The Budget Has Begun!

Coming up this week is an important budget retreat. As you may know, Council has been going through our budget with a fine tooth comb. For months now we have been doing just that. This Thursday from 8-5 and Friday from 8-noon the many months of work will be refined into what eventually becomes our budget.

As you know, we have been pushing for significant reallocations and cuts in certain areas. Below, you will read my critique of a recent editorial that downplays the need for millions into our infrastructure. I’ve said it so many times but I’ll say it again, we need $25,000,000 put into our streets and we need to start now. Delaying will only compound the problem rapidly to $50,000,000. To put this in perspective, we currently only have $1,000,000 allocated per year for our streets and we need $5,000,000. This is not coming from me but the experts and to be blunt, common sense as anyone can see the condition of our streets.

I have been asking these questions. With our infrastructure in such bad shape….

Why are we spending hundreds of thousands of dollars building spec homes with tax payer dollars?
Why aren’t we selling some of the Cities vast real estate holdings to raise money and get those properties back on the tax roles?
Why can’t we cut 5% of our workforce through attrition over the next two years and put some of that money towards our infrastructure?

I encourage everyone to contact Council via email or come by and give your opinion. As for me, I’m going to keep pushing for a significant change in our budgetary practices.

Coming up this week
• Tuesday Council Work session, 6:00PM City Hall
• Wednesday, 8:30AM, Mayor Nabours & I will speak with Northern Arizona Builders Association
• Thursday, 7:20AM I’ll be on FlagMornings 93.5FM
• Thursday Budget Retreat, 8-5, Aqua Plex
• Friday Budget Retreat, 8-noon, Aqua Plex
• Saturday 8:30AM, 100 Best Celebration Flag High Pancake Breakfast
Business as usual is not going to get our streets fixed.

A recent editorial stated;

“many of the Flagstaff roads in need of repair are on the city’s five-year maintenance plan — if not in this cycle, then in subsequent ones.”

Yes, there is a five year plan. Problem is, there is only $1,000,000/year currently allocated and we need $5,000,000 per year.

the editorial continues:
“With a $50 million backlog, playing catch-up will take time, and speeding up the timetable shouldn’t come at the expense of long-established budget priorities…”

According to the experts, if we start now we can get the roads to an acceptable “C” standard in 5 years for $25,000,000. If we delay, the cost balloons to $50,000,000. As we delay, the cost multiplies, again, the experts words, not mine.

The poor condition of our streets is obvious. This is not some hypothetical situation, this is reality. As the City Manager recently stated, “We are doing a disservice to our constituents if we do not address this problem now.”

As we go through the budget, I hope that every department and every project is not a “sacred cow” that can’t be touched. If no one is willing to make adjustments, compromise and find a way to increase revenues to our streets, we’re going to really pay for it later. The time for action is now and if we work together we can come up with a good long term plan. Let’s get this done!

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