Prop. 401 & 402 Explained
PROPOSED BY INITIATIVE PETITION
OFFICIAL TITLE: AMENDING TITLE XV: LAND USAGE; OF THE TOWN CODE OF PAYSON ARIZONA TO REQUIRE DIRECT ELECTION BY QUALIFIED ELECTORS OF THE TOWN FOR ANY LONG TERM LEASE AGREEMENT EXCLUDING INTER-GOVERNMENT, WATER DEPARTMENT AND AIRPORT COMMISSION LEASES.
DESCRIPTIVE TITLE: “TRANSPARENCY IN PAYSON LEASE TERM PROVISIONS” WILL REQUIRE A DIRECT VOTE FOR ANY “LEASE AGREEMENT” OF TOWN REAL PROPERTY, ORIGINATING OR RENEWAL, BE SUBJECT TO A DIRECT VOTE TO ENACT AND OR AUTHORIZE.
A “YES” vote shall have the effect of requiring a direct vote for any “Lease Agreement” of Town real property, originating or renewal, with a stated, or extended, period, of more than three years, excluding inter-governmental agreements, excluding Water Department agreements, excluding utility and communication providers, and excluding Airport Commission agreements, be subject to a direct vote of approval for any “Lease,” requiring a Town vote to enact and or authorize. By adopting this Town Code Ordinance, the People of Payson, Arizona affirm their desire to prevent the long term private use of Town land without their direct consent.
A “NO” vote shall have the effect of retaining existing law, which allows for all “Lease Agreements” of Town real property as deemed appropriate by the Town Council and or Town Staff.
PROPOSED BY INITIATIVE PETITION
OFFICIAL TITLE: AMENDING CHAPTER 35: PURCHASING, OF THE TOWN CODE OF PAYSON, ARIZONA TO REQUIRE DIRECT ELECTION BY QUALIFIED ELECTORS OF THE TOWN FOR ANY BOND ISSUANCE, OR CONTRACT DEBT, BY THE TOWN SECURED IN WHOLE OR PART BY TOWN REVENUE WITH A VALUE IN EXCESS OF ONE MILLION DOLLARS ($1,000,000.00).
DESCRIPTIVE TITLE: “TRANSPARENCY IN PAYSON DEBT OBLIGATION ORDINANCE” WILL REQUIRE A DIRECT VOTE FOR ANY BOND ISSUANCE THAT HAS A “COMBINATION” AND OR “DOUBLE BARREL” FEATURE IN THE INDENTURE AGREEMENT, OR ELSEWHERE, BE TREATED AS A “GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND” AND BE SUBJECT TO A DIRECT VOTE TO ENACT AND OR FUND.
A “YES” vote shall have the effect of requiring a direct vote for any Contract / Lease Debt incurred by the Town with an original amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) or greater requiring a direct vote to enact and or fund. Any Revenue Bond for Financing or Debt that has a “Combination” and or “Double Barrel” feature in the indenture agreement, or elsewhere in the Bond terms, shall be treated as a General Obligation Bond, requiring a vote of the Qualified Electors to enact and or fund. For the purpose of this Ordinance FINANCING or DEBT shall be defined as any debt, bond, note, loan, inter-fund loan, fund transfer, or other debt service obligation used to finance the development or expansion of a capital facility or lease of a facility.
A “NO” vote shall have the effect of retaining existing law, which allows for all forms of debt, excluding General Obligation Bonds, as deemed appropriate by the Town Council and or Town Staff.
A Brief Description of Prop. 401 & 402
By Paul Frommelt
Misinformation and false claims have spread in Payson over the past five years regarding Propositions 401 and 402. Sadly, it appears many members of our Town government and writers for the Roundup have never taken five minutes to read these documents, which the citizens of Payson approved in August 2018 by 60%. They should. Perhaps then they may understand why they are crucial in protecting our Town’s working-class taxpayers, and Payson’s way of life. Below are simple arguments favoring these propositions, which are now part of the town code and ordinance.
Proposition 401 requires a vote of the Citizens before entering into a long-term lease agreement on the publicly owned property of three years or longer. The Town Code was modified to require a public vote for any lease of Town real property, such as parks, activity centers, or other properties. The Proposition has specific exemptions for utilities, telecommunications, intergovernmental lease agreements, water department, and airport commission lease agreements.
The public lands owned by the Town are owned for the use of all the Citizens of Payson: Not for the exclusive use or benefit of a few by exploiting Town assets by private entities, with little to no oversight potential. Proposition 401 does NOT preclude long-term leases, stifle growth, or impede development. It simply requires that the matter be placed before the Citizens on any project that impacts Town land via a long-term lease agreement.
The Citizens of Payson collectively know and can intelligently control the best and highest use of public lands. Proposition 401 established that the Citizens held this decision process exclusively and modified Town Code to honor that right.
Proposition 402 provided Citizen oversight by requiring complete information on source funding for Payson debt obligations. Traditionally, a ‘General Obligation’ bond would be subject to the will of the voters. Hybrid finance agreements or creative debt,’ which include ‘Combination’ or ‘Double Barrel’ bonds, and long-term lease agreements, are being used by governments to circumvent voters’ input as they require no direct Citizen vote.Proposition 402 prevented using such financial instruments, at the local level, without a direct vote of the Citizens who are ultimately responsible for the debt. Proposition 402 provided greater transparency in the financial details of local government debt.
Town Code was modified to ensure this right to protect Citizen’s input on the expenditure of tax dollars, and to require a direct vote for any form of ‘debt’ incurred by the Town that is backed by your tax dollars when the debt exceeds one million ($1,000,000.00) dollars. The Proposition does NOT prevent fully funded debt, such as ‘Revenue Bonds,’ being issued.
The Town has even argued that the people never had the legal right to place the propositions on the ballot. However, the State of Arizona Constitution says otherwise. Article 4, section 1. (2) states, in part:
“Initiative power. The first of these reserved powers is the initiative. Under this power, ten percent of the qualified electors shall have the right to propose any* measure, and fifteen percent shall have the right to propose any* amendment to the constitution.”
Fiscal responsibility is the key to long-term growth and development. The Citizens of Payson, as taxpayers, are best able to authorize expenditures or impose fiscal control. Proposition 402 established that the Citizens hold the decision-making process exclusively on matters of long-term debt.
One must ask, “Why are our Town Council and Town Manager so intent on circumventing these voter-approved ordinances?” It appears simple. It takes the tax and spending power from their hands and empowers the citizens of Payson. They don’t like that!
Perhaps it’s past time our Town government stopped fighting the people they are supposed to represent and work FOR (we) the people, not AGAINST them!
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