The Town of Cave Creek’s mission is to support the community by effectively managing public services and fostering our unique southwestern ways of life. Each year, the Cave Creek Town Council adopts a budget that is based on a fiscal year that begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th. This budget reflects the Town’s values and goals, encompassing a great team effort by Town staff in providing clarity around Cave Creek’s fiscal health and upcoming projects and services.
Regardless of limitations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, The Town of Cave Creek remains in strong financial form. However, as we continue to look forward the Council and Town Staff remain cautious regarding budgeting, as major expenses are on the near-horizon to meet foundational needs which encompass fire protection and water stability.
The budget is organized into breakouts of ongoing budgeting versus one-time activities. An overview of each fund as well as particulars can be found organized into:
The General Fund: Included in this fund is a breakdown of Department Funds, Operating Revenue, Operating Expenditures by Department, Operating Transfers and a General Fund Summary.
Total Enterprise Funds: Desert Hills Water, Cave Creek Water, Wastewater
Special Revenues Funds: HURF, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation, Parks and Trails Fund, Open Space Acquisition Fund, and Grants
Capital Funds: CIP Water Infrastructure, CIP Open Space and Trails Fund
Breakdown of Expenditures by Fund Type:
Special Revenue: 19%
General Fund: 45%
Capital Funds: 2%
The total budget for the 2021-2022FY (Fiscal Year) is $40,016,980. Subtracting fire protection-related expenses leaves a budget of $33,026,640, which is approximately $508,514 less from last years adopted budget of $33,535,154.
Keystone endeavors Town Council is considering in upcoming years, along with the support from Cave Creek residents, include both securing fire-assets and strategic upgrades to Water and Wastewater Infrastructure. Other points of interest covered in the budget include organization-wide improvements to Town facilities, public safety equipment, IT upgrades, vehicle replacements, and partial funding for trail pathways and open spaces.
In addition to the day-to-day programs and significant projects, notable expenditures in this year’s budget include the following:
- Fire Protection: Wildland fires have been on the rise across the state and affected the Town of Cave Creek last year. Contributions to these outbreaks include drought and invasive species that have entered the ecosystem. Currently, the Town’s emergency fire and medical requests are handled by subscription-only Rural Metro Fire Services which has contracts with about 40-50% of individual home and business owners. The Town of Cave Creek is exploring the establishment of its own fire and emergency services. The Town hired Jim Ford, a Deputy Fire Chief with the City of Scottsdale to guide us through an exploratory process of establishing permanent fire and emergency services in Cave Creek. Deputy Fire Chief Ford presented several options to the Mayor and Council of scenarios regarding what it would take to become an “All Hazards” community and a member of the regional Automatic Aid system which works collaboratively with surrounding fire departments and the Arizona State Division of Fire and Forestry Management. After much discussion and deliberation in public forums, Mayor and Council approved $7 million for the items mentioned above and further detailed in the Town’s approved Budget for the fiscal year 2021-2022.
- Water and Wastewater: The Phoenix Water Interconnect project is a most substantial improvement in the utility department, reserving approximately $4,175,000 of the 2022 budget. The project will secure a redundant water source for the Town to continue providing outstanding quality water service to its customers. Phase III of SCADA Improvements is also underway. Collection system repairs and the Manhole Rehabilitation Program reserve a combined $320,000 for the 2022 fiscal year.
- Public Works and Engineering: Key projects budgeted in Public Works include continued microsurfacing along Cave Creek Road, roadwork upgrades at Rancho Manana Blvd. and Miramonte Drive, and improvements along Galloway Wash in The Desert Awareness Park located in the Town Core.
- Planning, Zoning, & Trails: Trail improvements reserved in the 2022 budget include enhanced pedestrian crossings and the Town has applied for grants to fund the Gateway Trailhead project.
Profile of Cave Creek
According to the 2010 Census, which was last updated in 2018, Cave Creek's population is 5,838 with 52.2% of the residents female and 47.8% male. 10.8% are under 18 years old, 34.8% are 65 and older. The median income is $85,529. There are 2.13 persons per household. 53.5% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The median value of owner-occupied housing is $485,400 and there are 2,615 housing units in Cave Creek. Real-estate and construction activity is at an all-time high within Town limits.
Budget assumptions and trends
The Town of Cave Creek has seen an increase in State shared revenues as well as an increase in sales tax revenues due to a broadened retail base. Coupled with increased construction taxes due to the upward trend in new builds in both residential and commercial uses, progress has been made to establish more stable and long-term revenue while maintaining a rural, low-density lifestyle. Due to the current pandemic associated with COVID-19 and the looming financial challenges faced on a global scale, Cave Creek has taken a sound fiscal approach to align its revenue-generating base to sustain needed improvements to vital infrastructure.
The entire Budget document is posted for public review on the Cave Creek website under the Finance tab at www.CaveCreekAZ.gov.