Goodyear City Council passed a new utility-rate plan that raises rates by 14% over the next four years — a reduction from an earlier proposal that called for a 21% increase in combined water, sewer and garbage collection by 2025.
And council agreed to a reduced rate for the Goodyear Recreation and Aquatic Center, scheduled to open in June.
“Based on public input,” as Finance Director Doug Sandstrom put it, the city not only will not raise water, sewer or garbage collection rates this year, Goodyear is reducing combined charges by 3% in 2021.
An average Goodyear combined utility monthly bill of $121 in 2020 will be reduced to $117 this year — but will increase to $138 per month in 2025.
Though Goodyear utility rates are significantly higher than neighboring cities Avondale, Glendale and Peoria, the city leaders noted after public input they are not raising rates as much as originally planned.
“I’m thrilled with what we’re doing, and I’m proud of it,” Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said during the Jan. 25 meeting.
Councilman Bill Stipp noted, “The public process works.”
But Stipp and Lord sharply disagreed on Stipp’s idea to give Goodyear residents a free pass for 2021 on the $67 million Goodyear Recreation and Aquatics Center, scheduled to open in June.
Lord and the council rejected Stipp’s plan, instead giving Goodyear residents one week free and a discounted $75 pass for the rest of 2021 once the facility opens.
The annual rate in 2022 will be $200 for youth, $250 for seniors, $300 for adults and $600 for families.
All passes for the rest of 2021 will be $75 — which includes families of any size.
Stipp was the only council member to vote against the $75 pass for 2021, insisting it was still too high.
“Seventy-five dollars might not seem like a big deal to most of us, but for people using $75 to put food on the table, it’s a big deal,” Stipp said
Stipp stressed “the fact this has been paid for by tax money.”
According to the city, the $67 million facility is funded by impact fees, general obligation bonds and general funds.
“It doesn’t hurt us to make it free for at least three months,” Stipp added.
Only Councilman Brannon Hampton gave support to the idea — with Lord sharply critical of Stipp’s idea, saying it would lead to overcrowding. “If it’s free it’ll be like the stadium this week. …
“When you talk about giving something away, you’re also giving away quality,” Lord added.
Several council members agreed letting residents in for free for the rest of 2021 would make the facility too crowded.
Mike Beadle, Goodyear Recreation supervisor, said the free week offers residents “a try-before-you-buy situation. And it’s also for us so we can show off our fancy facility.”
Beadle stressed scholarships would pay for passes for those unable to afford the annual fee.
“Our goal is to make sure everyone has an experience,” Beadle said.
“If they come in and say, ‘I can’t afford the $75 pass’ — we’re going to make it happen.”
The Goodyear Recreation and Aquatic Center, a 30-acre park near Desert Edge High School at Estrella Parkway and Goodyear Boulevard North, will have two lighted baseball/softball fields, two lighted multipurpose fields, lighted tennis, basketball, volleyball, pickleball and sand volleyball courts, a group ramada and picnic areas and walking paths.
And it will feature a two-floor, 48,000-square-foot recreation facility with a multipurpose gym and three multipurpose rooms, a fitness area and activity rooms, and an elevated walking and jogging track.
The centerpiece is an aquatic facility with water slides, a lazy river, a splash play area and a competition/lap pool.