Mesa voters face a challenging ballot in the March 9 primary that includes 15 measures that range from minor charter changes to $331 million worth of bonds to keep up with growth. This in addition to elections for mayor and three of the city's six council seats.
Mesa residents who want to keep their city operating efficiently, who want basic services such as public safety and public projects like parks and flood control to keep up with continued population growth, who want to keep the local tourism economy healthy but who want to curb the city's power to condemn private property for questionable projects should vote “Yes” on all but one measure.
Propositions 101, 102 and 103 could be classified as City Charter housekeeping measures put on the ballot by the mayor and council.
But Proposition 104, an initiative requiring public votes on virtually every proposed city recreational facility costing at least $1.5 million, would seriously jeopardize future ball fields, parks and pools — not to mention increase their cost. Municipal pools, for example, cost at least $2.5 million, while four-field baseball and softball complexes cost at least $3.3 million.
The city has done a good job meeting recreational needs as the city grows, and many facilities that are financed with bonds are put to public votes anyway. The Tribune recommends a “NO” vote on Proposition 104.
Proposition 105, meanwhile, is a timely initiative that puts a reasonable curb on the city's eminent domain power not already imposed by the courts or the Legislature. It would prohibit the city from selling lands obtained through condemnation for 10 years. This would have the healthy effect of making sure city officials condemned only property needed for legitimate public projects.
The Tribune recommends a “Yes” vote on Proposition 105.
Question 1 would renew Mesa's “home rule” authority to spend revenues it takes in, while Questions 2 through 9 authorize bond financing for municipal utilities, flood control, emergency services, public safety, parks and streets. These are sound measures needed to keep up with growth and should be approved by voters.
Question 10 would raise the city's motel and hotel bed tax from 2.5 percent to 3 percent, with the increased revenues used to market Mesa to tourists. Mesa's Convention and Visitors Bureau supports the increase, and so should voters.