Carefree Mayor Peterson Writes… JUNE 2018

Why a Change of Strategy and “Economic Development” are so Important to Carefree

In the 30-plus years after Carefree was incorporated, the Town’s annual revenues have been higher because of sales taxes on construction materials for all of the new homes that were built. In total, this amounted to some $40 million to $50 million. The Town government during those years used these incremental funds wisely, making capital purchases to benefit all of Carefree’s residents. But the building of new housing stock is slowing as Carefree approaches build-out, so this historically strong, supplemental revenue stream generated by construction related sales taxes will be decreasing in the future.

In addition, all municipalities draw a significant portion of their annual revenues from the state. The state collects taxes and then re-distributes a portion of these to the municipalities throughout the state on the basis of population. These revenues to Carefree have been steadily declining.

The combination of these two annual income reducing factors for Carefree, combined with inflationary driven higher costs for the Town to deliver the services our residents would like to receive, creates a new and different financial reality for Carefree. It required a new strategy for the Town to face the anticipated revenue shortfall in the future.

After an exhaustive review of all of the available options, the primary option that remained was to facilitate the renovation of downtown properties and to allow commercial development on a selective basis at high traffic intersections to generate additional sales tax dollars.

We refer to this option as “economic development.” The first step in this process was renovations to existing business structures, and we are pleased to note that the renovations at Bashas’, Civana and Spanish Village are the initial examples of the Town working with the owners of these properties. And, more renovations and new construction projects are in the pipeline.

Achieving this economic development is both complex and lengthy. Private ownership of appropriate properties, legal restrictions upon municipalities and a host of other factors make achieving success in economic development an extended process. We are making excellent progress on many fronts, and we are confident of bringing a number of these projects to closure in the years to come.

To learn more about the Town of Carefree, call 480.488.3686 or visit

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