When an incumbent politician has served well, they focus their re-election campaign on communicating their accomplishments. Their opponents are irrelevant. If, however, their record is embarrassing, they often hatefully and inaccurately attack their opponents because they can’t elevate themselves.
Based upon Sanitary District incumbent Jerry Butler’s letter, it appears he’s in that latter category. Instead of refuting his hateful nonsense, I prefer being the adult in the room and comparing his record to what I support.
Mr. Butler strongly advocates tax and fee increases far beyond District needs. Since 2015 fees have increased from $24 per month to $28. This burdened customers by an additional $2.17 million. What “need” did this address? He spent it all building lake park restrooms.
The budget shows these fees will generate surpluses, adding about $4.4 million to fund balances by 2023. One wonders what “pet project” outside the district he’ll use for those surpluses.
I support right-sizing (reducing) fees and only charging what’s necessary to provide quality wastewater services. ARS 48-2018.B specifies use of competitive bidding for capital Sanitary District work. Mr. Butler rejected this method and used the “CMAR” approach by which bidding is avoided and the District can pay as much over market as it chooses through negotiation. The restroom project construction was budgeted at $2.1 million. They “negotiated” it to $2.7 million, 30 percent over budget. I support competitive bidding for capital work.
Regarding Mr. Butler’s imaginary “vendetta,” I recently offered him my hand in thanks for his Dark Skies work. He rejected it and stormed away saying, “I don’t want to talk to you.”
If we’re both elected, I intend to offer him my hand again in the spirit of cooperation. Hopefully by then he’ll be mature enough to take it.