Gilbert traffic relief measure one of many up for approval

East Valley Tribune
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Beth Lucas

Gilbert voters will be asked to approve several provisions on Tuesday’s ballot, including a $174 million bond issue aimed at improving town roads and an $82 million school construction bond package.

Town and school district officials argue proceeds from the bond issues, repaid through homeowner property taxes, will fill vital needs in the growing area.

Traffic congestion is the biggest complaint throughout the town, said Town Councilman Don Skousen.

“If you want to keep driving on roads like they are, I guess it’s OK,” he said. “If you want some changes, we better get some money to get it done.”

But a Gilbert tax advocate who often opposes tax increases said residents should be wary of approving every request for money, which could ensure a continual rise in their property taxes.

“One of the reasons why taxes are going up in some pockets around the country is voter-approved bonds and overrides,” said Gilbert resident Kevin McCarthy, president of the Arizona Tax Research Association. “And it raises a question whether or not voters completely understand the scope of the request and how much their taxes are going to go up if they vote for these.”

Skousen called the advice archaic and said the opponents should, “drive Higley Road the way working people drive, then tell them we don’t need to spend many money on roads.”

Here’s a look at local elections Tuesday:


• Proposition 400 asks Gilbert voters to approve a development agreement between Gilbert and Vestar Development. It calls for the town to use an estimated $9.7 million in sales taxes to compensate Vestar for expanding Higley and Riggs roads near the developer’s planned Greer Towne Center.

The question was placed on the ballot after two residents who are associated with Valley Business Owners (And Concerned Citizens) questioned the council’s approval of the agreement, saying the council approved it without allowing for public comment.

A “yes” vote approves the agreement, a “no” vote rejects it.

• Proposition 401 was referred to the ballot by residents living near Greenfield and Germann roads who oppose rezoning of 45 acres in the area from residential to commercial use. They argue there is already too much commercial use for the rural area, close to the new SanTan Village, and that additional stores could harm existing business.

A “yes” vote approves the rezoning and allows the projects to move forward. A “no” vote voids the zoning agreement.

• A $174 million bond issue on the Gilbert ballot would be used to complete most remaining roadwork needed in town, including expanding several roads that now narrow from two lanes to one.

Also included is widening of Greenfield Road from Pecos to Germann roads; improvements to Germann Road from Gilbert to Power roads; widening of Baseline Road from Greenfield to Power roads; widening or construction of bridges over canals; improvement of turn lanes and building bus pull-off lanes at Gilbert and Guadalupe roads; widening Ocotillo Road from Val Vista Drive to Greenfield Road; and completion of Higley Road from Riggs Road to Hunt Highway.


• Residents are asked to approve an $82 million bond issue to fund a fifth high school, an elementary school and to renovate aging facilities.

• Voters also are asked to approve a $17.6 million maintenance and operations budget override renewal, to pay toward maintaining current salaries and benefits for teachers and support staff, maintaining class sizes, funding instruction, and providing fine arts, athletics, electives and extracurricular programs.

• In addition, voters will be asked to approve a $8.2 million capital outlay override, to replace outdated computer labs and purchase new computers and software, to furnish new schools with desks, chairs, library furniture, books and technology.


• The district seeks renewal of a 10 percent maintenance and operations budget override, estimated at $2.1 million.

It would pay teacher’s salaries to maintain classroom ratio sizes, go toward salary improvements to attract teachers, pay for academic, athletic and co-curricular activities, and expand technology in classrooms.


• The district is seeking a 5 percent K-3 maintenance and operations budget override that would generate $681,597. It would pay to reduce class sizes, provide instructional programs, and recruit and retain staff.


• Polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Voters in line at 7 p.m. may vote.

• Early ballots can be dropped off at the polls.

• For information or to locate a polling place in Gilbert, call the town at (480) 503-6871, or Maricopa County Elections at (602) 506-1511.

• To look up a polling place, visit

• To look up voter registration, polling locations and view a sample ballot, visit

• Additional election information and a Gilbert publicity pamphlet can be viewed online at