landline surveys over three days. City Wide Toplines.

Survey Two: Live & IVR mix poll of 300 registered voters in Mesa City Council District 3 has a margin of error at plus or minus 5.7 percent, with a 95 percent confidence interval. Respondents were weighted on a number of different demographic figures based off an Arizona registered voter file and responses were collected from live cell phone and automated land line surveys over three days. Mesa District 3 Toplines.

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Poll: Nearly Half of Voters Say Mesa Councilman Ryan Winkle Should Stay

OH Predictive

Over half aware of DUI citation, primarily through mass media

Phoenix, AZ (June 22, 2017) –  Arizona is never short of hot political issues or debates, and typically a City Council position gets little to no attention – that is until now. There have been ongoing conversations about whether Mesa City Councilman Ryan Winkle, District 3 should resign from office or remain in his position, following his May arrest on suspicion of DUI. We asked the voters of his district their opinions, and if they believe the Councilman of six months should resign or stay.

Nationally recognized polling firm, OH Predictive Insights, conducted a survey comprised of 304 currently registered Democratic, Republican, Independent and Non-Declared voters registered in Mesa’s 3rd City Council District. The survey was conducted from June 8th to June 19th, with 49% of the sample contacted on their cellular phones, and 51% of the voters reached via landlines.

Among the results:

Ryan Winkle Poll

“While over half of Councilman Winkle’s constituents have heard of his recent DUI citation, he still holds a 2 to 1 positive favorability number to remain in his council seat,” said Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based leading behavioral research polling company. “Nearly half of those polled think the Councilman should remain in office, approximately one-third of his constituents believe he should resign, and 17% did not indicate an opinion either way.”

Noble added, “In the eyes of the voter, Winkle is down, but definitely not out.”

Methodology: This live and automated caller survey was conducted by Phoenix based-OH Predictive Insights from June 8th to June 19th, 2017, from an active registered voter sample in Mesa City Council District 3.  The sample size was 304 completed surveys, with a MoE of +/-5.61%.  49% of surveys were conducted on cell phones and 51% via land lines.

View the press release online.

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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.

Winkle for Mesa … In Tempe?

You would think that when you’re running for a local office that you would hold your events in the district, right? Apparently, Ryan Winkle who is running for Mesa City Council in District 3 would disagree!

Winkle is hosting an event that he’s calling a “Community Celebration,” in Tempe. Is that a slap in the face to the voters in Mesa’s 3rd District? We think so… That is the equivalent of someone running for the Phoenix City Council who campaigns in San Tan Valley. It just does not make sense!

Maybe he’s confused about what district and city he is actually going to represent?

Winkle, we know you’re young and naive, but if you’re running to represent people then please run in the district you’re aiming to represent. You are not running for Tempe City Council. The people of Mesa deserve better and deserve to know that you care about them and the issues facing the community. Evidently, you do not.

Mesa Activist: Vote NO on all Mesa Bond Issues

Longtime City of Mesa activist and watchdog Gene Dufoe presented this excellent case why Mesa voters should vote NO on all the City of Mesa bond issues. It’s lengthy but well worth the read to become informed.

On Monday, Oct. 5, I spoke at the City of Mesa Council meeting for 3-minutes on why $580,000,000 Utility Revenue Bonds should not be approved at the election on November 4.  The earlier article, as well as this article, are available on the http://votesmartmesa.com/ website.  The earlier article also appeared in the Gilbert Watch on August 22, 2014.  The complete update follows:

A look at why the concentration on the City of Mesa’s Utility Bonds, we need to look at the City of Mesa Budget: FY2014-15 Auditor General Schedules A-G: Schedule A Summary of Estimated Revenues and Expenditures to find why. http://www.mesaaz.gov/budget/ Documents/FY_14_15/Schedule% 20A_Summary%20of%20Estimated% 20Revenues%20&%20Expenditures. pdf

