Home > Elected Officials, Flagstaff Liberty Alliance, New Media, Politics > Setting The Record Straight: City Council Property Tax Vote

Setting The Record Straight: City Council Property Tax Vote

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Last week the Arizona Daily Sun reported that the new Flagstaff City Council had voted to decrease property taxes in Flagstaff by 3% causing a $270,000 budget gap.

Their misleading title Tax Cut Passes at Flagstaff City Council and false information in the article caused the kind of knee jerk hysteria you would expect from the tax and spend types and within hours there were calls online to recall the newly elected council.

What the article glossed over is the fact that no tax rate decrease was ever on the table and no tax rate decrease ever passed. The tax rate was kept flat.

Since when is keeping the tax rate flat considered a tax cut? Property values have fallen in recent years but would the Daily Sun consider rising property values a “tax hike”? I don’t think so.

Time to set the record straight:

FACT: The new council simply voted to keep the tax rate at 2012 levels rather than approve a 2% tax rate increase.

FACT: The City of Flagstaff has $8,157,759 in reserve to cover any possible shortfall in the upcoming budget.

FACT: Flagstaff’s bond rating will NOT be negatively affected by keeping the tax rate flat.

I think Councilmember Woodson put it best at last Tuesday’s meeting:

“I think it’s a little inflammatory to talk about cuts in fund balance when we’re talking about $270,000 in a general fund budget of roughly $50,000,000. I think when we look at the end of the year, I’d almost guarantee that we’ve had $270,000 excess of expenditures not spent every year since you’ve kept records. I’ll guarantee that. We don’t spend up to the last dollar. So when we start talking about cuts to the fund balance we’re not going there. We’re not going into the fund balance. We’re not going into cuts.”

Tonight the Flagstaff City Council will be discussing this issue more at their 5:30 pm work session. Last week Councilmember Barotz expressed concern that the City was counting on a 2% property tax increase each year for the next five years even though none of those increases had been approved by the council. Hopefully the subject comes up again tonight.

That kind of budgeting is what gives the Daily Sun the opportunity to use 2+2=5 math in order to cause a public reaction in favor of tax rate increases.  What they don’t realize is that most of us are not falling for the scare tactics anymore.


  1. Balthazaar
    June 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Why is the Sun so incompetent?

  2. June 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Randy Wilson’s editorial in the Daily Sun is even worse when it comes to deliberately getting the facts wrong. Jerry Nabours and Jeff Oravits NEVER signed any tax pledge and yet this is what Randy says:

    “If Oravits and new Mayor Jerry Nabours, who also took the “no new taxes” pledge, had been involved in deliberating and passing next year’s city budget, they might have had some standing to challenge the taxes that supported it.”

    Source: http://m.azdailysun.com/news/opinion/editorial/unbalancing-city-budget-bad-start-for-new-council/article_27c6b560-c3f3-5195-a9d4-666d8e723af6.html?mode=story#ixzz1z2NqupVr

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