My name is Glenn R. Grossman, and I am running for Carefree Town Council.
I want to keep Carefree the peaceful, serene, beautiful town that it has been since I moved here 16 years ago to marry Tracey, who has lived here 32 years. We have raised our children here. I have been an active member of the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce, including leading the Ambassadors for a time. Many times, my wife Tracey and I worked the gates at the Thunderbird Fine Arts Festival. Prior to that, I was a Scottsdale Mounted Posse man for five years with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Tracey and I have operated an insurance agency in Cave Creek for the past 13 years. Before that, I was a CPA working in public accounting for about 10 years and corporate administration and finance for about 20 years.
I’m seeking office to use my vote on the council to stop property taxes, wasteful spending and out of control development which may destroy the neighborhood feel of Carefree. Like all Carefree voters, I’ve watched while our town has adopted a growth-at-all- costs approach and I want to do what I can to stop it before the town’s charm and character are destroyed. Development is a right, but the town has a right to guide and shape the character of projects so that they fit into the existing neighborhood.
I have been outspoken about retaining Rural Metro Fire Department due to their 50 years of excellent fire and emergency service to our town at a relatively low operating cost. We now have two fully staffed engines in Carefree: 821 and 825, which gives us internal backup service without needing outside resources. However, in dire situations, neighbor always helps neighbor and after careful research, I have learned that we still have that commitment from ours without automatic aid.
However, many have said that we should adopt automatic aid, which would require a new, more expensive fire and emergency service. They are over $1 million per year more expensive plus they require over $500,000 of up-front equipment. I believe the voters should decide on their fire service and if they do pick an automatic aid service, the up-front cost should come from the town’s ($14 million) reserve funds. The additional operating costs will have to come from a re-working of the current town budget, since the only fire service provider which fits in the current budget is Rural Metro. I also believe that automatic aid could be a reason some might give for implementing a property tax, which I am against.
The cost overruns of the Fire Fund disappeared last year. Now that the Hampton Inn is open, we should receive more revenue from bed tax and sales tax. The current town budget can handle the Rural Metro fire and emergency service, but not the proposed automatic aid. I believe that this is an attempt to gain support for property taxes, which I strongly oppose.
Of the two term limit initiatives, I prefer 473, which limits officeholders to two two-year terms. I believe that the initiative on eminent domain is a good law and I support it. It may just throw open the windows on the Carefree Water Consolidation Project, which needs transparency. The land taking, by eminent domain, was highly contentious and not put to a vote. Without a vote, we are encumbering all 2500 plus town homeowners with over $18 million of debt to provide water service to 526 houses that already have water service.
Looking to the future, the recently approved Economic Development Plan has many new projects and initiatives for our citizens’ consideration. The list is extensive: NEC of Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Rd, NWC of Tom Darlington and Carefree Hwy., 45 acres south of Sky Ranch., downtown revitalization, Town Hall relocation, better use of the Amphitheater and more. This is a huge list of projects for our town and each one needs careful consideration. The town must develop in a responsible way, consistent with our current aesthetic character and without any new taxes. Development should always pay for itself.
This is my take on the state of Carefree. We are at a crossroads with significant opportunities and risks. Town administration must carefully plan for a prosperous future without burdening the taxpayers further. It is doable, it just takes good leadership. That is what I hope to help provide. I would appreciate your support and your vote on August 2.
Glenn R. Grossman
Carefree Town Council