It's an issue that's bigger than politics, and in this case, those involved aren't labeling themselves as Republicans, Democrats or Independents. They're simply Prescottonians. And they want to help.
The City of Prescott has an unfunded pension liability of more than $78 million, through no fault of their own. The City has made the required payments, but poor investment returns and other issues with the legally mandated, state-run Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) have created a huge deficit. Prescott isn't the only community facing a growing liability, but Prescott wants to be the first in the state to tackle it head-on. Thus, the Prescott City Council voted on January 31, 2017 to place a sales tax measure on the ballot in August.
Proposition 443 is the initiative that would add a ¾ cent to the city sales tax, with the revenues dedicated to paying down the City’s unfunded liability for the PSPRS commitments. The tax, if approved, will last for no more than 10 years, or until the unfunded liability is $1.5 million or less.
Members of the PAC include: David Hess, Pam Jones, Matt Medina, Pat Travers, Barry Barbe, Terry Christensen, Rita Cavanagh, Bill Feldmeir, Charlie Arnold, Dan Baumann, Sherri Hanna, Linda Nichols, Bob Bauman, Tom Haney, Ben Roche, Steve Sischka, Billie Orr and Jean Wilcox.
This broad coalition of people in the Prescott area are forming the organization, "Stand for Prescott," in order to support the City’s Prop 443 ballot measure. Today, they filed their Statement of Organization with City Clerk Dana DeLong and indicated their readiness to start the campaign.
Cecelia Jernegan and Sherrie Hanna are the Co-Chairs of Stand for Prescott. They explained why they were involved in this effort:
Here is the press release sent out by Stand for Prescott:
Prescott, Arizona – Several local citizens and business owners in Prescott have said, “Ask not what your city can do for you, ask what YOU can do for your city”. This group of citizens has set up a political action committee called Stand for Prescott. The group intends to clarify the many questions the voting public has with the facts about the City’s unfunded liability within the PSPRS, (Public Safety Personnel Retirement System), which is estimated at $78 million. The ¾ of a cent sales tax proposition called Prop 443 will be on the August 29th ballot and will create a revenue stream dedicated solely to paying down the unfunded liability, and sunset in ten years (December 31, 2027) or when the unfunded liability is $1.5 million or less. A YES vote will establish the new sales tax.
Co-chair of the group Cecelia Jernegan said, “We know no one likes new taxes, but this unfunded liability is not going away and bankruptcy is just not an option for our City. I’m willing along with many other folks who are educated on this issue, to pay 75 cents on $100.00 dollars I spend to relieve the City of this unfunded liability. I think that’s very reasonable.”
On Friday, March 17, 2017, Co-chairs of the group Sherrie Hanna and Cecelia Jernegan, along with Linda Nichols secretary, Treasurer Ann Brechwald, and other committee members turned in the official paper work to Dana DeLong at Prescott City Hall.
Want to get involved? Stay tuned for further information on a website and Facebook page. In the meantime, you can email Cecelia Jernegan at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.