Looking at Interfund Transfers In (Out), we discover Transfers (OUT) of $(173,606,136) for the ENTERPRISE FUND and Transfers (IN) of $85,429,615 to the GENERAL FUND AND $92,164,059 to the DEBT SERVICE FUNDS.  The ENTERPRISE FUND is the business portion of the City of Mesa operations, i.e., the various utility operations run by the city.  This withdrawal from the ENTERPRISE FUND is taking more than $173 million of the current profits of the various utility funds and using it mostly for the current operations of the GENERAL FUND and the DEBT SERVICE FUNDS.  Note that the Property Tax Revenues of $33,440,000 also boosts the DEBT SERVICE FUNDS.  The result is the City of Mesa is taking current funds from the Enterprise Fund to spend immediately.  They are not using that money to responsibly maintain the infrastructure required by Enterprise Fund operations.  Instead, they are asking the residents of Mesa to mortgage our future (and also having our children and grandchildren) to make many of these needed infrastructure improvements with revenue bonds that will last through the year 2044.

The earlier paper discusses how the Utility Revenue Bonds are paid from the revenues i.e., the monthly water, waste water, electric, natural gas, and solid waste (garbage) utility bills, so they do not effect the direct tax burden.  However, paying utility bills comes out of the same pocket as paying any other bill.  This year’s City of Mesa rate increases on July 1, 2014, over the prior year are as follows:

•  Electric rates increased by 2%,
•  Natural Gas rates increased by 3%,
•  Water rates increased by 7%,
•  Wastewater rates increased by 7%, and
•  Solid Waste rates increased by 6.9%.

The Secondary Property Tax also increased from $22,105,000 last year to $33,440,000 this fiscal year.  That is an average 51% increase per household.

The only other City of Mesa Interfund Transfers (OUT) is $(7,038,653) from the IMPACT FEE FUNDS and the only other Transfers (IN) is $3,051,115 to RESTRICTED FUNDS.  Impact fees are assessed for new construction and are intended to go toward building the infrastructure for that new construction; however, the City Council has voted to use impact fees to bolster the General Fund and satisfy Debt Service.

According to Ryan Wimmer of the Mesa’s Office of Management and Budget, on July 1, 2014, the authorized, but not yet sold, bonds total $219,668,000 of which $72,213,000 are Utility Revenue Bonds.  A total of $580,000,000 is on the November 4, 2014, ballot is divided as follows:

•  Water System Revenue Bonds-$315,700,000;
•  Wastewater System Revenue Bonds- $178,200,000;
•  Electrical System Revenue Bonds-$27,000,000; and
•  Gas System Revenue Bonds-$59,100,000.

The bonds shall be payable solely from the revenues of the City’s utility systems, bear interest not exceeding 10% per annum and pay principal over not more than 30 years from the date issued.  The last utility revenue bonds, Series 2014, were for only 24 years.  If these utility revenue bonds are funded in the same manner as those previously authorized and sold, these bonds will be repaid over the coming years with interest-only payments for the most of the years of the bonds with the principal be paid in the last year or two of the bond life.  This will mean that the total interest repaid will be significantly more than the initial bond principal.  All of this when the Enterprise Fund is currently making a profit of more than $173 million annually.

From the “Moody’s assigns Aa2 rating to City of Mesa, Arizona’s Utility Systems Revenue Bonds, Series 2011” dated 13 May 2011, the following is quoted, “In fiscal 2010, $84.4 million was transferred from the Utility (Enterprise) Fund to the General Fund revenues.  Near term transfer amounts are forecasted to remain stable at $83.6 million.”  However, that did not happen as will be discussed in the next paragraph.  Since that time:

The Secondary Property Tax has increased from $14.1 million in FY10/11 to over $33 million in FY2014/15,

The Enterprise Fund transfer to the General Fund and Debt Service has increased from $83.6 million to over $173 million in the current year,

The stated bond indebtedness has increased from $1,354,816,963 on July 1, 2011, to $1,710,800,000

That is an increase of nearly $356 million in debt in three years.  And the City of Mesa, still has $219,668,000 of taxpayer-approved bond authorization, not yet sold, and now the City of Mesa is requesting approval for an additional $580,000,000 in Utility Revenue Bonds.  If the four  Revenue Utility Bond issues pass and considering the already approved bonds, not yet sold, that will be an addition to the current debt of nearly an additional $800 million.

