Advocating for business before government to affect good public policy that creates a strong business climate and vibrant economy is part of the mission of the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce. BizPAC, the political action committee of the Chamber, is designed to be instrumental in electing proactive, business-minded candidates in Flagstaff. We engaged in a thorough process of evaluation based on responses to a candidate questionnaire, voting records if applicable, public statements and at candidate forums.
Greater Flagstaff Chamber President and CEO Julie Pastrick states, “Consideration was also given to the candidate’s demonstrated community leadership and perceived ability to sustain and grow a strong business climate through sound fiscal and regulatory policies.”
After exhaustive non- partisan discussions and deliberation, the Greater Flagstaff Chamber endorses the following candidates for mayor and city council:
Mayor – Jerry Nabours
Mayor Nabours pragmatic and thoughtful leadership has served Flagstaff well the past four years. The respect he has earned across the State, including his election by his peers as the Chair of the Greater Arizona Mayor’s Association, will continue to pay dividends for Flagstaff. There are substantive issues of economic development, housing and traffic that require a measured approach while honoring our regional plan and ensuring a reliable water supply in a time of growth. Mayor Nabours has demonstrated a desire to listen and work in the best interest of Flagstaff without regard to ideology.
City Council – Jeff Oravits
Incumbent Councilman Jeff Oravits has championed fiscal responsibility at the City level while focused on increased investment on roads and infrastructure. His ability to foster positive relationships with statewide elected officials helped to secure $10 million for a much needed Veteran’s facility on McMillan Mesa. His experience as a small businessman has paid off as he works to bring consensus at City Hall.
City Council – Karla Brewster
Two term Councilmember Brewster brings a wealth of experience and leadership to Flagstaff. Her background in education and work with ECoNA brings an understanding that will be invaluable as our community continues to grow. Her perspective on the needs of small business is valuable to our economic prosperity. She has served our community well and we are confident that she will continue to do so.
City Council – Charlie Odegaard
Mr. Odegaard will bring a fresh perspective to the Council as a third generation Flagstaff resident and small business owner who is passionate about his hometown. His understanding of the issues important to small business is evidenced from experience as co-owner of a 40 year old family business. He is involved in the community and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Water Commission. His desire to make a positive difference in the lives of all citizens is welcomed.
The Chamber recommendations for the local ballot initiative are:
Prop 410 – YES
Coconino Community College Property Tax Budget Override to expand education and job training programs. Taxpayers are currently paying $2 per month for an average home for a bond that will expire in 2019. This bond package will increase the average homeowners tax bill to $3 per month beginning in 2019. A dollar a month increase is an excellent investment in the future education of our community and workforce training needed by local companies.
Prop 411 – YES
Continuation of Mountain Line sales tax that is set to expire in 2020. Public transportation is an essential function of effective local government and NAIPTA provides reliable bus service to those without cars and others. This helps to relieve congestion as we continue to grow and is an economic development driver by providing the means to get to work, school and local attractions. Many riders are employees at local businesses without other means of transportation.
Prop 412 – YES
Allows the City of Flagstaff to sell and issue general obligation bonds up to $12 million for a new, much needed City Court complex and parking garage. The plans are to create a joint facility in partnership with Coconino County at the currently vacant old jail on Agassiz. The site of the current court will become available to private redevelopment adding to downtown’s vibrancy and creating a sales & property tax revenue stream for the City. There would be no change to the existing secondary property tax if approved.
Prop 413 – NO
The McMillan Mesa open space initiative would ensure nearly three hundred (300) acres of land never to be developed for much needed housing or future growth that will increase our economic vitality. The lack of affordable housing is an important issue and this will only serve to exacerbate the problem. Buffalo Park is near this area and WILL NOT be affected by voting no.
Prop 414 – NO
$15 per hour minimum wage initiative will hurt the very people that it purports to assist by reducing opportunities for work and eliminating local jobs. This will be devastating to the small businesses that make up the majority of our community as many will be unable to raise prices to keep up with the increased labor costs. Consumer goods will rise in price to make up for forced increased wages creating an inflationary effect on our local economy. The majority of people earning minimum wage are acquiring the skills needed to advance and earn more in other careers.
Statewide ballot Initiatives:
Prop 206 – NO
This initiative would raise the statewide minimum wage to $12 per hour while also granting one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked – even for part time employees. This measure will increase the cost of doing business in Arizona and result in less employment.
Prop 205 – NO
This initiative is not only about legalizing recreational marijuana as it is much further reaching than the Colorado bill that legalized marijuana. The effects on that state are not as rosy as some would like to purport. There have been increased tax revenues but they have not kept up with the increased costs for public health and safety and government oversight. The human resource and safety issues to business owners will be troublesome.