Issuu on Google+

42

Opinion

June 21 - July 4, 2014

www.SanTanSun.com

Community Commentary

Letters to the editor

County facing financial issues head on BY DENNY BARNEY

On June 23, Maricopa County supervisors will adopt a $2.2 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. I see four things about this budget that really will stand Denny Barney. Submitted out as positives and photo a couple worrisome trends looming, that if we don’t follow closely could cause us problems in the future. First, the good news: • Overall spending is actually down. Maricopa County will spend less next year than this year. The total County budget will be $2.211 billion, which is $8.6 million less than the current year. And this year’s budget is about $70 million lower than last year’s budget. • Let me share with you a single statistic: 93 percent of all County spending springs from mandates—services required by federal, state, constitutional or court-ordered provisions—or administrative support for these mandated services. The supervisors don’t go around looking for pet projects. We are keenly aware that we are stewards of the taxpayers’ money. The 7 percent that is not mandated is comprised of services Maricopa County residents have asked for, such as check enforcement, County parks and support for mainly grant-funded programs, such as Head Start. • For the first time, Maricopa County has implemented zero-based budgeting. County Attorney Bill Montgomery and I first discussed this as a way to build our budgets from the ground up, with departments justifying all their spending, rather than just justifying changes from the previous year. This way, departments set priorities and focus on their

key strategic goals. County Manager Tom Manos expanded the concept to include several other agencies, mostly in criminal justice and public safety. Because the process went so well this year, more departments have been asked to use zero-based budgeting next year. • This year’s budget allocates $60 million for cash reserves. We believe it is prudent to build those cash reserves back up because the economy is still unpredictable and it is sound finance to always be prepared for the future. I did mention, though, that there are a couple of things that worry me on the horizon: • Yes, the economy has improved. The national unemployment rate is back down to 6.3 percent, a tad higher in Arizona. But the good old days of brisk economic expansion and escalating property values resulting in rising government revenues are gone. We have to adjust to this new reality of modest revenue growth and apply the same discipline in the good years as we have in the down years. Unfortunately, I don’t see revenues rising back to previous levels any time soon, so we must continue to plan accordingly. • In addition, more than 51 percent of our budget is allocated to criminal justice and public safety and the service needs in these areas are growing. For example, in the public defender’s office, a capital murder case costs more than $500,000 if it goes to trial. In contrast, a noncapital case is less than $30,000. As volumes and backlog grow, it gets costly. Even though Arizona is a great place to live, we still face numerous challenges. In Maricopa County, we are trying to face these issues head on so we never are caught by surprise. Denny Barney is a Gilbert resident and chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

Abandoned home problematic to neighborhood Dear editor, Attached you will find pictures of a house abandon by the owner, the bank and the Ocotillo Homeowners Association. The yard has not been cared for in the last six months. There was an attempt at the end of April to mow down the weeds by someone (caused major allergies in our home for three days). On the advice of a lawyer, we (neighbor and I) stopped mowing the front and trimming the trees and bushes in January of this year. The gate is finally locked after an entire year of being left unlocked. The house was open with the back sliding glass door left unlocked (I had a person looking to bid on the house in early February lock the sliding glass door).

A problem is we can’t add chemicals to the pool water left in the pool. Mosquitoes are more evident in the area. God forbid a case of West Nile virus affects the neighborhood this summer. We have witnessed what appears to be individuals canvassing the home. Intent unknown but when we approach, they quickly leave. Our suspicion is they might remove the copper and interior fixtures. Why doesn’t anyone seem to care? The Ocotillo HOA seems at a loss and unable to provide the necessary services to at least maintain the front of the house. The bank has an unreal expectation on value. Now we are getting yard signs placed in the front “We buy homes for cash.” Really? Oh well I got, this off my chest. I don’t expect anything to come of this email. Sincerely, Brent Stark Chandler

Have a story idea or news tip? Know of an interesting photo opportunity? How about positive feedback or constructive comments? We’d like to hear from you. Email us at News@SanTanSun.com.