In summary, since July 1, 2011, the debt of the City of Mesa has ballooned from nearly $1,356 Million ($1.356 Billion) to nearly $1,932 Million ($1.932 Billion) and we are being asked to approve $580 Million in new revenue bonds for a total indebtedness of 2,512 million ($2.512 Billion) or nearly double that we owed in July 2011.

Not only will that be an a major increase of the debt, but combining the lengthening of the bond life with the current City of Mesa approach to the repaying of Utility Revenue Bonds with interest-only payments for the first twenty-nine or thirty years and then paying the BALLOON principal payment(s) in the last year or two of the now 30-year bonds, the utility rates will continue to dramatically increase.  Note that the life of the Revenue Utility Bonds have increased from 18 years in 2009 to 24 years in 2014 and now 30 years for the new bonds to be voted on in November 3, 2014.

In a economy growing better than three years ago, the City Council is not properly protecting the interests of the City of Mesa residents.  Now, the City Council and Mayor Giles, as the newly-elected mayor, needs a wakeup call.  Note that Mayor Giles, earlier served in the City of Mesa City Council from 1996 to 2000.

We strongly urge a NO VOTE on all four of the bond issues.  It is time for the City of Mesa to cut all but the absolutely essential services and for repayment schedules to be part of any future bond authorizations and get back to pay-as-we-go management.  We need to pay for the City’s needs without drastically increasing taxes or utilities.

Gene Dufoe, interested citizen of Mesa

Mr. Dufoe is a retired Boeing engineer/manager who possesses the following degrees:  BSAE, MSAE, and an MBA with an emphasis in Finance.

Mesa’s Debt Bomb, thanks to former Mayor Scott Smith

By Gene Dufoe

This brief study of the City of Mesa FY2014/15 Budget has been compiled by Mesa resident Gene Dufoe. Mr. Dufoe is a retired Boeing engineer/manager who possesses the following degrees: BSAE, MSAE, and an MBA with an emphasis in Finance. He is a Precinct Committeeman in LD25. Dufoe supports Danny Ray for Mayor of Mesa, Dr. Ralph Heap for the LD25 Senate seat presently held by Bob Worsley, and Diane Douglas for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Note:  There are four utility system revenue bond authorization questions on the November 2014 ballot, one each for Water, Wastewater, Natural Gas, and Electric.  Total will be $580,000,000.  See the City Council Resolution

LOOKING AT THE CITY OF MESA BUDGET FOR THIS FISCAL YEAR 2014-2015

Normally, the City of Mesa publicizes only the millions of dollars of Total General Obligation Bonds, Total Utility Systems Revenue Bonds, Total Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds, and Total Excise Tax Obligations outstanding, not the total bonds obligation or the interest obligation.  However, both need to be exposed.  The City of Mesa Total Bonds outstanding is $1,710,800,001 for FY2013/2014 vs. $1,220,778,673 for FY2008/09.

The scheduled interest to be paid through 2037/38 is $302,539,619 for only the General Obligation Bonds issued during Scott Smith’s administration.  This is nearly three times greater than was paid on the General Obligation Bonds issued under the previous administrations.  The comparison of the Utility Revenue Bonds is even worse, $71,360,274 vs. $327,537,942, or 4.6 times greater.

During Mayor Hawker’s service from 2000 to 2008, several bond issues were refinanced from earlier administrations, and the total interest paid was only a fraction of the repaid principal.  However, the financial situation of Mayor Smith’s term of office from 2008 to his recent resignation in June, 2014, has placed the City of Mesa in worsening financial terms for the future.

