In the January, 1999 State of the State address, Governor Jane Hull announced she was setting aside $2.5 million of state general fund moneys as partial payment for Spur Cross. She gave credit to Senator Jon McCain for his tireless work on saving the ranch. Hull said,
“This could be one of the greatest legacies of the 44th Legislature.”
John McCain said time was running out for him to garner congressional support to preserve Spur Cross.
Governor Hull had been working with Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley to develop a joint preservation proposal.
Stapley explained to the Cave Creek Town Council the county estimated it would provide 50 percent of the purchase price with the state providing the balance. Slightly more than a third of the park budget would go for the purchase of Spur Cross Ranch for two years.
That’s not how it went down.
In February, 1999, the Cave Creek Town Council approved a .5 percent sales tax increase (to 2.5 percent) to fund a portion of the “purchase of Spur Cross Ranch property and/or operations and maintenance costs.” A motion to add language to allow for the preservation and restoration of Spur Cross Ranch was unanimously approved by the entire council.
As summer approached, it wasn’t only the temperature that increased. The moves and counter moves among the various entities and individuals on both sides, development and preservation, of Spur Cross began to heat up as well.