Glendale City Council Takes Action To Eliminate Vote On VAI Resort Project

Daniel Stefanski
5 Min Read

By Daniel Stefanski |

Glendale voters will have one less issue to work through on an upcoming ballot after the City Council took action on some details for the development of an up-and-coming resort.

Last week, the Glendale City Council responded to a forthcoming referendum orchestrated by Worker Power Institute, negating the opportunity for the City’s and VAI Resort and Mattel Adventure Park’s Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET) arrangements to be sent to a future ballot. The Council unanimously repealed its action on June 13, 2023, which had directed the City Manager to enter into the amended and restated development agreement.  The June 2023 action from the council led to the efforts by Worker Power Institute to gather referendum signatures.

Michael Bailey, the City Attorney, noted that there were no surprises for the public throughout the entirety of this process with the developers of this resort, adding that the agreement in September 2020 had no public opposition. He specifically highlighted that no public groups spoke out against the Council’s actions when much of the work was done on executing this agreement.

Vice Mayor Joyce Clark agreed with Bailey’s comments and was more direct in her assessment of the situation at hand. Clark expressed suspicion with the motives of Worker Power in bringing this referendum to the doorstep of the Council, while repeatedly endorsing the project. She stated that the arrangement between Glendale and VAI Resorts would bring over 1,200 jobs to the community and infuse $10 million in sale tax revenue for the general fund, which would give much-needed financial support to essential municipal services.

Councilmember Jamie Aldama, however, took issue with some of Bailey’s words, arguing that just because there was no opposition in 2020 to this project or because there was a public meeting, constituents still may not have known about the significance or consequences of this issue. He exhorted the Council to do a better job at getting the word out to people about more of these issues and pleaded with citizens to stay engaged and involved in the process.

Worker Power Institute released the following statement after the Council’s vote: “Today, Glendale City Council repealed their June 13th decision to approve a new development agreement for the VAI Resort project. Worker Power Institute canvassers spoke with thousands of Glendale voters who expressed numerous concerns over the 25-year property tax breaks and significant changes in the updated development agreement. One of these changes, the open-air amphitheater with over 100 live events per year, greatly worried Glendale residents due to the traffic and noise such a venue would bring. Our understanding is that today’s vote to repeal the new development agreement would alleviate this particular concern as the open-air amphitheater is no longer covered. While residents still have many concerns surrounding the project, we feel tonight was a good first step.”

The President and CEO of VAI Global Development, Grant Fischer, addressed the Council’s action in a statement to a local media outlet, saying, “We appreciate the city of Glendale’s continued support for VAI Resort, and we are excited for the project to move forward on track with the city’s partnership. Apart from the financial benefits VAI Resort will bring to the city of Glendale, VAI will be among the largest employers in the state, with hundreds of jobs created for the construction of the project and more than 1,800 full time positions for the resort. As an Arizona native, I am personally so proud to create this legacy in my home state that will positively impact the community and residents.”

The Council’s action last week does not affect the original contract with the developers, but it does repeal the amendment from June 2023. A point was raised during discussion of this action that the original arrangement between the City and the developers could not be affected.

Daniel Stefanski Must Read,News,glendale city council,GPLET,VAR resort

2023-08-30 07:00:00 , AZ FREE NEWS

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