Without considering the interest on the General Obligation Bonds, Utility Revenue Bonds, Street & Highway User Revenue Bonds, and Excise Tax Obligations, nearly $500,000,000 of additional bonds have been approved during Mayor Smith’s period of service.  Interest on the General Obligation and Utility Revenue Bonds will add $630,000,000 through 2037-38, totaling more than $1.1 BILLION additional debt added during Mayor Smith’s time in office.  The interest on the $114,650,000 Street and Highway User Bonds and the $216,115,000 Total Excise Tax Obligations outstanding in FY2013-14 will add to the $630,000,000 interest total; however, the exact amounts were not readily available.

In addition to those bonds outstanding (and the bonds which have been authorized, but not yet sold), the Proposed Five-Year Capital Improvement Program has $680,392,701 which needs future authorization.  These proposed bonds, needing future authorization, will likely be voted on in the next 3-4 years.  Per the FY2014/15 Final Budget Summary, the City is not obligated to a project by inclusion within the CIP.  Each project is considered individually by the City Council during the year.

The reason that the interest scheduled was so much higher during Mayor Smith’s years in office is that both the length of the bonds were extended, and the payment of principal was also substantially delayed until the last years of the bond life.  For example, under the previous mayor, $11,705,000 2005 General Obligation Bond life was 18 years and the total interest scheduled was $4,128,700 or Total Interest Paid/Principal Repaid = 36.9%.

However, under Mayor Smith, the $30,865,000 2010 General Obligation bond life was 20 years, the total interest scheduled to be paid is $26,416,950 and Total Interest Paid/Principal Repaid = 85.59%.  The reason was no principal was scheduled for the first 9 years, principal payments of $1,115,000 to $2,500,000 were scheduled for the tenth to the nineteenth years, and in the twentieth year, the principal payment of $13,225,000 was scheduled.  The Total Interest Paid/Principal Repaid = 85.6%.

However, that is NOT the worst.  The Utility Revenue Bonds which are paid by the City of Mesa residents through the Secondary Property Tax and the monthly utility bills are managed by the City of Mesa’s business portion, called Enterprise Fund.  The Enterprise Fund transferred $173,606,136 to other current obligations of the city, per the City of Mesa Summary of Estimated Revenues and Expenditures, FY2014/15.

For the $50,380,000 2010 Utility Systems Revenue Bonds, the City of Mesa has scheduled interest payments of $3,073,280 annually for 24 years with no principal payments for the first 23 years with the entire principal scheduled $50,380,000 for the 24th year.  The total interest scheduled is $73,380,000.  The ratio of Total Interest Paid/Principal repaid = 134.2%.

Slightly less bad for the taxpayers are the $36,385,000 2014 Utility Systems Revenue bonds in which the City of Mesa has scheduled estimated interest payments of $1,819,250 annually for the first 23 years with no principal payments for the first 22 years; principal payments of $20,000,000 in the 23rd year and scheduled interest payment of $829,250 and principal payment of $16,385,000 in the 24th year.  Total interest $42,620,000.  The ratio of Total Interest Paid/Principal repaid = 117.43%.

If the voters do not approve the State Imposed Expenditure Limitation Home Rule Continuation, then the City of Mesa will need to eliminate $184 million from the budget, starting with FY2015-16.  The one-time override alternative allows for exceeding the state imposed expenditure limitation for one fiscal year.  If the State Auditor General determines a city has exceeded the expenditure limitation, a portion of its share of the state income tax allocation is withheld.   The penalty is assessed as follows:

Exceeding by less than 5% – penalty will equal to amount of the excess.

Exceeding by more than 5%, but less than 10% – penalty will be three times the excess.

Exceeding by more than 10% – penalty will be five times the excess or 1/3 of the state income tax allocation, whichever is less.  If the State limitation has been exceeded by more than 10%, the expected penalty to apply to FY2014/15 would be $17.7M (based on one-third of the FY2014/15 state-shared revenue).

The FY2014/15 budget does not allow the City to address the backlog of needs considered to be lifecycle or infrastructure replacements.

