Cave Creek malcontents target town manager

By George A. Ross | January 21, 2009

Why have the Malcontents in Cave Creek targeted Usama Abujbarah, the Cave Creek Town Manager? Could it be the fear of progress? Progress is going to occur. The question is: Do you want to be in charge or do you want external forces in charge? How about lack of knowledge? The Malcontents have refused to acknowledge that the founders of Cave Creek chose a Town Manager form of government. The fact is the Town Manager and his staff has more vision than this group. Perhaps it is a combination of three reasons … fear, ignorance and lack of vision. The Malcontents have been unable to win at the ballot box for the past ten years so they seek less democratic measures.

Seven years ago Phoenix got “Home Depot” and sales tax revenue; Cave Creek got the traffic, bright lights and no revenue. A year ago Carefree got “Lowe’s” and sales tax revenue; Cave Creek got the traffic and no revenue. We essentially gave up $1 million in annual sales tax revenue while garnering all the downside. In a recent television news clip, an individual stated, “I am afraid of what is coming.” So, now the fear is “Wal-Mart.” That’s right. “Wal-Mart” has purchased 20 acres in Cave Creek. The property is on the east side of Cave Creek Road, one half mile south of the intersection of Cave Creek Road and Carefree Highway. The acreage needs to be rezoned general commercial. The fear of what is coming is a fear of two and one half million dollars annual sales tax revenue. Cave Creek can control how it looks. Yes, there will be more traffic but “Wal-Mart” wants to develop in this area. We are going to get the traffic anyway. Just think about “Home Depot” and “Lowe’s.”

Do you know what excess revenue has meant to Cave Creek? Horse and hiking trails on Spur Cross Road and School House Road, with more trails to come if we have the excess revenue to build them. Streetscape, a small portion of which was built with excess revenue; eventually the entire core will be pedestrian friendly if the funds exist. Excess revenue has contributed to the success of Fiesta Days, Wild West Days, Fourth of July Festivities and the Film and Arts Festival; all are signature events in Cave Creek. These funds also support the library, museum and animal rescue. These projects and programs help cement the flavor of Cave Creek.

This fringe group now opposes Annexation. They are attempting to undermine annexation with false claims about water issues, costs and ownership. These claims were all exposed as fallacious. The 4,000 acres of “open space” were appraised at $400 per acre by an appraiser recommended to the town by the State Land Department. The group falsely compared developable land purchased by Phoenix at $28,000 per acre to ‘open space’ at $400 per acre. What they fail to acknowledge is the 4,000 acres are zoned ‘open space’ and whoever purchases it at auction will have to maintain the land as ‘open space.’ The land area will remain in and under the control of Cave Creek. Not really what developers have in mind.

This group of Malcontents is now trying to sell the world wide economic recession as a failure on the part of Cave Creek. The truth is Cave Creek has staved off economic collapse for 18 months due to prudent planning. Cave Creek has, and continues to have, money in our cash ready reserve account (rainy day fund). The revised economic plan will allow Cave Creek to weather the next 3 to 5 years. As the world economy recovers Cave Creek will be well ahead of the recovery. None of this has happened in a vacuum. It has been prudent planning and rapid adjustments to economic conditions that will ensure a vibrant future.

Thanks for this goes to the Town Manager, Usama Abujbarah, and his staff. These facts top fear, ignorance, and lack of vision. Let’s support Cave Creek in a positive manner.

George Ross is a retired Marine combat pilot and flew commerical aircraft for 21 years.