Which measures on the May 18 ballot relate to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve?
Question 1 and Question 2 are related to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
Question 1 proposes raising the sales tax rate by 0.15 percent (or 15 cents for
every $100 in purchases) to fund additional land purchases and improvements to
public access areas in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
Question 2 would authorize the city to use revenue from the additional preservation
tax proposed in Question 1, if approved by the voters, to make payments on bonds
that would facilitate preserve purchases.
Doesnt the city already have a sales tax for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve?
Yes. Voters approved a 0.2 percent sales tax (or 20 cents for every $100 in purchases)
for preserve funding in 1995. That tax is in effect until 2025.
If the city will continue collecting the existing tax until 2025, why is an added tax
needed to purchase more land?
The city has used voter-approved financing to buy as much preserve land as possible
before its value escalates. Scottsdale has committed all existing tax revenues for land
purchases made to date.
How much land has the city purchased?
The city has purchased more than 8,600 acres. Thousands of acres also have been
protected through zoning restrictions, donations and other methods.
How much will the additional tax raise?
City staff estimates that it will raise about $12 million annually.
How much more land is the city planning to acquire?
There are approximately 20,000 acres remaining to be considered for acquisition
within the 36,400 acre planned preserve boundary.
What will happen to lands designated for preservation if the city is unable to
Based on current zoning, the city estimates about 6,500 residences could be built on
the land, along with businesses, schools and other associated development.
What happens to lands that become part of the preserve?
Practically all of the land will remain in a natural state for perpetuity. Working with citizens
and conservation experts, the city has developed a plan that will allow people to enjoy the
preserve while protecting the ecology of the desert, mountains and washes. The plan
prohibits the use of motorized vehicles or the construction of buildings, other than those
that support passive recreation use on preserve lands. The plan calls for the eventual
development of nine public access points and more than 100 miles of trails for use by hikers,
equestrians and mountain bike riders.
Why is the city proposing to sell bonds to finance preserve land purchases?
Bonds allow the city to obtain cash needed for land purchases up front and then pay
them off over an extended period. Scottsdale has been able to obtain low interest rates
on its bonds because the city has high
What if voters approve only one of the two preserve-related measures?
If voters reject the tax proposed in Question 1, the city cannot issue new preserve
bonds, regardless of the vote on Question 2.
If voters approve the tax proposed in Question 1, but reject bonding authority by
denying Question 2, the city will collect the additional tax and will buy land on a
pay-as-you-go basis. The purchases will take place at a much slower pace and
the city may not be able to purchase as much land.
Will the additional tax complete the preserve?
That is unknown. The additional tax will provide funds necessary for the city to
continue purchasing property for the preserve. Without the tax, Scottsdale will
be unable to purchase additional land for the preservation purposes. It is difficult
to forecast exactly how much land the additional tax will fund, because many
factors are outside the citys control such as the strength of the economy and
the amount of revenue that may be raised, fluctuations in interest rates and land
prices, and possible changes in laws governing the sale of state lands.
For more information, call the Communications and Public Affairs Office
at (480) 312-2335.