MY VOTES Council Meeting 5/13/14


By a vote of 5-0, impact fees have been lowered. The lowering of these fees will save Flagstaff residents and businesses money when building a new home or commercial building. As everyone knows, Flagstaff has one of the highest costs of living in the state. Lowering the cost to build, while not an exclusive solution, is a step in the right direction.

Fees obviously have a direct correlation on the final price of any good or service. If you add to the cost of a product or service, generally it makes that product or service more expensive. Those costs are generally passed on to the end user, in this case the homeowner or business owner. Despite this obvious reality, one of my colleagues, Councilwoman Barotz, recently made a comment insinuating that if we don’t see a decrease on all home prices in the near future, it is proof that lowering fees has no effect. I find this comment to be somewhat disconnected from economic reality. While I do not have a crystal ball and cannot predict what real estate prices will do six months or next year, I can guarantee that lowering impact fees will reduce the cost of building new projects in Flagstaff. In fact, the upfront cost to build a new single family home will be going down $127 while the upfront cost to build a 20,000 sq ft building will go down $12,200.

This combined with some other advances over the past two years, such as not raising property taxes, a reasonable compromise on the energy code and now the lowering of impact fees, adds up to many hundreds of thousands of dollars being left in the pockets of the hardworking people of Flagstaff. Families work hard to earn their money and deserve to keep as much of it as possible. I’ll continue to push to lower the cost of living for Flagstaff residents through more sensible City policies, lower taxes and lower fees.

In 2012 the voters approved a bond to build a new maintenance facility. In 2013 Council rejected a $16,000,000 proposal and directed staff to go out to bid again and also possibly utilize an existing City owned property (McAllister Ranch) on West Route 66. Staff presented both proposals Tuesday night.

Two options were presented.

Utilize McAllister ranch and build a new facility. Since we own the land this would be about a $21,000,000 project.

The second option is to buy a property near I-40 in East Flagstaff at the end of Courtland Blvd. Cost to construct at this site including land acquisition would be about $25,000,000. That price could be offset by about $4,000,000 with the sale of McAllister and the property where the current maintenance facility sits on Mogollon.

Staff is recommending rejecting the Courtland property proposal. Council asked for a lot more information prior to next weeks meeting at which a vote is expected.

Flag Fire Department gave an update on fire conditions. Obviously Flagstaff and Arizona in general is below normal for moisture and in drought conditions. There is little precipitation outlook between now and the onset of monsoons in July. While recent storms have improved our fire danger slightly over the past month, that can quickly change. Overall our fire season potential is listed as above normal.

Staff gave an update on establishing a Veterans Court. Its goal is to provide court services to Veterans with misdemeanor charges. The Court would work hand in hand with the VA.

57,000 tons of waste was picked up in 2011 alone. The landfill receives waste from as far as 75 miles away. The fund balance for the landfill is healthy.

– Cell Phone Ban Opt Out
The flagstaff City Council opted out of the County’s law banning the use of handheld devices. Instead Council chose to craft their own ordinance from scratch addressing at a minimum texting while driving. I suggested a broader approach to address distracted driving. Mayor Nabours suggested lobbying the legislature to come up with a uniform statewide law. Bottom line, County Board of Supervisors Law will not apply within the City limits.


JOIN ME SATURDAY AT 11AM, Downtown Flagstaff for the Armed Forces Day Parade. I’ll be in the parade with Mayor Nabours and Councilwoman Brewster.

One thought on “MY VOTES Council Meeting 5/13/14

  1. Excellent report Jeff. Thanks for all you do to keep us informed. I am particularly happy to hear that Flagstaff will not be impacted by the Coconino County cell phone regulations.

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