Aug. 28 election on Apache Junction permanent base adjustment, mayor, council members

The 501(c)3 nonprofit Friends of the Library of Apache Junction paid for a “Vote ‘yes’” poster for Proposition 423, in favor of a permanent base adjustment budget. The above poster is at Idaho Road and North Apache Trail. (Photo by Richard H. Dyer, Independent Newsmedia)

Two Apache Junction residents are running for mayor and four for three seats on the council in the Aug. 28 primary election.

Voters will also decide if a permanent base adjustment budget is approved in one election that would be adjusted annually by population and inflation. If approved by voters, the adjustment would be $5.5 million and the city’s budget could be as high as $93 million, which could allow it to fund water, sewer, trash or transit services, officials said.

Apache Junction voters since 1985 have approved every four years a home rule option allowing the budget to be set at the local level. The last vote was in 2016.

All five candidates vying to be mayor or a council member are in favor of the permanent base adjustment budget. The question was posed to the candidates in an e-mailed questionnaire. The full responses can be viewed at apachejunctionindependent.com/neighbors.

Mayor candidates

Jeff Serdy

“This is the easiest question there is. Cities that have made this step have thrived without the undue stress that goes with home rule,” Mayor Jeff Serdy, 58, a candidate for mayor, said.

“It allows us to modernize to our actual ‘real time’ budget instead of 1980 levels. I encourage everyone to vote yes on this item,” he said.

He is owner of AJI Sporting Goods. He has served on the city council since June 2007 and was elected mayor in November 2016, according to ajcity.net/282/Our-City-Council.

Associations listed on the website include Apache Junction Little League coach, volunteer and manager; Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce member; lifetime National Rifle Association member; Governor’s Tourism Advisory Committee board member; Kiwanis; Superstition Horsemen’s Association; Greater Phoenix Economic Council board member; Focal Point and Tourism Committee chairman; Dons Club of Arizona; and founding member of Superstition Business Owner’s Group.

Dave Waldron

“Like most cities and towns in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Apache Junction has seen significant growth since 1978. When the state-imposed formula was originally developed, Apache Junction had a population of less than 10,000. Today, Apache Junction is more than 39,000 residents and is poised for more growth,” Councilman Dave Waldron, 69, a candidate for mayor, said.

The city provides many services it did not provide in 1979, such as its many parks and recreation facilities and programs, library services and programs, a full-time police department, water treatment and distribution, municipal court system, new streets, sidewalks and trails as well as additional parks, he said.

“It is in the best interest of the city and its residents to permanently adjust the state imposed budget base by allowing the city to use the sales tax collected in a balanced budget. This will not raise your taxes; it simply sets a permanent base for budgeting purposes as opposed to the 1979-80 base,” Mr. Waldron said.

His present or most recent business/employment is in IT for Horizon Health and Wellness and IT for CACDD.

Previous public office, boards and commissions include planning and zoning commission, 2000-03; city council (current); vice-chair CAG Regional Council (current); chair of the Pinal County Regional Transportation Authority (current), Mr. Waldron said.

Council candidates

Walker Waldie

“Pinal county is one of the fastest-growing counties in the country and as a growing city, we need to be able to compete for businesses and invest back in our community. By approving the base adjustment, we set ourselves up for future success,” Walker Waldie, 27, a candidate for council, said.

He is general manager at Big O Tires, a new store coming to Apache Junction. He has not served on any boards or commissions, he said.

Robert Schroeder

“For decades Apache Junction has been balancing a budget from the ‘70s with no increase. As a result the vote for home rule has been on the ballot to give the city control on where the monies are spent,” Robert Schroeder, 46, a candidate for council, said.

“Not only will this adjustment allow more money for the city, but increase as we grow as a community,” he said.

Mr. Schroeder is owner of Three Phase Mechanical Air Conditioning and Heating in Apache Junction.

Christa Rizzi

“Every four years we have to spend money by placing this item on the ballot for voter approval in order to use the funds we are currently budgeted for. Should at any time it not pass, the city would not be able to use the funds needed to keep our library, multi-gen center and animal-control center open,” Councilwoman Christa Rizzi, 50, a candidate for council, said.

“We would have to cut funding to our police department and be forced to use the funding formula dated back to 1978 when we first became a city and did not have any of these amenities. A permanent tax base is not in any way a tax increase and the city would actually save money (approximately $30,000) by not having to place this item on the ballot for approval every four years,” she said.

Council candidate Mrs. Rizzi is owner of Arizona Tiremen Services (2008-present); and worked at the Apache Junction Unified School District (2004-15).

Previous public office, boards and commissions include: Apache Junction City Council (2013-present); AJUSD School Board (2016-present); Apache Junction Drug Prevention Coalition (2008-present); Superstition Boys and Girls Club volunteer/member of FOB – (2007-present); Pinal County Juvenile Court Services (2004-16); AJ Planning and Zoning Commission – (2009-13); AJ Health and Human Services – (2008-13); Apache Junction Municipal Property Corporation (2005-13); Apache Junction Industrial Development Authority – (2005-08), she said.

Gail Evans

“The permanent base adjustment is a must. Without this our hands our tied every four years in the home rule,” Councilwoman Gail A. Evans, 65, a candidate for council, said.

“Permanent base saves at least $10,000 every four-year election cycle. The city still can’t spend more than our budget limits, but we won’t lose the ability to spend the money we receive in revenues and have the state tell us what we can spend,” she said.
“Home rule also takes us back to the beginning of the city with one police officer, no parks, no library, etc. It is an very over-reaching extension of state control,” she said.

Mrs. Evans is a semi-retired Realtor and owner of office rentals.

Previous public office, boards and commissions include: being appointed to the city council to fill a vacancy for one year and elected in the following election. That election term was for five years, which ends Dec. 31. She served on the planning and zoning commission for the preceding six years, she said.

See more background on the candidates at:

Present members of the Apache Junction City Council are Mayor Serdy, with a term expiring in 2018; Vice Mayor Chip Wilson, with a term expiring in 2020; Councilwoman Robin Barker, with a term expiring in 2020; Councilwoman Evans, with a term expiring in 2018; Councilwoman Rizzi, with a term expiring in 2018; Councilman Jeff Struble, with a term expiring in 2020; and Councilman Waldron, with a term expiring in 2018.

Editor Richard Dyer can be reached at rdyer@newszap.com

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