Glendale, Ariz., officials are developing a five-year plan to deal with the end of a 0.7% sales tax set to expire in 2017.
The tax was levied starting Aug. 1 to deal with a revenue shortfall in fiscal 2013 and to fund a $17 million annual operating fee for the city-owned Jobing.com Arena. The tax is expected to bring in $20 million a year.
City manager Horatio Skeete told the City Council last week that advice would be sought from business and financial experts at Arizona State University’s business school and the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
The withdrawal plan will include an effort to replace the expired tax revenue by attracting new businesses to the Phoenix suburb, Skeete said.
The tax may end even sooner if opponents succeed in placing a referendum on the city’s November ballot. Glendale is appealing a ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals that ordered the city to include the tax increase on the Nov. 6 ballot.
A group of business leaders calling themselves “Save Glendale Now” collected 4,100 signatures, more than twice what was required to submit the initiative to voters.
Glendale officials said information on the petitions seeking the referendum was misleading and invalid. The court rejected the city’s contention and agreed with the tax opponents that the question should be on the ballot.
The Arizona Supreme Court accepted written arguments on the case last week. A ruling is expected by Sept. 7, the last day questions can be added to the ballot.
Skeete said delays in the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team have reduced the likelihood that the city soon can refinance bonds it issued to build a baseball spring training complex.
“The financial community has pretty much rebuffed us on every front because of the incompletion of the Coyotes,” he told the council.