Opinion Piece by Jen Barber, Goodyear Resident
No doubt Goodyear is growing quickly. It seems mid-Goodyear is the center of a lot of action this week. Mid-Goodyear has seen land sales well over appraisal price and we've taken a look at taxpayer dollars being spent here.
HYBRID LEASED NEW-HOME OPTIONS COMING TO GOODYEAR
LET'S GO FOR A WALK DOWN VAN BUREN...
GOODYEAR MUNICIPAL COMPLEX LAND FOR LEASE OR SALE?
Monday, June 5, 2017
During a Goodyear City Council Special meeting, Council convened into a private, Executive Session to "discuss leasing or selling City-owned real estate." Council also was to "discuss the City's position on negotiations for the lease of portions of GMC" or - what we can guess - is the Goodyear Municipal Complex. We say "guess" because the discussions are not made public and we were unable to confirm from the City if "GMC" is the GMC we know to be the Goodyear Municipal Complex. (If there's another GMC in Goodyear we've overlooked, please contact us.)
However, if the City is looking to sell or lease portions of the land in the Goodyear Municipal Complex, it could be quite interesting. From what we understand, the City of Goodyear agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars OVER the appraisal price of the land which we know as the Goodyear Municipal Complex just two years ago.
Let's back up a minute.
In December 2014, Goodyear City Council unanimously voted to approve the purchase of approximately 7 acres of property at $4 per square foot. We went back through City records and found the following discussion and staff notes on this.
Goodyear's municipal complex is the area near Van Buren Street and Bullard Avenue. It's home to the Goodyear Library, Police Department, 911 Center, Court, Fire Department, etc.
The 911 Center property was purchased in late 2012. This additional 7 acres - approved in December 2014 - was needed to build the new, and quite frankly much needed, police department.
At the December 2014 Council Meeting, the City said it evaluated a number of sites and scored the properties against the needs and wants of the City being…
This team who chose this property also kept the Council’s priorities in mind when selecting this property. The criteria included
This location scored highest based on its transportation corridors and connectivity north and south in the city.
Linda Beals, the Real Estate Coordinator for the City of Goodyear said they went back and forth in negotiations several times with the seller, “The bottom line was, what we were able to come up with, was a negotiated sales price of $4 a square foot.” Beals says the sales price was within the range of sales within the City. The closing costs were estimated at another $10-15,000.
Beals stated the huge savings on this property was the infrastructure. Some of it had already been brought in by surrounding developments.
COUNCIL DISCUSSION ON THE PURCHASE PRICE
The appraisal was $3.00 per square foot with a total amount of $915,000. And we negotiated a $4.00 per square foot?” ~Councilmember Campbell
Councilmember Stipp said - at the time in 2014 - they were hearing from businesses that the rents are higher in Goodyear. “But, so is the quality of the community and quality of the centers they buy and etc.”
Mayor Lord said it "makes sense" to acquire this land adjacent to existing city properties.
"It actually is at the request of our citizens. When we did the City Center plans, the residents were very clear that they did not want the police department or any other facility near the City Hall. They wanted them in their own complex. And although we would all like to see it at a lesser price, but that’s market, and you have to say, “Hooray for Goodyear” that we are at market because that’s the market that’s attracting homes and businesses," comments Mayor Lord.
THE GOODYEAR "GOLD MINE"
Given the developments this week, it seems the seller was right. The location is a "gold mine" and expansion of the area is happening quickly.
We do not know why the City wants to potentially sell this land. Of course, would the City get its money back on this land? We'd assume so... giving the NexMetro sale went for $4.19 per square foot. But, it's anyone's guess. And... that's assuming "GMC" under discussion is the Goodyear Municipal Complex. (For clarity, we are only guessing Monday's discussion of GMC was in regards to the Goodyear Municipal Complex. Goodyear would not confirm this.)
The notice shows Goodyear intends to raise its Primary Property Taxes by 2%.
THIS PROPOSED INCREASE IS EXCLUSIVE OF INCREASED PRIMARY PROPERTY TAXES RECEIVED FROM NEW CONSTRUCTION. THE INCREASE IS ALSO EXCLUSIVE OF ANY CHANGES THAT MAY OCCUR FROM PROPERTY TAX LEVIES FOR VOTER APPROVED BONDED INDEBTEDNESS OR BUDGET AND TAX OVERRIDES. ~City of Goodyear
JEN'S TWO CENTS
This spring, voters re-elected Mayor Lord. Councilmembers Pizzillo and Campbell are going into their 3rd four-year terms. And Brannon Hampton was elected in a runoff to fill outgoing Councilmember Sharolyn Hohman's seat. The inauguration is Monday, June 12th. We wish them all the best.
We should note, Hampton's challenger Sara Gilligan went to Council on June 5th speaking in favor of moving City elections to the same election cycle as the State of Arizona. Those are held in the fall of even numbered years. This has been discussed at length in the City of Goodyear over the years. In 2011, the Goodyear Votes grassroots group pushed for Goodyear to move its election cycle to no avail. I have no horse in this race. But, I will say, running for Council as a candidate can be outrageously expensive. (We found candidates in the spring election for Goodyear City Council spent anywhere from $7,000 to $14,000. That's for a job that only pays $9,2000 a year.) And the cost to the taxpayers for spring elections is questionable. So, I'll grab my popcorn and wait for the City's response on Gilligan's request.
An attractive city needs landscape improvements, art, and all those pretty things. But, $240,000 for library and City Hall hardscape and landscaping improvements seems high. With the dire need for fire stations in Goodyear, I'd like to see the City reserve more funds to get these projects completed first. The Goodyear Capital Improvement Plan shows funding for the much needed station in west Goodyear not kicking in till 2021-22. Parks are nice. But, I'd like to see more priority for funding safety first. Just my two cents.
For some historical reading regarding the land around the Goodyear Ballpark: Link
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Barber is a Goodyear resident resident of almost 20 years and a retired broadcast news journalist. Involved in various nonprofit and city organizations since 2008, Barber has a unique view of what's happening in the West Valley of Arizona.