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Report: Proposed fiscal year 2023-24 Scottsdale municipal budget balances burgeoning local economy

The RUNDOWN: Scottsdale proposed FY 2023-24 budget:
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
Scottsdale’s workforce:

The General Fund proposed operating budget for next fiscal year is a $44.1 million increase from the FY 2022/23 adopted budget. Most expenses are related to funding the city’s high-performance workforce and providing pay and benefit packages that allow the city to retain and recruit employees. Hiring and retaining a skilled workforce is crucial to providing quality service to citizens and visitors.

While increasing staff is proposed, the city is still below pre-Great Recession (2009/10) staffing levels. These new staff are critical to maintaining and improving performance in several priority areas including short-term rental licensing and compliance; cybersecurity; crime prevention, police crisis response, traffic enforcement and municipal security; maintenance and repair of sidewalks, paths and trails; solid waste collection; and water policy and planning.

Community investments:

The operating budget provides money for significant community investments including funding for public art restoration (including repainting “The Path Most Travelled” along Loop 101), replacing critical library technology infrastructure, completing the Indian School Park Master Plan, funding a comprehensive Shade and Tree Master Plan, and modernizing cooling towers at city buildings to improve efficiency and save water.

A proposed Scottsdale Promise program would allow all eligible Scottsdale residents to attend Scottsdale Community College for two years with Arizona resident tuition and fees fully funded. This initiative was brought forward by the City Council Subcommittee on Education.

Capital Improvement Plan:

The proposed budget also addresses rising materials and labor costs impacting capital construction projects. The proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget for FY 2023/24 is $1,428.0 million including contingencies.

Projects funded in the next year will address critical capital infrastructure needs in a variety of areas and are supported by different funding sources. Highlights include upgrading cybersecurity capabilities; expanding the solid waste transfer station to add household hazardous materials and green waste disposal facilities; funding pavement and alley overlay projects, upgrading traffic signal detection and enhancing sidewalk ramps and signal push buttons for those with disabilities.

Scottsdale property and sales tax rates remain low:

General Fund revenues are estimated to increase by $47.3 million from the adopted FY 2022/23 budget. That total projected increase comes from several different sources, including a projected increase in the city’s proportionate slices of state shared income tax, sales tax, and vehicle license fees; additional primary property tax collections; and from building permit fees and charges.

The city’s proposed FY 2023/24 primary property tax rate, which funds services like police and fire protection and parks, is $0.5150 per $100 of a property’s assessed value. Its secondary tax rate, which helps pay down city debt, is $0.4664 per $100. Scottsdale’s combined property tax rate is generally among the lowest among major Valley cities.

Scottsdale’s sales tax rate is 1.75% for most business activities. The city uses these revenues to finance various city services including police, fire, parks, libraries and streets. The combined sales tax rate in Scottsdale (8.05%) is one of the lowest among Valley cities. (The combined rate includes the 5.6% state sales tax and 0.7% Maricopa County sales tax.)

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