There are 91 incorporated cities in Arizona, from giant Phoenix to tiny Tusayan. Flagstaff is 13th in population size. As you can imagine, most cities have common issues. We all have police departments, roads to maintain, utility services, zoning laws and building officials.
When mayors get together, they always end up asking each other, “What is your city doing about …” We are looking for the best ideas to deal with everything from tight funds to economic development. And when there is a new state or federal law or court case, we are asking each other how to best respond (every city now has panhandling problems and sign code confusion).
The League of Arizona Cities is the clearinghouse for city information sharing and the advocate for city rights.
Last month was the League’s annual conference in Scottsdale. (It is too large for Flagstaff to host.) There were 20 different topic sessions to choose from in three days. Everything from the latest on police body cams to municipal financing options.
Like most large organizations, the day-to-day work is done by the staff and the executive committee. I was recently re-elected to the executive committee. Before me, Flagstaff went five years without representation on this important committee.
Two recent examples of the League’s work are:
State revenues are shared with the cities according to population based on the last census. What happens between censuses? The faster-growing cities were arguing for a population recalculation. Flagstaff stood to lose about $250,000 under their estimates. The League worked out a fair agreement and we came out ahead.
All cities were facing a financial crisis if changes were not made to the required pension system. The League put together a task force that worked out a solution agreeable to the cities and the employees.
You may belong to a trade or industry association. If so, you know there are some issues that affect everyone in your business. You have to be united. Cities are no different, and that’s why the League is important to Flagstaff. FBN
By Jerry Nabours