Budget shenanigans

Cave Creek FY2020 Budget is a flawed document.

Everyone recognizes that a document based on a flawed process will produce a flawed document. Some Council members expressed concern that the budget adoption process was flawed, but did nothing to address the issue.

Why was the process flawed? Here are the facts. Arizona law (A.R.S. 42-1701) requires a tentative budget to be approved on or before the third Monday in July (July 15th, 2019). Notwithstanding, the Council was misled and rushed to approve the tentative budget at the council meeting on May 21, 2019. When questioned  by a resident why the rush and why no citizen input? What happened to the usual budget workshops? Why was the public intentionally shut out? The excuse offered by Robert Weddigen, Finance Director was “It was a time factor”. That was not true. The Council had plenty of time – two months – to comply with the law, schedule workshops, and approve a tentative budget. It was not required to approve the tentative budget until July 15th, 2019.

Since there is no specific date set by state law for adoption of the final budget, then why did the Council immediately adopt the final budget on July 15th, 2019? Why were the residents of Cave Creek deprived of the very important transparency required in the adoption of such an important document? 

Also, it should be noted that the financial projections for 2020 are not realistic and overstated. This further exacerbated the approval of such a huge budget.

The most egregious problem with the “secrecy” of adopting a $30 Million budget with unreasonable revenue projections is the fact that there was never any citizen input to challenge these aggressive financial projections. For example: The dramatic and unprecedented estimated 18% increase in sales tax revenue. “Local revenue estimates turn out to be too generous can come back to haunt town administrators. This is why it is extremely important that estimates be reasonably accurate or even conservative”. (League of Arizona Cities and Towns)

Bottom line, we were all misled and deceived, and now we are saddled with a budget exceeding $30 MILLION.

Eileen Wright
Former Cave Creek Councilwoman