The contributions to the vehicle replacement fund do not address the full annual need nor do they allow for a reserve balance to mitigate future years where needs may spike.

The aging of buildings, technology, equipment, etc., requires scheduled upgrades/replacement.

A special commission of private-sector, public-sector, and retired personnel should be formed to make recommendations to the Mayor and the City Council for actions to be taken.  It is time for the City of Mesa to cut all but the absolutely essential services and reduce the city payroll, plus have active and retired city employees pay a larger portion of their medical, dental, and vision expenses.  By contrast, most private business employees pay a high percentage of medical, dental, and vision expenses; retirees have paid for their entire medical, dental, and vision expenses for many years.  Recommendations for the Arizona State Retirement System, Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, and Elected Officials Retirement Plan should also be considered.  Privatization of some or all of the services provided by the Enterprise Fund should be part of any such study.

References

  1. City of Mesa Executive Budget Plan 2014/15 & FY2014/15 Community Report Average Homeowner’s Cost Comparison
  2. Secondary Property Tax – Resolution No. 10478
  3. FY2014/15 Legal Budget – Resolution No. 10473
  4. FY2014/15 Capital Improvement Program – Resolution No. 10472
  5. FY2014/15 Final Budget City Council Report
  6. FY2014/15 Final Budget Summary
  7. FY2014/15 Home Rule – State Imposed Expenditure Limitation – Home Rule Continuation Presentation
  8. FY2008/09 Community Report Average Homeowner’s Annual Cost Comparison
  9. FY2008/09 Tentative Five-Year Capital Improvement Program
  10. FY2008/09 Final Budget City Council Report
  11. Pledged Debt Analysis For Continuation of Impact Fees City of Mesa, Arizona, prepared by Duncan Associates, April 16, 2013
  12. Preliminary Official Statement dated May 15, 2014; $37,550,000 City of Mesa, Arizona, General Obligation Bonds Series 2014, APPENDIX B
See Also Questions from Mr. Dufoe and answers from Ryan Wimmer, Mesa’s Office of Management and Budget:

1.  General Obligation Bonds (refunding) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa GO refunding bonds over the past six years?  When are the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

Series

2002       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS191242-MS166550-MD322389.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS217101-MS192409-MD373504.pdf (see page 14 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52419-MS223977-MS616035.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP609526-EP476667-EP877042.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EA522649-EA407230-EA804180.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2.  The General Obligation bonds (Various Purpose) are as follows:

What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Bonds – Various Purpose bonds when issued?  When are the bond annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS236093-MS211401-MD411149.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52250-MS223608-MS615968.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2007       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS259729-MS235037-MD458462.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2008       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS270908-MS267339-MD528351.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2009       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS281039-MS280291-MD568491.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2010       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP431918-EP339205-EP735523.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2011       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER460776-ER359128-ER755820.pdf (see page 8 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP644009-EP503264-EP904180.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER666235-ER517392-ER919995.pdf (see page 8 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

3.  Utility Systems Revenue Bonds (refunding) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Utility refunding bonds over the past six years?  When are the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2002       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS188305-MS163613-MD316547.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2002A    OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS197504-MS172812-MD334877.pdf (see page 14 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS217102-MS192410-MD373506.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006 (both issues)  OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52416-MS223973-MS616031.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS254547-MS229855-MD448008.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2008       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS270955-MS267402-MD528506.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP608885-EP476146-EP876514.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012 Taxable Refunding.  OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP615721-EP481744-EP882241.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

4.  Utility Systems Revenue Bonds (Utility Improvement) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Utility Improvement bonds when issued?  When are the bond annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2002       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS188116-MS163424-MD316173.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2003       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS203914-MS179222-MD347345.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS222295-MS197603-MD383623.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS235923-MS211231-MD410807.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52220-MS223454-MS615938.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2007       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS259549-MS234857-MD458102.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2008       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS270681-MS267070-MD527833.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2009       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS281167-MS280466-MD568877.pdf (see page 9 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2009 WIFA Loans – WIFA loans are not rated by the rating agencies.  Redemption schedules are attached.   (See 2009 WIFA loans.)

