FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 2017

12:00 NOON
Call to Order

Pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice is hereby given to the members of the City Council and to the general public that, at this work session, the City Council may vote to go into executive session, which will not be open to the public, for legal advice and discussion with the City’s attorneys for legal advice on any item listed on the following agenda, pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.03(A)(3).
  Mayor Evans called the Special Work Session of April 28, 2017, to order at 12:01 p.m.
2. Pledge of Allegiance
  Vice Mayor Whelan led the audience and Flagstaff City Council in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and Councilmember Odegaard read the Mission Statement of the City of Flagstaff.
3. Roll Call
NOTE: One or more Councilmembers may be in attendance telephonically or by other technological means.



  Others present: City Manager Josh Copley and City Attorney Sterling Solomon. Guests present: State Representative Bob Thorpe and State Senator Sylvia Allen.
4. State Legislative Briefing
  City Manager Josh Copley welcomed the legislators to the luncheon meeting, stating that this was an informal opportunity for state legislators to have a conversation with the Council and referenced the handout which outlined the City's Intergovernmental Relations Program.

Senator Allen provided an update of what has been happening down at the state:

Think it is going to be a good budget; it is structurally balanced and education will come out well. She said that they were not in favor of the TPT (transaction privilege tax) for the universities because of the impact it would have on rural cities and counties. The money that the universities need to bond will come out of the general fund.

She said that as Chairman of the Education Committee, they have been focusing on education and have been able to do some good things for the teachers. They used to have to renew certificates every 6 years; they have put in some reforms that have moved that to 12 years. They did away with provisional certificates. Once they get through student teaching they should be able to get their certificate and move on.

She said that there are not a lot of teachers in the rural areas, so they are providing for an emergency certification that will provide a professional who has content knowledge and a bachelors degree or masters degree the ability to substitute at a school. Additionally, she said that they are in dire need of physics and chemistry teachers and they have set up $300,000 to allow for scholarships of $2,000 if they are teaching fifth grade math or biology. She said that if they are willing to get extra training, they will help pay for that education.

She said that they have a $250,000 student loan program to help those teachers willing to teach in rural Arizona for three years money toward their student loans. She concluded, noting that Snowflake Junior High School won a national Samsung grant for demonstrating how important STEM is, and they will be getting $240,000.
  Representative Thorpe provided an update of what has been happening down at the state:

Social service providers - Something they need more funding for and he has met with other members to make them aware of the need.

With regard to universities, there is $15 million in the Governor's proposal.

Dark Skies License Plates, he said that they get so many requests and they are normally approved, but it is difficult for ADOT stay on top of them. He said that there are a lot of up-front fees. He said that he is a big supporter of dark skies and has met with Lowell for a long time, and he supports the request.

He said that there are a number of members going to do another tour of the forests. He said that there are many different things in Northern Arizona taking place with regard to the forests. He has met numerous times with Dr. Covington who has told him that their forests should be around 50 trees per acre, but in most cases they exceed 300 an acre. When they have that density it is not healthy and is prone to fire.

He said that he met with Game and Fish re a $10 million bond which the Center for Biological Diversity was trying to stop because of the spotted owl.

He asked City staff to send him an outline of issues related to the state liquor licensing laws; he would be happy to help.

With regard to the Aviation Fund, he said that he was not sure he was that aware. He did meet with the manager at Pulliam.

He said that the HURF funds are always a concern.

He said that two years ago there was a $2 million hit to county juvenile corrections. This year their budget for the state is $250 million. He offered a bill for the smaller counties to eliminate the juvenile correction facilities and transfer them to larger facilities.

Additionally, he said that this last year he ran legislation to help correct a problem in Sedona to make zoning protests consistent with County language.

He said that most members at the Legislature do not want to go down the road of a TPT collection on universities going to them. He said that they recognize there is a need, but it not only impacts the state, but the local communities.

He said that the budget includes $55 million for new school construction K-12 which seems to be going through okay.

The budget also includes a 1% bonus for teachers, which equates to around $30 million.

Representative Thorpe said that he has a good relationship with the director of the Department of Housing and would be happy to talk with him about the housing issue.

With regard to SB 1487, he said that he is Vice Chairman of Government and he would have changed it to where nothing would occur as long as there was good communication happening between the legislator and the City. He said that he will bring back a bill next year. He feels that the State Legislature needs to be treating the local cities with respect and if there is a problem, to address it respectfully through communication.

Senator Allen said that she had not seen the City's list. With regard to the Senate Budget, they included a higher raise for teachers, and she believed they will win on that item.

She said that she also got involved with the mental illness issues and has been working with Jeff Taylor with Salvation Army. They are trying to make it to where when someone is arrested, instead of having them incarcerated, they are treated for their addiction. By treating them up front, it will save them money in the long run.

