The town of Cave Creek is too tiny to be called a city, but it's debt rivals that of some states.
"The town has about $62 million," said Cave Creek Utilities Manager Jessica Marlow.
"It just appalled me, you know," said town council candidate Steve Snider.
It's a figure that's hard to imagine. With just over 5,000 people in a town that amounts to about $12,000 in debt per person. That's a big number for a little town.
"It is, absolutely," Marlow said.
So CBS 5 News took a trip to town hall to get some answers and find out how the quaint community got so far in the red.
"The bulk of it was the purchase of the water company, the major water system improvements where we added a couple of storage tanks and upgraded our water plant and then the construction of the new wastewater treatment plant that was most recent," Marlow said.
Marlow said Maricopa County made the town build a new wastewater plant when the old one wasn't big enough. As for the water issue, we were there back in 2007 when the town kept running out of water because their system was in bad shape.
"We have a water loan that we took out to purchase the Cave Creek Water Company back in 2007," Marlow said.
The town has had plenty of water ever since, but they have been paying for it.
"The water rates we increased in 2009 and for some people they as much as tripled," Marlow said.
"We've had $400 a month water bills," Snider said.
Snider has a horse in this race, he's running for town council this spring on the debt issue.
"The more I started talking to people about it and people had no idea that we were that much in debt. I come from very humble means back in Wisconsin, I come from a farm community and, you know, I grew up with the adage if you can't pay for it you don't have it, you don't buy it, you don't spend it," he said.
No matter how you slice it, the damage is done. Now it will take 20 years to dig Cave Creek out of the debt hole.
To put this into perspective for you, a town similar in size is Youngtown. Officials there said the town doesn't have any debt. Fountain Hills has more than four times as many people and is about $11.5 million in debt.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:36 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:36:49 GMT
(RNN) – A day after long track tornadoes devastated Shawnee and Edmond, OK, another round has begun near Oklahoma City.KOCO broadcast a slow rotating cloud that slowly extended down towards the groundMore >
Dozens of people have died after a second day of tornadoes twisted through Oklahoma, this time taking aim at the town of Moore, south of Oklahoma City.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 6:32 PM EDT2013-05-20 22:32:53 GMT
A dispute has brought construction on Southbound I-75 to a halt. The state has issued a stop work order on a project to repave a portion of the expressway in Saginaw County.Copyright 2013 WNEM (MeredithMore >
A dispute has brought construction on Southbound I-75 to a halt. The state has issued a stop work order on a project to repave a portion of the expressway in Saginaw County.More >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information on obituaries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends in Mid-Michigan. Death notices are displayed during theMore >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends who have lost loved ones.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 2:01 PM EDT2013-05-20 18:01:03 GMT
A 20-year-old Hemlock woman is very lucky to be walking away from a car vs. tree crash that ended with rescuers cutting down the tree to free her. The crash happened Sunday morning around 9:30 a.m. SaginawMore >
A 20-year-old Hemlock woman is very lucky to be walking away from a car vs. tree crash that ended with rescuers cutting down the tree to free her.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 5:55 PM EDT2013-05-20 21:55:31 GMT
Tom Schaefer could not believe what he saw while he was at work Sunday. The business next door was going up in flames. Bay Valley Millwork is located on Wilder road in Bay City. Fire tore through the businessMore >
Tom Schaefer could not believe what he saw while he was at work Sunday. The business next door was going up in flames.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 12:16 PM EDT2013-05-20 16:16:00 GMT
There were some scary moments for an Isabella County family over the weekend after they were the victims of a home invasion. Isabella County Sheriff's officials say a 30-year-old man kicked in the doorMore >
There were some scary moments for an Isabella County family over the weekend after they were the victims of a home invasion.More >