This Vigneto update is for our web site viewers and it has not been broadcast
On June first Benson's mayor and council unanimously approved a lengthy agreement with El Dorado Benson LLC. Lengthy to the tune of forty years! In all their propaganda El Dorado has suggested that it will take them twenty years to build the 28,000 houses. But the agreement gives El Dorado twice that long to complete their project. My impression is that they didn't even ask for the extension and that it was the City Attorney's idea to give them the forty years. One of the biggest problems with this agreement is that it terribly ties the hands of future city councils who may know far more than the collection of fools who occupy the council seats today. Hindsight is always better than foresight. Surely this forty year term is an act of idiocy.
Including many pages of legal descriptions this agreement goes on for nearly 100 pages. Some of the more questionable provisions include allowing El Dorado to add up to 2,400 acres to the plan, land that they don't presently own. The agreement allows for mining and blasting on the property. It also rules out developmental impact fees which many experts recommend if growth is to pay for itself. The agreement has many questionable provisions regarding water including allowing El Dorado to import water from other lands. It requires El Dorado to pay for at least one fire engine and to come up with cash for law enforcement but it isn't clear what happens if they default.
Probably the single worst provision of the agreement calls for the city to participate in forming ten special taxing districts. Seven of the ten are known as Community Facilities Districts. The other three are called Revitalization Districts though with absolutely nothing presently on the land, there is nothing to revitalize. All of these districts are likely to be completely under the control of Mike Reinbold and his cronies. The directors can even live outside Arizona. The districts have unlimited right to issue bonds and we're being told nothing about how much money will be raised. It could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. I'm particularly concerned about the purported need for ten such districts. Why ten? The only answer I can think of is to create complexity and confusion and make money difficult to track. My prediction is that we will see a rerun of what happened in Portland 25 years ago. I further predict that huge sums of cash will disappear, there will be several bankruptcy filings and the fabulous plans for the future of Benson will evaporate into thin air. The only question in my mind is when.
My final concern is that El Dorado could ask the city to guarantee the bonds. If the council is gullible enough to agree to that, it could set the city up for bankruptcy.
On several occasions I've addressed the city council and have told them of my concerns. Other concerned citizens have done likewise. Our admonitions have fallen on totally deaf ears.
As they say in the radio business, stay tuned.