She briefly reviewed the listed items, noting that she supports the changes proposed by Representative Thorpe with regard to SB1487. She said that forest health is a priority for her and there is money in the budget for a State Forester. She said that she would like to learn more about the PACE program. She was not familiar with it, but would be happy to advocate.

Senator Allen said that she would like more information on the lowest responsible bidder issue, would be looking at state housing and noted that HURF is always a big deal. She said that Prop. 301 was important to education and they need to get back on the ballot.
  At this time the work session was opened up for comments from Councilmembers.

Councilmember McCarthy said that the gas tax has not been raised since the mid 1990's. Maintenance of the roads is of real concern to the public and an increase could provide funding for road widening and improvements. Representative Thorpe agreed that the tax has not not kept up with inflation, and they have seen a 500% increase in paving projects. He said that not sweeping those funds for DPS would be a benefit, but right now the tax is not keeping up.

Representative Thorpe continued, with regard to DPS, that at the remote stations around the state, the facilities in which the officers live are mobile homes built in the 1970's and they are starting to fall apart. They need $9 million to start replacing those facilities. He said that for someone traveling from Flagstaff to Page, through Gray Mountain, if they were to lose the DPS officers the only officers out there would be tribal and it is important to have a DPS presence.

Councilmember Odegaard thanked everyone for attending today. He said that he was glad to hear that it sounds like the TPT shift to the universities was dead.

He said that one of his concerns, with being a small business owner, is in sending his sales tax collection down to the state. He would like to see that come back to the local communities. He said that the local government can meet the needs and questions that businesses have faster and more responsively.

Senator Allen said that is an issue they are hearing a lot about now. She said that if they have a problem with the Department of Revenue, they should contact her office; they have ways to get through some of those barriers quicker.

Mayor Evans noted to the public in attendance that if they had written comment cards completed, they could hand them to Mr. Dille, to make sure they are included in the conversation.

Vice Mayor Whelan said that she shared in the appreciation for coming up and spending time with them. She also shares the passion for their state, community and education system. With that in mind, she wanted to reflect about the idea of one size fits all. She was concerned with lowering the standards required of teachers. She said that education is much more about dumping information. She said that they have moved toward the industrial model of everyone being taught the same, but the beauty is that they are all different and need different types of learning.

With regard to SB1487, Vice Mayor Whelan said that she looks at it as if she does her responsibilities, she gets her allowance; if she pushes up against some authority, she does not. She said that they are all invested in this; they are all elected officials.

Representative Thorpe said that he has had a great experience with the Flag Coconuts and has been a judge for there competitions. He said that he has toured the City's two high schools and was so impressed. He has told the principals that they need to share what they are doing around the state.

Representative Thorpe said that he and Senator Allen travel around the country in the off season and go to meetings where they get together with other legislators. He said that at the last meeting he met with a delegation from Utah where they are providing a tablet for one year, as a loan, to children that were pre-K. He said that it was costing the state $800 per child, but when they entered Kindergarten and first grade, they were one to two grades ahead of the others.

Councilmember Putzova asked if either legislators would be willing to entertain the idea of repealing SB1070 to keep their residents from living in fear. Representative Thorpe said that SB1070 occurred before he was down there, but his understanding is that after court challenges, 90% of the law was found constitutional. He said that the Feds typically see themselves as the final arbitrator re immigration and he doubts there is anyone in the Legislature interested in repealing it. He then reviewed some different meetings he has had with residents in the southern part of the state regarding illegal crossings.

Senator Allen said that she would not see any way of getting it repealed. She is more interested in putting more effort in the legal immigration path. She said that it used to be a lot easier and cheaper. In the 1970's her family sponsored a family to relocate. She said that for two to three years she has dealt with the Chairman of the Board of Security and it is a horrendous problem in southern Arizona. She said that their nation has a right to secure its border.

Councilmember Barotz asked the legislators to address local control. Representative Thorpe said that he appreciates local control, but he also appreciates uniformity with some items throughout the state. They try to have a balance of both. Senator Allen said that the cities are dependent on the state and the states are dependent on the Feds. In the state position, they have to look at what is good for the entire state. She said that she supports local control and tries to be careful in her votes, as they all depend on each other.

Councilmember Barotz urged the legislators to continue on the path to prohibit guns in public facilities. She said that she is terrified to sit in a chamber that would allow for guns. Representative Thorpe said that they just recently installed metal detectors at the House. He said that in a perfect world they would be able to have a police officer at each entrance.
5. Informational Items To/From Mayor, Council, and City Manager; future agenda item requests.
6. Adjournment
  Mayor Evans presented each legislator with a token of appreciation. Mayor Evans invited the citizens to stay and interact with the legislators and the meeting was adjourned at 1:07 p.m.




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