By Alison Steinbach | Arizona Republic
Mesa has operated its finances differently from most Phoenix-area cities for the past 75 years. Residents don’t pay a primary property tax, but more than $100 million from their utility payments prop up other city operations.
Nearly a third of the city’s utility revenue pays for items that have nothing to do with utilities.
City Councilman Jeremy Whittaker is leading a citizen initiative to change that, saying residents’ utility bills would drop if Mesa scaled back its use of those funds on areas unrelated to utilities.
Even a bond-rating agency has raised concerns, and dinged the city’s credit rating, over the city’s long practice of transferring the utility funds without any formalized policy that would set limits.Mesa City Councilman Jeremy Whittaker is pushing a ballot initiative to cap the amount of utility revenue the city can spend on non-utility projects and services.