The contenders for Flagstaff City Council agree: supporting local business is good for the economy. Of the six people on the ballot, Scott Overton is the only incumbent, although Art Babbott served on the Council from 2002-06. The election on May 18 will fill the three vacancies on the Flagstaff City Council.
Overton calls himself an advocate for business who has worked to keep fees and taxes reasonable. “I see a role in the city assisting individuals in attaining quality results and great success in the local economy,” he said. The councilman says he would like to see the Land Development Code Rewrite completed soon because he thinks it can spur opportunity. Overton is also focused on the city’s Purchasing Policy and Procurement Manual, which he says could lead to government purchasing from more local businesses.
As an independent small business owner, Art Babbott is encouraging the city to create a more diverse economy. “I believe a strategic economic development policy should be prioritized to promote businesses which di-versify our economy and which pay their employees a living wage,” said Babbott. He also supports meaningful and common sense regulatory reform of the Land Development and Zoning Code, as well as development of the industrial/business park sites at Pulliam Airpark. Babbott would also like to see the Northern Arizona Center for Emerging Technologies expanded and diversified to include other types of clients.
Attracting new commercial, manufacturing and retail businesses to the region is part of Dave Arendt’s platform. He says he would advocate for development “by making every attempt to reduce taxes on businesses, eliminate recently imposed user fees, reduce or remove regulatory burdens on businesses and reallocate BBB revenues so that a greater portion is directed to aggressively market the City of Flagstaff as well as adjoining areas.” Arendt would also foster a supportive environment for local businesses committed to staying in the area.
As the daughter of an entrepreneur, an 82-year-old father who remains engaged with his work, Celia Barotz says she is sensitive to issues affecting small businesses. She supports a single point of contact for business owners in the Fourth Street Corridor and downtown district. Like Babbott, Bartoz would like to see NACET support a wider variety of companies. And, she is calling for a business-friendly, collaborative approach at City Hall. “I recognize there is a need for some government regulation,” said Barotz, “although it should not be too burdensome and have the unintended consequence of choking small businesses.”
Candidate David Evans agrees with Barotz that taxation and fees should be reasonable to keep the cost of doing business down. He would also like to see preference given to local businesses in the city bidding process. In addition, Evans wants to see a Business and Job Creation Commission created to address the needs of the business community. “There are over 25 different city commissions representing various interests and needs, yet none of them represent the interests of business and job creation,” said Evans.
Candidate Bruce Kennedy elected not to participate in this article.
The last day to register to vote in the May 18 Flagstaff City Council election is April 19. It will be a polling place election. Voters can apply for an early ballot.
More information is available online: www.coconino.az.gov/elections. FBN