GOVERNOR Doug Ducey CONFIRMED
Keynote Speaker at
Flagstaff Lincoln Day Dinner.
Tuesday, February 17, 6:00PM
Speakers also include:
CONTACT ME FOR TICKETS
Great job Joy Staveley and Joan Harris!
• At Tuesdays Council meeting
I OPPOSED A RESOLUTION
that would ask Congress to create a 25,000+ acre buffer around Walnut Canyon. I raised concerns about land locking private parcels, public and private access issues, limiting our future growth in the northeast portion of Flagstaff and many other concerns.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Walnut Canyon and I’m in favor of creating a smaller buffer and suggested the advocates on and off council compromise and scale this back. Even the National Forest Service recommended against this option. But groups like Friends of Flagstaff’s Future and several of my colleagues on council choose the largest option and showed a complete unwillingness to compromise and come to a sensible middle ground.
This is unfortunate. I believe that getting this through congress as proposed is nearly impossible and is essentially dead on arrival in its current form.
My suggestion, be reasonable, scale this back and meet in the middle.
• BUDGET CHALLENGES
Face Flagstaff’s budget challenges now or kick the can down the road?
While Flagstaff has had a structurally balanced budget since 2012, the reality is we have long term fundamental problems that we must deal with now. We face a $70,000,000 pension obligation alone. Our police force is losing nearly 25% of its employees every year, facilities need repairs and so many other challenges.
Today staff was directed to bring all options to the table including service levels and a look at what businesses the City should and should not be in. And to those that think we can tax our way out of this problem, the math does not add up.
The idea of raising property taxes continually came up. I’m proud to have successfully led the council in not raising property taxes for the past three years. I hope to make it a fourth year! I suspect there will be a push by some to raise property taxes this year. They claim that if we raise property taxes by 8%, we’ll dig ourselves out of this $5,000,000 hole we’re in. We won’t. This is a spending issue, not a taxing issue.
I’m looking forward to tackling this issue head on this year. I ask for your support.
• GENDER BIAS?
This week I supported John Stigman, Vice President of ECONA to the Planning and Zoning Commission. I was shocked that several of my colleagues, led by Vice Mayor Barotz, made gender an issue in this appointment. While this commission is mostly men, the reality is only one woman applied out of 9 candidates. The clincher for me, she hasn’t even lived in Flagstaff for a year. I do not make my decisions for or against any position based off of gender. I base my decisions on qualifications. In this case, the majority agreed and appointed Stigman with Barotz, Putzova and Evans opposed.
• THIS WEEK I MET WITH…
SPEAKER GOWAN, TPT reform.
I had the opportunity to join in on a conference call at the Chamber of Commerce with Speaker Gowan. We spoke about fixing issues with the way construction taxes are reported. There is mass confusion over the new law. A legislative fix is pending.
TREASURER JEFF DEWITT
I had the opportunity to sit with newly elected State Treasurer Jeff DeWitt on Friday. We spoke about several issues. I also confirmed he’ll be in Flagstaff February 17th at the Lincoln Day Dinner.
I met with Congressman Gosar twice this week and discussed several local and federal issues including why I opposed the resolution on Walnut Canyon. I’ll see the Congressman in DC in February, if not before in Flagstaff.
I also met with Congressman Schweikert and spoke about Flagstaff and a possible visit this spring.
SPOKE WITH VARIOUS LEGISLATURES
Spoke with Senator Allen and Senator Ward and mentioned the TPT tax issue among other issues. Also did the same with Representative Barton and Stevens as well as Majority Leader Montenegro.