2010       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP431713-EP339023-EP735345.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP643903-EP503173-EP904086.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER666086-ER517255-ER919851.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2014       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP820778-EP635288-EP1036999.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

5.  Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds (refunding) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Street and Highway User Revenue Refunding Bonds over the past six years?  When is the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS217103-MS192411-MD373508.pdf (see page 14 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS230312-MS205620-MD399580.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP608850-EP476109-EP876480.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP759947-EP589453-EP990970.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

6.  Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds (Street Improvement) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Street Improvement bonds when issued?  When is the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2003       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS203840-MS179148-MD347197.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS222376-MS197684-MD383785.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS236032-MS211340-MD411027.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52253-MS223605-MS615966.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2007       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS259518-MS234826-MD458040.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

7.  Excise Tax Obligations Outstanding

Were the 2010 Highway Project Advancement Notes redeemed at the July 1, 2014, optional redemption date at par? Yes.

What was the bond rating for the 2010 and 2011A City of Mesa Highway Project Advancement Notes since they were issued?

2010 – OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP430767-EP338370-EP734691.pdf (see page 10)

2011A – OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP571936-EP448917-EP848828.pdf (see page 14).

What was the bond rating for the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority obligations when they were issued?

OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER583308-ER453122-ER855821.pdf (see page 15)

What is the rating, purpose, refunding, and interest rate paid on the Excise Tax Revenue Obligations issued in 2013?

OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP751300-EP583298-EP984886.pdf (see page 13 for ratings, the second cover page for interest rates, and “Optional Redemption” on pages 2 and 3 for refunding provisions)

Regarding the purpose, from the cover page:

The City of Mesa, Arizona (the “City”) Excise Tax Revenue Obligations, Series 2013 (the “Obligations”) will be executed and delivered in the principal amount of $94,060,000 for the purpose of providing funds to (i) acquire and construct the Project (as defined herein) and (ii) pay costs of execution and delivery of the Obligations.

See “The Obligations” on page 2 and “The Project” on page 4.

8.  Have any of the overlapping jurisdictions informed the City of Mesa that they were in danger of not meeting their bonded debt obligations under the “Direct and Overlapping General Obligation Bonded Debt Outstanding” category? No.

9.  What is the schedule of planned sales of any authorized, but not issued, City of Mesa General Obligation bonds, Utility System Revenue bonds, Street and Highway User Revenue bonds or Excise Tax Obligations notes since 2013?

General Obligation and Utility System forecasted issuances are attached.  (SeeAuthorized Bonds – Issuance Forecast.)  There are currently no plans to issue Street and Highway User Revenue or Excise Tax bonds.

Have there been any additional refunding issues replacing series issues since 2013? No.

10.  Are there be any City of Mesa General Obligation Bonds issues, Utility System Revenue Bonds issues, Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds issues or Excise Tax Obligation notes to be submitted to the voters on the November, 2014 ballot?

There are four utility system revenue bond authorization questions on the November 2014 ballot, one each for Water, Wastewater, Natural Gas, and Electric.  See the City Council resolution at: http://mesa.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1821143&GUID=DB2A249F-5A7B-459F-A506-2A6379B8B9EC.

Scott Smith’s Pursuit of Big Pay Raises

At a time when millions of Arizonans have struggled to make ends meet through the Great Recession, there’s one gubernatorial candidate who’s been indifferent to the plight of his paycheck-to-paycheck neighbors.

Former mayor of Mesa Scott Smith, whose net worth still remains undisclosed (although we know it’s well over $100K), pushed hard twice while mayor of Mesa to increase his pay and the pay of his fellow council members.

Prior to the increase, the charter for the city of Mesa locked in the mayor’s compensation at $33,600/year with a $1,800/year vehicle allowance and $960/year phone allowance. To change that compensation, the mayor and council are required to vote rather than send the issue to voters.

