Tusayan Tax Dollars Wasted
Tusayan generates about $4.5 million in tax revenues. We can thank our tourists for most of that. Unfortunately Tusayan, under the leadership of Mayor Craig Sanderson, has squandered millions on consultants, Washington DC lobbyists who charge as much as $15,000 a month, and nearly $8 million on an ‘affordable housing project’ called Ten X with no homes to show for it. Meanwhile, needs are not being met. The promise of soccer and ball fields at the park remain unfulfilled. The promise of affordable housing has gone nowhere after 10 years of incorporation.
Tusayan Residents Deserve A Share of the Tax Revenues
I am proposing that much of the existing budget surplus be distributed to Tusayan residents which amounts to about $6,000 per person. After that, future surpluses would be given to residents which would amount to $3,000 a year depending on the economy.
The company I work for, Red Feather Properties, has spent millions of dollars on quality housing for its employees such as Fireside Ridge pictured here. Indeed, a number of responsible business owners have made that investment as well. Notably absent from that list is the company that partnered with an Italian developer to try and build an unpopular and environmentally damaging project here in Tusayan. This partnership and the Town government dangled the promise of affordable housing as a way to garner public support. But a simple first step of about 20 homes at Ten-X never got off the ground because the current mayor and former Town Manager ignored and broke a series of rules. Both the town and the developer have failed to deliver, while other existing and longstanding employers HAVE delivered when it comes to quality housing and will continue to do so.
Soccer Fields and Ball Fields
Over a decade ago I worked with the Kaibab National Forest to obtain acreage in Tusayan for the Grand Canyon School District. The land would be used as a future high school site as well as serve as a sports complex with soccer and ball fields. Years have passed and the fields still don’t exist. Mayor Sanderson and certain elements on the council instead chose waste the town’s money on lawyers, consultants, lobbyists, and a housing project with no houses. The incompetence and indifference must end and end now. Let’s build that sports complex.
Our Community Deserves A Sports Complex
More could be done to improve urgent care in Tusayan. I was recently asked this question on Facebook and felt it is certainly worth considering. The North Country Healthcare administration and its staff do an amazing job at our local clinic. However I, like many residents of our area, wish the operations could once again be 7 days a week and 24 hours a day.
The clinic used to be more of a hospital, but unfortunately, finances have had to play a role. If the numbers are about the same from 2015, the Grand Canyon National Park pays over $50,000 a month ($600,000+ a year) to subsidize the clinic operations. It seems to me, for the immediate future, it may be better for the town to help fund expanding operations. The Town was asked for funds in 2015 and nothing ever came of it. I have written letters, attended meetings and always stayed abreast of our medical and emergency services in the area and will continue to support more expanded services, however that can be achieved.
Protecting the Grand Canyon
Protecting and preserving the Grand Canyon is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.
Tusayan is the gateway to this national treasure and what we do in town has profound effects for our neighboring national park. If development is too overwhelming, the air, dust, and noise pollution would forever damage the Grand Canyon’s fragile ecosystem and obscure its breathtaking views. The light pollution would rob the night skies of our spectacular stellar views. Once this damage is done, I doubt the Grand Canyon will remain as popular as it is today. Tourists will go elsewhere and jobs would be lost. If the Canyon is diminished, history will never forgive us, and our local economy will be forever ruined. I will not approve any project that threatens the Grand Canyon or diminishes its beauty. And I will fight anything or anyone that threatens this natural wonder.
Conflicts of Interests
Conflicts of interests are unavoidable in a small community. Indeed, for most of its history the majority of Tusayan’s Town Council has been made up of employees of the business partner of an Italian developer. And while people can have conflicts of interest, they should also declare them. That hasn’t happened very much. As Tusayan Mayor I would not hesitate to point out any conflicts I might have and I would urge others on the council to do the same. You have a right to that information and transparency.