7/29/2013 10:50:00 AM Non-profits at heart of facilities district fairness issue
Stepping Stones, a nonprofit organization, is one of several businesses in the Parkway Community Facilities District that is not required to help pay for improvements because of its tax status.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Ken Hedler Special to the Tribune
Town government officials are trying to resolve concerns about nonprofit entities being exempt from paying into a commercial community facilities district on both sides of Highway 69 west of Glassford Hill Road.
Exempting the nonprofits means businesses within the Parkway CFD are paying more into the CFD, which the town created in 2006 to pay for frontage road improvements. The nonprofits also are exempt from paying property taxes.
The Town Council, meeting as the CFD board, issued $3.4 million in general obligation bonds Oct. 25, 2006. Bond debt service requirements run to July 15, 2031, according to Town Manager Larry Tarkowski, who doubles as CFD district manager.
Property owners began paying 30 cents per $100 in secondary assessed valuation annually to cover maintenance and operations in the 28.2-acre district, according to a staff report to the council from Tarkowski.
Tarkowski acknowledged in the report that reclassifying parcels within the district as nontaxable arose as an issue after the town formed the CFD. They include a charter school and other nonprofits.
Those exempt property owners constitute the approximately 20 percent of the original secondary assessed value that has been lost, Tarkowski's report stated.
Tarkowski and staff recommended two options, and the council meeting as the CFD board adopted a resolution to that effect Thursday.
One option involves requiring direct contributions toward bond payments. The second option entails an alternative "fee" for the nonprofits to pay for off-street parking.
The options would go into effect in 2014.
"We need to have fair business practices that benefit all," Vice Mayor Lora Lee Nye said.
None of the property owners or representatives from the nonprofit entities spoke during the meeting.
Robin Burke, chief executive officer at Stepping Stones Agencies, said she was unaware the issue was on the agenda but acknowledged the perceived unfairness.
"I think the town has a point about not-for-profits paying into that CFD," Burke said. "I am definitely willing to look at that (standpoint) from the town."
A Stepping Stones contractor requested $20,020 in federal Community Development Block Grant money during a public hearing that took place during the regular portion of the council meeting.
Stephanie Parrish requested the amount to pay for a security gate and operating system for the domestic violence shelter, and new flooring and a heating/air-conditioning system for transitional housing for domestic violence victims.
She spoke out because Deputy Town Manger Ryan Judy announced that he plans to apply to the Arizona Department of Housing for $300,000 in CDBG money. CDBG money must be used to benefit people of modest incomes, remove blight, eliminate a threat to public health or one or more of the three.
Judy suggested using the CDBG money to continue improvement along Loos Drive east of Robert Road, such as sidewalks.
Councilman Stephen Marshall, an Iraqi war veteran, suggested using the money to help an estimated 80 to 90 homeless veterans in Prescott Valley.
Judy responded that Marshall would need to present a specific project to serve the veterans.
Ryan said he will prioritize the list this coming week.
Also during the meeting:
Councilwoman Mary Mallory displayed wide-angle photos of American flags at the first Healing Field ceremony from this past September. She also talked about supplying 3,000 flags for this year's ceremony to honor 3,000 people who died during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Central Yavapai Fire District for providing broadcasting and recordings of CYFD meetings to be conducted in the library auditorium, where the council meets.