Why is there so much controversy about what is going on in the Town of Carefree? There are so many misunderstandings and half truths floating around, it is hard to know who and what to believe.
After 5 years on Council, let me try to shed some light.
First, none of us are career politicians. None of us is looking to run for higher office. We are your neighbors working for the betterment of our Town. We don’t suggest that we have all of the answers nor that there are in some instances other and better ways to do things. But without any other input we have to trust our experience and knowledge of the issues.
- Most importantly, how can we protect water, our most precious resource, in the arid desert? We must ensure representation for all Carefree residents and property owners during this generational drought, enhance our water storage capacity and diversify the Town’s water. In light of looming water shortages, an ambivalent approach would violate our fiduciary responsibilities to the community. That is unacceptable given the gravity of the drought.
- Yes, we financed $18.5MM to accomplish this water improvement plan to ensure a more resilient water delivery system. It is customary in communities around the nation and world to spread the costs of water improvements as well as other community infrastructure over an extended period of time. This approach allows for future residents to share in the costs of infrastructure improvements that they will also benefit from. Can we provide safe and reliable water without the course we are currently following?
- Why were the identified solutions the best solution? We had industry leading water engineers, CVL conduct an extensive modeling of the water system and engineer the most efficient and cost effective improvements to the water delivery system within the Town. This includes the underground water reservoir now under construction along Tom Darlington. By the end of summer, the desert revegetation process will be completed and this state-of the-art underground reservoir will become an integral part of the Town’s water delivery system.
- Unfounded accusations of secret land deals are out right fabrications to smear the factual evidence and open and transparent decision process associated with all Town decisions.
- Narrowing lanes on the Town’s perimeter may seem to some as a pain, but after a series of Town Council discussions with our Town Engineer, we made that decision to facilitate safer crosswalks. While I am empathetic to those who object to merging and slowing, it is the logical solution. If anyone has other other solutions to create safer pedestrian crossings we would love to hear them.
- The hotel within the Town Center complied with the long standing Town Center commercial zoning. Similar to an individual residential lot, the private property owner must comply to these standards and building codes. This hotel met those standards. Many Town Center restaurant owners and businesses have attended Town Council meetings to express their support for the hotel and outlined how it will benefit the local economy. The new General Manager of the hotel also attended a recent Council meeting to express how they will be a positive contributor to the Carefree community and have hired approximately 20 nearby residents.
- The other areas of development are the northwest corner of Carefree Highway and Tom Darlington and the northeast corner of Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Road. These areas will help generate sales taxes to support our Town services (most notably streets, fire and police). To those opposed to these economic development efforts, how would you propose to fund important Town services?
- Carefree, is a low density, high quality residential community. The economic development strategy of the Town is not to change this but to find complementary parts and preserve our residential communities. In doing so, it is important to recognize that the Town’s sales tax centric model needs to be carefully reviewed to insulate the Town from financial risk. This is why we have openly discussed and continue to openly discuss the Town’s economic development strategies.
Everyone of the above projects has been discussed and voted upon in public open meetings. There were numerous opportunities along the way to raise objections and offer alternative solutions.
Your Town Staff and Town Council have been working on these issues for years. We are confident that we can provide water, good streets, fire and police protection without changing the very core of the Town.
If you have other points of view, which many of you do, please come grab a cup of coffee and let’s discuss your ideas. I am your neighbor NOT a politician, volunteering my time to better our community. Let’s work together.
Carefree Council Member