2019 Greater Flagstaff Chamber Business Priorities for Flagstaff City Council

Delivery of City Courthouse
Design and construction of the new City of Flagstaff Municipal Court Services Complex is a top priority for our community. We encourage the process to move swiftly and expeditiously through the City’s Community Development department, so contractors can meet or exceed construction schedules. Simultaneously, we encourage a community-wide conversation on future use of the existing city court building and adjacent parking lot at the corner of Beaver and Route 66.

Capital Improvement Plan Adoption – Transportation
The Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce supported passage of Proposition 419, continuation of existing sales tax revenues, during the 2018 election. Although the proposition was loosely defined, the Chamber’s support was contingent on prioritizing sales tax revenues to be used first towards the completion of Fourth Street to JW Powell Blvd.
Equally important is widening Fourth Street over I-40. The Chamber supported federal grant requests for funding this project with letters of support to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, both directly and through ADOT, at their request.

P3 Completion of Mill Town/ADOT
The Chamber supports expediting construction improvements on the former Harkins Theaters building to enhance the move of ADOT services from their location on Milton Ave. to ADOT’s new home in Flagstaff. We also support Community Development prioritizing construction of the Mill Town project on Milton and alignment of Beulah Rd., as approved.

Review City Sales Tax for Competitiveness
The City of Flagstaff’s local sales tax is one of the highest sales tax rates in Arizona. We support quantifying the impact our current sales tax has on retail sales, and potential “leakage” that may or may not occur given our sales tax rate. Flagstaff is a regional shopping hub for northern Arizona, and Flagstaff businesses benefit from consumer purchases made in Flagstaff by those who live in outlying areas. We are very sensitive to future sales tax increases for any reason, believing that increased sales tax rates will drive consumers to other regions of Arizona for purchases resulting in lost sales to local businesses, and lost sales tax revenue to the City of Flagstaff.

Establish Housing Commission
We support the Mayor and Council’s position to establish a City of Flagstaff Housing Commission with the purpose of reviewing the City’s current housing stock, and to review and propose solutions to the City of Flagstaff’s above average housing costs. Housing costs within the City of Flagstaff consistently rank 45% higher than the national average. This problem greatly impacts our existing business community, and works as a deterrent, no matter how great one’s perspective is of the Flagstaff lifestyle, when attracting new business and economic development opportunities to Flagstaff. We are grateful to the Mayor and Council for prioritizing a community discussion on the challenge and look forward to having all community interests at the table as official participants on the Housing Commission.

Review New Code Adoption & Proceed with Caution
We anticipate the City’s Community Development department will bring forward for Mayor and Council review and approval new residential and commercial construction standards in the form of updated building and energy codes. We request a full and thorough vetting of any code changes, and clear delineation of increased costs associated with updated code adoption prior to adopting new construction standards in the form of new codes. We have great concern that code updates will increase the cost of both residential and commercial construction, which contributes to higher housing costs and higher retail prices for local consumers. Further, we know that higher housing prices push our middle-income wage earners, e.g. firefighters, police, teachers away from qualifying for mortgages, and thus single-family housing attainability.

Climate Action Plan
The City Manager’s office indicated during initial 2019 Budget Workshops that a presentation of an 18-month plan related to the goals of recently adopted Climate Action and Adaptation Plan would be brought forward, and we look forward to thoroughly reviewing this roadmap, and understanding the costs associated that may or may not be needed for its implementation.

City Manager Goodrich’s Office: “Journey to Excellence”
We were pleasantly surprised by the City Manager’s office recommendation related to the proposed “Journey to Excellence” presented in the final hour during the City’s recent Budget Workshops, and support the proposed goal of moving to zero-based budgeting. There are many positives to undertaking this journey, and we look forward to supporting the City’s progress through this process.

Address the City’s Pension Needs Short & Long Term – Immediately
We support a full vetting of the City’s pension requirements, and immediate attention to possible solutions to any short or long-term challenges.

Moratorium on City Fee Increases
Given a series of recent City fee hikes, we do not wish to see any City fee increases proposed for the duration of 2019 and through Q1 2020.

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