Glendale finances tied to voters, arena, debt
By Lisa Halverstadt
The Arizona Republic
Three variables could dramatically impact Glendale’s bottom line: the possible repeal of the city’s recent sales-tax hike, how much the city will pay a potential Phoenix Coyotes buyer to manage the arena, and whether the city will be able to refinance its debt on a spring-training ballpark.
City leaders are in negotiations with potential Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison. Voters will weigh in on the sales-tax initiative in November. And an attempt to refinance debt likely is further out.
The loss of the sales-tax hike would mean slashing $11 million this fiscal year and $25 million the following year, about 14 percent of the general fund.
Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete (pictured) has asked for lists of potential cuts from every city operation, from public safety to parks and recreation. He plans to return to the Glendale City Council with options, possibly next week.
The concerns follow a difficult budget process this past spring when a council majority closed a $35 million shortfall by laying off 49 employees, cutting departments and increasing the city’s sales-tax rate.
A business group, concerned by the 0.7 percentage-point hike and the lack of communication from the city, soon gathered support for a ballot initiative to reverse the tax increase. Voters will decide on the measure Nov. 6.
Ahead of voters’ decision, Skeete is preparing budget scenarios.