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Set the Record Straight
Overview
The City of Flagstaff strives to provide accurate information to the public in a number of ways. For example, we often use the assistance of the media to communicate our messages. On occasion, we request a correction or clarification from the media on a story that may contain a factual error. On this page, we hope to "set the record straight" by providing that factual information directly to the public, and we will post any corrections or clarifications that we have requested from the media. 

March 9, 2014: Flagstaff road fix package ballons - Arizona Daily Sun
The article states that maxing our the City's property tax rate would add about $600,000 next fiscal year. The correct amount is $300,000 as explained here: 

The City assesses a primary property tax every year to help pay for services in the General Fund, such as Police, Fire, Recreation, and Parks.  Arizona Statute allows the City to increase the amount of revenue (the levy) it receives every year by 2% plus the value of new construction.  If the City would increase the primary property tax levy by the allowed 2%, an additional $100,000 in revenue would be generated annually.  The City has only received increased primary property tax revenues for the last two years as the result of adding new construction to the property tax rolls.  The ability to increase the property taxes by 2% does not expire, but rather accumulates when it’s not taken for one or more years.  Should the City choose to increase revenues in the next budget year by the statutorily allowed amount, a total 6% increase could be allowed (2% for last year plus 2% in the current year plus 2% for the coming year).  As each 2% equals approximately $100,000 per year, a 6% increase would generate $300,000 in new revenue to the City.

February 13, 2014: Dark skies caught in energy flap - Arizona Daily Sun
The second to last paragraph on page A6 incorrectly states the Council vote on the energy code. The final vote was unanimous 7-0. The article incorretly said the vote was 4-3.  

December 6, 2013: Flagstaff budget starting in hole - Arizona Daily Sun
The article notes that the FY14 General Fund expenditures increased 7.7% over FY13 (the actual growth in the total General Fund budget was 9.6%).  While this is accurate, it is an incomplete explanation.  The total General Fund appropriations increased from $54.9 million to $60.2 million, or the 9.6%.  However, that includes reserves ($1.6 million), capital projects ($8.4 million), etc.  Moreover, half of the $8.4 million in capital includes a solar panel project that is offset by the lease proceeds used to finance the construction and will be paid through energy credits and reduced future costs that makes it a net neutral project.  The General Fund Operating budget grew from $47.7 million to $49.1, or 2.8%.  This includes the 3.2% compensation increase and over $1 million increase in fixed costs (ex. pensions, liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, energy costs, etc.).  In order to only limit the increase to 2.8%, the City cut an average 1.5% across all General Fund expenditures.  Therefore, the budget was balanced significantly on re-allocation as well as revenue growth.


February 28, 2013: Council: City will finish Rio - Arizona Daily Sun

The headline "Council: City will finish Rio" is inaccurate. The Council made no such commitment at its Tuesday meeting. The Council in fact decided wait to make any decision on the future of the Rio until after members travel to Washington to meet with Federal officials.

February 17, 2013: Council nixes hike in taxes - Arizona Daily Sun
The article left out two critical facts that make the headline inaccurate and misleading. The Council agreed to consider applying a sales tax to the purchase of water, and, the Council agreed to hold a worksession to discuss transportation funding through the use of a sales tax.

November 15, 2012: Gay Civil Rights in Flagstaff on the move - Arizona Daily Sun

The City Council DID NOT direct staff to create a seperate agency to handle and investigate complaints, as stated in this Arizona Daily Sun article. The Council directed staff to include a provision that would provide for a contracted independent hearing officer, who is not in any way afffiliated with the City, to handle complaints after they have been screened by existing city staff.

November 13, 2012: Gay civil rights back on agenda - Arizona Daily Sun
Education is NOT part of the discussion at tonight's City Council worksession. The article stated...."on a proposal to write new laws that could add new protections for sexual orientation and gender identify to the list of personal characteristics that are protected in the areas of employement, public accomodation and education."

October 2012: Flagstaff Business News article on City Bond Questions contained one misrepresentation and one error
The caption of the photo provides a significant misrepresetnation. Staff explained to the author more than once that City employees can only inform the public about the bond, and cannot advocate in favor.  Despite this, the author elected to state in the caption that the staff member pictured “supports” the bond.

Error in citation of bond issues. The author
 confused #405 (Forest Bond) and #406 (Core Services Facility) by stating that #406 “also          addresses clean up and treatment of watershed areas and flood prevention for Lake Mary Reservoir and Rio de Flag.  Funds from the bond will allow for treatment of US Forest Service lands outside of Flagstaff and will augment the work of the US Forest Service.”  This should have been credited to #405, not #406.      

December 18, 2011: City Bonds Add Up

In writing about the upgrades and additional costs needed to complete the Wildcat Wastewater Treatment plant the article states: "The city nearly exhausted the utility's reserve fund in order to cover the cost overruns. This later forced the Council to approve an increase in the utility rate in order to resolve financial shortfalls in the city-run utility."

The article attempts to tie the rate increase to the cost overruns. In fact, the City was year's overdue for a review of its rate structure, as part of best practices for a utility, and not because of the Wildcat project. Following a comprehensive review and recommendation, the Council approved the rate changes. The Council also requested that the next rate review take place within three years, and not wait again for five years.
 
May 25, 2011: Citizen Group Criticizes Council
The article states: "Task force members said last week they did not have a close working relationship with the city manager and were often brought into budget discussions at the last minute. In fact, commissioners said they were given a draft copy of the city manager's recommended budget a few days before a three-day budget retreat several weeks ago."

That statement makes it appear that the manager's recommended budget information was provided to the task force late, or later than others recieved it. The reporter was aware, as was the task force, that the information was provided to everyone at the same time. The Council and Task Force received printed copies on Friday. That same information was posted to the City website for staff and the public on Friday.

February 16, 2011: Correction to Arizona Daily Sun Article. "No size limits on pot centers"
The article states that the Council did not support an attempt by Mayor Sara Presler to require home caregivers to register with the City when delivering medical pot to their housebound patients.

Correction: The Council supported the Mayor's attempt but needed time to have staff develop the legislation / amendment that would accomplish the goal. During the meeting Vice-Mayor Celia Barotz summed up the Council's intent, "I think there is no dispute for what your objective is. I think there is a lot of support for that. I think what the City Attorney and City Manager are saying is that we don't know how to structure that at this moment in time. And that we need to defer resolution on how to accomplish the objective".

The City Manager stated at the meeting that staff will come back with an amendment that addressed the Mayor's intent.
 
January 25, 2011: Correction to Arizona Daily Sun Article, "Collect that rain – or else”
The article leaves out important components.

  • This is a recommendation by a group of citizen "Stakeholders" to the City Council and is not a proposed ordinance at this time.
  • The article is incomplete in providing the recommendation from the Stakeholder, leaving out an important and less sensational component: the recommendation would require newly constructed non-single family residences to actively capture rainwater unless they use native or drought tolerant plants for their landscaping.
 
The recommended language is: 
  • Require passive RWH techniques for all new single-family impervious surfaces per future COF RWH Design Document
  • See the Rainwater Harvesting Group Recommendations Summary Sheet
  • Active rainwater harvesting systems are mandatory, with a storage tank sized to capture a minimum of 1” of rainfall from the roof, or to provide anticipated annual landscaping water demand, whichever is less, for new developments (including those less than ¼ acre) other than single family residential.
Except:
    • In cases in which the developer uses exclusively native/drought-tolerant plants in compliance with Landscaping Standards and utilizes passive rainwater harvesting; or,
    • Where landscaping water demand can be met through other sources of non-potable water