White Paper

The White Paper committee was an informal, 12-member citizen committee formed by the mayor on January 7, 2009. The White Paper has been adopted by the Town Council as the new economic model for the Town. If you have not read it, a copy may be purchased at Town Hall or downloaded from the Town’s website.

The White Paper committee required full and complete access to the Town’s finances. Immediately upon setting to work, some committee members began to notice budget discrepancies and improprieties, and when their concerns were ignored and requests to obtain further information denied, they quit the committee.

The Town Council has already begun to incorporate recommendations in the White Paper, which include “vigorously pursue Walmart” and “Amend the General Plan for the Town Core and rezone as necessary based on planned development overlay zoning applications.”

Based on the recommendations in the White Paper, the rezoning process has become developer-friendly, although this “developer-friendly” attitude is cloaked as the Town adopting a “facilitative role” (towards developers/development) as opposed to a regulatory role. (White Paper p. 10)

The process prior to the adoption of the White Paper was for a final plat and/or a site plan to be part of the public hearing process. The purpose for a site plan is to mitigate potential land use conflicts, i.e., layout, building placement, set-backs, access, parking areas, open areas, landscaping, etc. During the public hearing process the public had a chance to voice concerns, have questions answered, and give input regarding these issues.

The White Paper recommends eliminating final plat reviews by the Planning Commission and placing final plat approvals and site plan reviews on the Town Council’s consent agenda. On a consent agenda, it is strictly a “yes” or “no” vote; there is no presentation, public input, or public discussion by the Council. This purposeful action not only undermines the public process, it eliminates the public from the process.

The White Paper also recommends eliminating two of the legal notices currently required. (WP p. 33)

The White Paper recommends that the Town “increase the sources of sales tax revenue well beyond the development limitation of the Town Core or institute a property tax (or both).” (WP p. 5) In support of its recommendation, the White Paper states that one of the benefits of the Town contracting with one service provider for trash collection is that one provider will “reduce air pollution from truck emissions.” The White Paper disregards the effects from one million Walmart vehicles per year on the air quality in and around Cave Creek.

There is one specific claim made in the White Paper that seemingly does not accurately calculate the amount of sales tax revenue the Town could receive from a Cave Creek Walmart. The committee sets forth a financial scenario regarding a specific Cave Creek site which states: “…Accordingly, to be on the conservative side, Site #5 could be developed with a minimum of 500,000 square feet of retail. At full build-out (15% vacancy rate; $300 per square foot gross sales), the project would generate $127 million in gross sales revenues. With a Town sales tax rate of 3%, this could yield $3.8 million dollars of annual, new sales tax revenues to the Town.” (WP p. 18)

It would be virtually impossible for a 128,000 sq. ft. Walmart to yield $3 million dollars in sales tax revenue when the White Paper calculates that 500,000 sq. ft. of retail space will yield only $3.8 million dollars.