Smith made the first push to increase his salary on December 10, 2012 during a regular session of the mayor and council. In the video, Smith argues for increasing his pay and not to reject the recommendations of an independent commission.

During that first attempt, he asks the council to support him for the 118% pay raise and allowance increase of 122%. As the video shows, Smith’s temperament reveals a man on a mission to make more money as mayor.

If you haven’t worked out the math yet, the 118% pay raise would take the mayor’s salary to $73,300/year and the vehicle allowance to $6,600/year. Keep in mind, this is for a part-time mayor and council.

During the first attempt, the vote fails with Smith visibly upset that the council turned down his request.

One year later, On December 9, 2013, Smith makes the push to hike his salary once again using the same commission recommendations. He chides the council, “it was right a year ago and it’s right now.” This time Smith is successful in pressuring the council to raise his and their pay.

The Mesa Charter is amended with the new and outrageous increases but what the average citizen never sees (unless they watch the December 9, 2013 video) is that the mayor and council also voted to make themselves eligible for benefits “consistent with those provided to executive level City employees.” So now in addition to the pay raise, Mesa’s mayor and council are now receiving the same benefits as senior city management.

Mesa Mayor & Council Compensation Footnotes

One comment that sticks out during the debate, is that Smith notes that Mesa is the 38th largest city in the country and its mayor and council deserve to be compensated as such.

Given Mesa’s population is ranked between Tucson and Chandler, we reviewed their compensation rates to see if Mesa ball parked itself proportionally on elected official compensation rates.

Tucson, which is the second largest city in Arizona, compensates its mayor at $42,000/year. Chandler, ranked as the fourth largest city, pays its top elected executive $49,500/year. Mesa ranked third, is well above the Arizona cities above and below it by $23,800.

But we also took it a step further and looked at Mesa in terms of its population ranking among other US cities. Just above Mesa is Kansas City, Missouri which pays its mayor $123,156/year. Right below Mesa, is Virginia Beach whose mayor makes $10,000/year. Quite a variation but more like comparing apples to oranges.

Finally, we reviewed 2012 US Census data to see what the average median income is for the city of Mesa. According to this latest data, the average family in Mesa earns $47,256/year.

For the mayor of Mesa to relentlessly push for a dramatic pay raise during a time when many Mesa citizens remain in financial hardship due to reductions in salaries, hours or even job loss, anyone can see that Smith’s crusade to raise the mayor and council’s salary was not the right thing to do.

Arizona voters are worried that this style of governance will be more of the same business-as-usual. Conservatives reformers are trying to put an end to runaway spending, backroom union deals and corporate cronyism. Scott Smith’s style of management proves he’ll push the former and disturbingly his own self-interest no matter what it cost the citizens he’s supposed to serve.

Scott Smith – Only Gubernatorial Candidate Who Supports Common Core

Of all the GOP candidates seeking the highly coveted governor’s seat, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith doesn’t try very hard to hide is support for Common Core. Oh, sure, he’s fallen in line with the establishment’s politically correct makeover of Common Core’s name change. But he is on the record as being that one GOP candidate furthest on the left on Common Core and education in general. And he’s in good company and much aligned with those Republican legislators now in trouble for abandoning the Republican majority to support big government, democrat-supported policy shifts.

So why would a candidate who wants to win the GOP primary run furthest on the left from the rest of the pack? Maybe he’s received bad political advice. Or possibly Smith is so accustomed to running as an establishment candidate. Or perhaps he’s never run in an actual GOP statewide primary that requires firing up the base unlike a city election. One can only guess.

But the obvious observation is that Scott Smith is the more liberal candidate on education issues who is seeking the Republican nomination. And this stands out in his support for Common Core.

Here’s an excerpt from an answer he gave back in March at a Mohave County candidate forum when asked about his position on Common Core:

One blatant revelation is Smith’s condemnation of Arizona’s performance in education. For someone running to replace a Republican Governor with a state education system headed by another Republican, this is simply bad form to indirectly blame Republican executive leadership.

