Spending alternative to be on Cave Creek ballots

By TOM SCANLON
Foothills Focus Staff Writer

Cave Creek is asking voters to approve spending potentially above the state limit.

On Election Day, Tuesday, August 4, Cave Creek voters will decide on an alternative expenditure limitation-home rule option for the town of Cave Creek for the next four years. 

If approved, the town council will determine the amount of the alternative expenditure limitation for the fiscal year after at least one public hearing. This alternative expenditure limitation replaces the state-imposed expenditure limitation.

According to the town, in 2019-20, the state-imposed limit would allow the town to spend around $11 million. 

Under the proposed alternative expenditure limitation, Cave Creek could spend nearly three times that much—$30 million.

Cave Creek has been using the alternative since 1999. Voters most recently approved an alternative expenditure limitation-home rule option in 2016.

If the proposal is rejected, it will require expenditures of the town to be limited by the state-imposed expenditure limit.

According to information provided during a council presentation, a rejection would have dire implications: “The expenditure levels of the town would be reduced to a level that it would not fully support either general governmental functions nor utility operations.”

Robert Weddigen, the town’s finance director, said during a March 16 presentation that many other cities use the alternative.

After Councilman David Smith called it “critical” for the town, Cave Creek Town Council unanimously voted March 16 for the alternative expenditure limitation. 

If the voters approve spending over the state limit, it could go to all areas of town services, including public safety, road maintenance and utilities, plus debt service.