Taxpayers covering $377,500 in council pet projects
By Ken Sain
Each year, Chandler City Council members receive a provident fund to spend money on projects they deem important to the community.
This year, board members awarded $10,000 to explore blockchain record keeping, $17,000 for two awards ceremonies that began this year — and an additional $10,000 for Endzone Experience, the Super Bowl party. not sanctioned by the city.
The projects total $377,500 of the $1.35 billion budget approved by the Board last week. Council also approved a capital improvement budget of $1.66 billion.
Vice Mayor Terry Roe voted against the budget amendment package.
“Historically, we’ve talked about these elements individually and that can take a long time,” Roe said. “This year we probably could have done that, forced a vote in a study session, but we didn’t.”
The Council has changed the way it votes on amendments due to the pandemic. In 2020, there were no amendments. Since then, members have voted on them as a group rather than individually.
Roe said he voted against the amendments because he opposed spending $74,000 — the highest amount among individual items — for a solar-powered portable charging station for city-owned vehicles. .
Here is an overview of some of the items the Council has awarded funds to:
Endzone Experience: First off, don’t call it a Super Bowl party. It’s by no means an official NFL event, and the city doesn’t want to fight copyright lawyers. It happens to be around the time the Super Bowl takes place in Glendale on February 12.
Kim Moyers, the city’s director of cultural development, said the Endzone experience will be an event for the community. First, it will allow some young people from Chandler to show off their skills to college recruiters.
“It’s basically working with a lot of high school kids on how if they’re interested in playing at the college level, [or] if you’re so lucky to play at the college level, what it would take to get to the pro level,” she said.
“They’re going to do some, like scrimmages and that kind of stuff so people have the opportunity to see some of the amazing athletes that Chandler has.”
The board had already approved $25,000 for this part of the Endzone experience. Council member OD Harris requested an additional $10,000 from the provident fund to improve it.
Moyers said he plans to hold a number of events on Super Bowl weekend that community members can attend. Since this money has just been approved, they have not planned exactly what these activities will be.
Chandler has some of the best high school football teams in the country, and most college recruiters are already familiar with these programs. Moyers said the Endzone experience would help players other than top stars get noticed. And, she said they hoped to expand it to more than football.
Blockchain Record Keeping: Board member Mark Stewart is a big proponent of blockchain technology. Last year, he helped launch a pilot program to test blockchain voting in municipal elections. Last week, he requested $10,000 for the City Clerk’s Office to study the use of blockchain technology for record keeping and document authentication.
Awards Celebrations: Last year, council members Harris and Christine Ellis hosted special events to honor members of the community and used part of their $7,500 personal expense fund to pay for them.
Next year they want to organize the events again, and this time the money comes from the provident fund. Ellis is planning a First Ladies of Chandler event to honor women leaders in the community. Harris plans to hold another Martin Luther King Jr. event.
The two members requested $10,000 and $7,000 respectively for the celebrations.
Roe only asked for money for one article among the 28 amendments. He joined the rest of Council in asking for $1,000 to complete a Christmas party for seniors living in public housing.
Rene Lopez had the fewest next requests at five, followed by Stewart at seven. Mayor Kevin Hartke made 10 requests, followed by Matt Orlando at 11, Ellis at 15. Harris made the most requests at age 16.
The amounts awarded range from $1,000 to $74,000. The most common amount was $10,000, which was distributed 10 times.
Some of the funded projects support police and fire departments. They voted to give the police department $10,000 for anti-human trafficking equipment and $20,000 for human trafficking training. They gave the fire department $30,000 to convert a vehicle into a mobile cooling station in the event of an incident.
Some of the 28 amendments specifically address diversity in the city, including $10,000 for Chandler Contigo, $10,000 for diversity education for K-12 students, $5,000 for a 19 June and $1,000 for a roundtable focused on businesses owned by women, African Americans and Latinos. .
There’s also $10,000 to recognize area veterans and $10,000 for two new programs for Jazz Appreciation Month. They also approved $10,000 for two new benches for downtown and $15,000 for signage at the Chandler Museum.
Council also agreed to spend $28,000 on a study to determine residents’ interest in renovating Folley Park.