Tuesday’s Council Meeting was so jam packed that I am still working on getting all the information out there. As I posted Tuesday, the Property Maintenance Ordinance will no longer be pursued and any existing code that is on the books to address distressed properties will be gone through to ensure private property rights are protected. A great victory for private property rights!
We also discussed and gave direction to staff regarding the allocation of a portion of the BBB funds. This portion involves our urban trail system. We currently use a large portion in building new trails but we also use the same revenue stream to maintain the trail system. The problem is, as you add more trails, you increase the amount of maintenance required. Eventually we will run out of money not only to build new trails but also to maintain what we’ve got. Council took proactive action and agreed we will use funds going forward for maintaining what we’ve got, not building more. A step towards long term solvency and more fiscal responsibility!
Also on the agenda was the allocation of Community Development Block Grant Funds (CDBG) which is a Federal grant program administered by HUD. The money is used in four targeted areas in Flagstaff for things such as housing, rehabilitation, homelessness and other purposes. It can also be used towards repairing infrastructure in the targeted areas including streets, sidewalks and even lights. I proposed that we use some of this money in the following priority, homeless programs and street and infrastructure repairs. My preference was that the City get out of the housing business, especially the building of so called “affordable housing”. Using funds for emergency repair for eligible people would be fine but why is the City in the housing buisness? On this issue though the majority decided to keep the allocations the same with housing as a top priority. Remember, we need $50,000,000 for our streets! My take is if we would use $100,000 or so from this source of funds, that would free up $100,000 in the general fund to fix streets elsewhere in Flagstaff. I’m often told it’s hard to find money for our street and other repair needs but $100,000 from one source, $25,000 from another and so fourth can really add up fast!
I also requested at the end of the meeting that staff look into and report back to Council the status of the Coconino County elections with regard to alleged violation of procedures brought fourth by several concerned citizens. Since we now have a new County Recorder, now is a good time to make sure everything is running as it should.
Off to another in our series of budget meetings tomorrow from 12:30 to 5:00 at City Hall.