Council Meeting Update

City Council Meeting September 29, 2015

• Received a preliminary presentation on next weeks request for a $650,000 microwave network purchase. The request is to replace our network which currently runs on Sudden Links system to a system of our own. The estimated savings to the City is about $500,000 over 5 years.

• Presentation on City of Flagstaff rate of return on investments. The city has about $82,000,000 currently invested, mostly in U.S. Treasuries. Safety of principal and liquidity are the most important factors with these investments. This money is essentially the cities operations account, or checkbook for payroll, projects etc. 

In 2013 the ACLU challenged the Arizona Law prohibiting panhandling. As a result the law has been repealed due to Constitutional Rights. In short, people have the right to stand on the public right of ways such as sidewalks and beg for money. The City of Flagstaff is prohibited from stopping the activity of begging.  

As a result Flagstaff has seen an explosion of panhandling in the past two years. The only tool we currently have to regulate this activity is when people are aggressively panhandling, soliciting within 15 feet of a bus stop or train stop or an ATM, aggressively following and continuing to ask after being rejected and if they block ingress or egress to a businesses. This tool has resulted in only two arrests though in two years. Private property does have the right to ban panhandling. We can also address this issue if illegal activity is seen such as fighting, drugs, public drinking etc.

I’ve been working on this issue for quite some time. I am frustrated as I know many in the community are. I want to help those who are truly in need and direct those who need help to the non profits in our City that can help. I also am thankful to those that donate and volunteer to help those in need. Flagstaff is a very generous community. But for those that are frustrated by the activity of panhandling, our options are very limited as to what we can do to limit this activity. 

We can work on this as a community though. Encourage people to give Better Bucks, not cash. If you’re a business you have every right to regulate and disallow this activity on your private property. If you are a citizen and see illegal activity such as fighting, littering, drug use, public drinking etc., call 911.

Council received an update on the work being done on 4th Street. The temporary crosswalks on 4th Street will be made permanent with a raised median and flashing lights. We also saw a proposal to add sidewalks, landscaping and bus pullouts to the east side of the street. I’m very happy to see improvements on 4th Street.   


• Public hearing on water rates.
• Citizen petition on reconsideration and possible amendments to the party ordinance.
• My request to change the rules of procedure to require majority support to move items onto the agenda for consideration.
• Mayor Nabours request to revisit the sidewalk ordinance.  

Ballots should be arriving by mail around October 14th. I will be voting no on question 3 and yes on question 4. I believe our elections should be held on their own in the spring, like they used to be. Lets keep our elections focused on local issues and keep them as non partisan as possible.

* As I’ve stated in the past, I take time to write these notes and there’s always a possibility of grammatical and spelling errors. I know people love to point these errors out. Please send any errors written on the back of a $20 bill as a contribution to:
2532 N. 4th St., #118
Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Jeff Oravits

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