An Update From Councilman Jeff Oravits 12/12/14


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$7,000,000 PAVEMENT PROJECT
Beginning this spring Flagstaff residents should expect upwards of $7,000,000 worth of paving projects. This is great news for our aging infrastructure. When I took office in 2012 the city was only spending $1,200,000 out of its $60,000,000 budget on streets. I’ll continue to push for repairs of our infrastructure.

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CHANGES ARE NEEDED
At this weeks budget retreat we were told to expect a shortfall of anywhere between $1.5 to $5.5 million depending on various factors. This is my third budget cycle and it seems no matter if the economy is good or bad, improving or declining, City Hall always runs short.

I am calling for organizational stabilization.

We must look at each department even closer and find efficiencies and consider further outsourcing when appropriate. We also have to have a tough conversation with the community about what businesses the city should and should not be in and the service levels we provide.

Employee compensation and moral is very important and ranked high on councils priorities list, we must have a candid conversation with staff with regard to compensation. We scraped and worked hard to give employee raises last year. There’s no guarantee we can do this every year and I’m concerned that focusing on employee raises every year over other needs is not sustainable. The employees are an integral part of the community and organization but if we are unable to adequately employ our 800 plus employees plus provide core services to the community, something is fundamentally out of whack.

Balance is needed in these decisions and being honest with our constituents that something’s just not working right is the hard reality we must face head on. Kicking the can down the road is not a solution. Expecting things to change by hoping and praying is not a good strategy.

I look forward to presenting solutions that begin resolving these structural challenges at our next budget retreat in February.

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MIXED MESSAGE INDEED!
Early this week I stated that as a policy maker I am receiving a confusing message regarding what the regional plan calls for and what some in the community are saying. Our City Manager summed it up best.

“We approve our Regional Plan (75%approval) which calls for compact, high density, pedestrian oriented infill and redevelopment yet these projects seem to be the most opposed. Yet we see the least controversial, easiest land use approvals are medium to low density, single family residents in greenfield’s (previously undeveloped land).”
Kevin Burke, City Manager

This sums up what I called a

“contradictory and confusing
message regarding land use policy
decisions”

I am looking forward to Mayor Nabours future Council agenda to have a conversation about development, student housing, NAU and trying to find solutions to some of our recent controversial development issues.

HELP COMBAT AUTO THEFT

IMG_1007.JPGThe Flagstaff Police Department wants the public to be aware of an increase in property crimes, particularly vehicle burglaries, during certain months. During the month of November 67% of our Auto Burglaries were due to unlocked vehicles. We are asking your help with securing your valuables and locking your cars and homes.


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