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Incoming mayor inherits Glendale's financial problems

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Outgoing Arizona Lawmaker and Glendale Mayor-elect Jerry Weiers has a lot of experience dealing with a budget crisis.

Arizona had a multi-billion dollar deficit during the recession. When Weiers takes office in Glendale in January, the city will have a $1.2 billion deficit, including $200 million for the Camelback Ranch spring training home of the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.

"That is not money that's owed tomorrow," said Weiers. "It's not. The city is working on refinancing the debt and will be able to save millions of dollars with lower interest rates."

The city council bumped the sales tax rate from 2.2 percent to 2.9 percent last summer, the highest city sales tax in Arizona. On Tuesday, voters kept that in place through 2017. Many believe the sales tax is designed to keep the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team in the Valley.

"I would love to see the Coyotes stay, but we're not going to be their cash register," said Weiers.

Weiers is very concerned that a lot of businesses don't want to open up new stores in Glendale because of the high city sales tax and property tax rates, but he's upbeat about the future.

"This nation is at the crossroads of things starting to get better. When people start believing in their city leaders and know that we'll do everything possible to put less restriction on businesses, we will see new growth in the West Valley and we could be out of this problem in two to three years. That's certainly my goal."

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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