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Council approves Spur Cross funds transfer

TARA ALATORRE~ 6/11/2014

CAVE CREEK – The Cave Creek Town Council focused on the future of the town’s infrastructure during last Monday’s council meeting, approving a $1.9 million transfer from the Spur Cross Conservation Fund, approving the tentative budget for 2015, and approving several road improvement projects.
The Spur Cross Fund, which pays for the operation of the park through a half percent sales tax, has been operating with excess money in its coffers for years. Under the unanimous action, $400,000 of the $1.9 million transferred from the Spur Cross Fund will be set aside into the general fund solely dedicated to capital maintenance and repairs, and 50 percent of the remainder is going to a new fund for acquiring open space.
If the $400,000 in the general fund is not used by the end of the year, it will be transferred into the new Open Space Acquisition Fund. The transfer schedule will be reviewed annually by the town council. 
“This is the first council that has taken money and put it aside for open space; we just put $800,000 aside for open space,” said Councilman Reg Monachino about the transfer from the Spur Cross Fund.
Not everyone was happy about the council’s actions, and many citizens came to the meeting to voice their dissatisfaction during the public comment period when the Mayor opened the topic up for discussion.
“You are betraying voters,” said resident Melanie William at the meeting.  “I ask you to think about what you are doing.”
The roads, sewer, and water delivery infrastructure are in need of repair and maintenance, and the town is still millions of dollars in debt. This money will help the town cover important neglected capital improvements, while still covering all costs associated with maintaining Spur Cross, according to the town council.
“Maintenance [Spur Cross] doesn’t cost .5 percent anymore. I think this was an equitable deal,” said Councilman Ernie Bunch.
The council also unanimously authorized the tentative budget through the fiscal year 2015 at $19,583,996, but added an extra $34,000 last minute to cover costs associated with inevitable upcoming recall elections, town hall improvements, and increased insurance costs.
Once the tentative budget is approved, the expenditures cannot be increased only lowered or moved within the budget. The town expects to have over $1.5 million of ending available funds for 2015 an almost one million dollar increase from 2014.
The town council also unanimously authorized an almost $400,000 contract with Cactus Asphalt for mill and overlay work on the town’s roads.  Piggybacking on a deal Carefree already has with the company to improve its roads will lower costs for Cave Creek.
“I don’t think we are going to get a better deal if we pass this up,” said town engineer Wayne Anderson.
The town also purchased 10,000 gallons of fog seal not to exceed $21,685 for maintenance on roads, while reducing residential and non-residential development fees in the town’s code by 20 to 30 percent.         
“I know painting a road really does little to raise our hearts and spirits, I understand that,” said Mayor Vincent Francia.