But is what Smith says about Arizona’s education system even true? Is Arizona really at the bottom of the list on all education measurements? The answer is it depends on what you’re measuring, when you’re measuring and who you’re measuring. Anyone can jump on the National Center for Education Statistics website, plug in the variables and see where Arizona ranks. It’s not impressive but then again, it’s not dismal as Smith suggests. Arizona has made tremendous strides when it comes to education reform in the charter and school choice movement – and its helping to our rankings but more important, it’s helping our children.

But Arizona does have a problem as we’ve pointed out before. We’re paying a ton of money into the system and not getting a good return on our investment. For example, Arizona roughly spends $8,900 per pupil (2013 ADE financial reports). With average classroom size set at 25, $222,500 should be designated per classroom (in the most direct sense). We know that there are other costs but even considering non-classroom related costs, we’re talking about a lot of money that should be going to the classroom that simply is not. That needs to be fixed and Republicans have been working on that for years despite voracious attacks by teacher unions every single session.

Common Core will make matters worse – a lot worse. With a federally driven, top-down approach to educating students, one can imagine what another federal program will do to waste money, time and the lives of our precious children. Scott Smith wants Common Core and he wants the same old big-government approach to educating our children. AIMS was a disaster. No Child Left Behind was a mistake and now Common Core is trying to dig deeper into Arizona’s education system. If Scott Smith gets elected, it will be business as usual and the education establishment wants it and expects it. The next governor of Arizona needs to push back against the Obama’s Department of Education and reject Common Core. Scott Smith won’t do that and its the reason we want you to reject Scott Smith for governor.

Our question is, if all the national conservative organizations (listed below) oppose Common Core, why would any Republican candidate running for Governor in Arizona support it?

Heritage Foundation

CATO Institute

Heartland Institute

Goldwater Institute

Family Research Council

American Enterprise Institute

Americans for Prosperity

Concerned Women for America

RNC-GOP Resolution regarding Common Core

Quiz: Match the Music Video with the Gubernatorial Candidate Campaign

I’m poking a little fun at the Arizona gubernatorial candidates by matching music (or commercial) videos with my take on their campaigns. So here goes. Try to match the music video with the gubernatorial candidate:

Which gubernatorial candidate is playing a high stakes game of political wannabe using her best poser face?

One particular gubernatorial candidate could take a lesson from this rock icon. (And I bet he can even perform as well!)

This gubernatorial candidate hails from the place where this commercial originates and says to speak the language of the fans. 

This song is the theme for which former mayor’s gubernatorial candidate’s campaign? Hint: A tale of two cities.

This gubernatorial candidate is so “hot” no one wants to stand near him!

Finally, this gubernatorial candidate will be singing this on Tuesday night, August 26th.

 

Danny Ray’s Campaign Piece Provokes Questions on the Gubernatorial Race

Yesterday I was visited by a member of Danny Ray’s campaign team here in northeast Mesa and was provided with this piece of campaign literature.

Danny Ray for Mayor Mesa

Of course, I’ve watched the voters of Mesa authorize the mayor and council to take the city deeper into debt through bond elections – against my advocacy and wishes.

But what really provoked my interest was who has been in leadership over the years approving increases in the budget and amount of debt.

Having been the former Communications & Outreach Director for AFP-Arizona, I jumped over to the local government scorecard put out by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation – Arizona to refresh my memory on how the City of Mesa scored. Here’s a screenshot of their performance from 2008-present:

AFPFCityMesaScorecard

 

As you can see, no one on the current council scored anywhere close to taxpayer-friendly. This confirms what Danny Ray has been campaigning on but it also reveals something about the former mayor and his effort to get a promotion to Arizona Governor.

While I like the fact that Danny Ray seems to be an anti-establishment candidate, I’m now wondering just who took Mesa in the direction its currently going and how that might be injected into the gubernatorial race.

Just sayin’