Share your opinion with SanTan Sun News! We know you have an opinion! Share it with the SanTan Sun News. Unless you’re the mayor, however, please keep your Letters to the editor around 200-300 words, or they may be edited for length. Include your first and last name, community or development name in Southern Chandler (Cooper Commons, Ocotillo, Sun Groves, etc.) or ZIP code and daytime phone number for verification. Anonymous letters are not typically accepted. Email is the preferred submission method, to Letters@SanTanSun.com. All submitted Letters to the Editor and Community Commentaries become the property of the SanTan Sun News and may be reprinted in part, quoting the letters’ authors, or in their entirety. Your submission to the SanTan Sun News is considered your permission to print your written opinion. Opinions expressed in Community Commentaries, Letters to the Editor or cartoons are those of the author, and not that of the SanTan Sun News.

Deadline

MAILING ADDRESS:

PO Box 23 Chandler, AZ 85244-0023 TELEPHONE: (480) 732-0250 FAX: (480) 883-8714 ©2014 SanTan Sun News

For News Tips, Editorial Articles, Opinion or Classifieds, email is preferred. NEWS EMAIL ADDRESS: news@santansun.com ADS EMAIL ADDRESS: ads@santansun.com WEBSITE ADDRESS: www.santansun.com

EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISING: 5 P.M. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2014 FOR THE JULY 5, 2014 ISSUE

35,000 Total Circulation 27,250+ Driveways Fifty square mile coverage area from Price/101 to Greenfield and from Frye to Hunt Highway.

Proud member of the

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

ART DIRECTOR

Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Eric Jelinek

NEWS EDITOR

Helga Benz

PUBLISHER

Tracy House

Steve T. Strickbine

AD DESIGN

WRITERS

PUBLISHER EMERITUS

Laurie Fagen ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES

Jane Meyer Debbie Jennings WEBSITE MAINTAINED BY

Susan Kovacs, n-ergizing

Lynette Carrington Tim J. Randall Alison Stanton Joan Westlake SECTION EDITORS

Kimberly Hosey Sharon McCarson Meghan McCoy Mary Mendoza

LAYOUT

Christine Bryner, Studio 509


Opinion

www.SanTanSun.com

June 21 - July 4, 2014

43

EXPERIENCE THAT ‘MOVES’ YOU!

THE SLAGTER TEAM Top 2% of Realtors in BHHS Network

We refuse to use our friends and probably hurt their feelings, but The Slagter Team is in the details. We used them years ago to purchase our home and now to sell the home and purchase a new build. The builder was non-communicative and the buyer and his agent were a nightmare to deal with. This was also at a very stressful time in our lives personally. It was good to know they were on our side all the way. They fought for us so we could sit back and not worry. We knew they would work hard for us and wrap-up every detail. They are very good at business relationships and negotiations. We would recommend their team to anyone! —Steph M., Gilbert, AZ

Buyer Needed!

SOLD!

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY Home Services

Arizona Properties

Just Reduced!

JUST LISTED!

Mesquite Grove Estates $379,999

Ash Creek at Mendocino $499,900

Seville $319,900

Coronado Ranch $415,000

One of South Chandler’s finest gated communities, 4 BR + den, 2.5 baths, over 2,800 sq ft, stunning courtyard entrance, BBQ island/firepit, upgrades everywhere!

5 BR, 3.5 BA, 3,606 sq. ft., grotto pool w/slide, BBQ, firepit, 1/2 acre, stunning inside!

Entertainer’s dream home in Seville Golf & Country Club. 5 BR, 2.5 baths, 2,934 sq ft., oversized lot, w/pool/spa, loft, waterpark in Seville, golf and more!

Move-in ready, Over 3,800 sq. ft., 4 BR, PLUS loft, PLUS den w/3 full baths on a huge corner lot. Hard to find large home in this market. NO need to upgrade it has everything you need!

INTEGRITY-KNOWLEDGE-TRUST-RESULTS ... Who Will You Hire to Buy or Sell Real Estate? Prices are up—Your home could SELL next... Call Jason, Renee or Jen for Sizzlin’ Summer buyer and seller incentives NOW!

480-297-4836

Text AZ 185 to 32323 for a FREE Mobile Home Search. Receive a FREE Home Value Report at SlagterTeam.com


6 21 2014 stsn p42 43 opinion