Starting the meeting, NAU’s marching band played the university's fight song and invited the city to attend NAU’s homecoming week, emphasizing the football and volleyball game, the parade and the Lumberjack march.
Afterwards the public was called up for a multitude of reasons before starting the first section of the meeting.
The meeting started with the council passing the resolution 2018-50. This is a plan amending the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030 by also amending the Future Growth Illustration and Road Network Illustration to maintain consistency with the McMillan Mesa Natural Area. This would clarify the extent of surrounding land uses on city property, correct mapping error and establish an effective date.
The resolution was passed unanimously.
Following was the discussion of ordinance 2018-35, which wishes to change a restriction in the employee handbook of regulations about residency and use of city vehicles. The amendment wishes to change the current rule that employees must live within 12 miles of their workplace to stating that an employee must live an hour away of a call to work, excluding firefighters.
Vice Mayor Jamie Whelan brought up her concern of passing this without a public discussion, stating that the public should be able to express their thoughts and this discussion should be made in full transparency. Whelan proposed the first reading not be passed until a public discussion is held, but other members of the council disagreed. The public can express their thoughts within the three weeks until the second hearing and then vote on the second reading.
Fire Chief Mark Gaillard commented on the concerns of firefighters being exempt from the one hour rule explaining that he has full faith in firefighters and it would help hire more firefighters with Flagstaff’s housing being expensive. Explaining that the fear of firefighters being far away should not concern the community.
“I’ve been working with firefighters for over 30 years. Their loyalty is nuts,” said Gaillard.
In the end, the first reading was passed with only Whelan voting no.
Afterwards, ordinance 2018-36 covering the topic of a FMPO employee was passed unanimously.
The next resolution, 2018-47, discussed the city’s plan of funds going to Coconino County for a new animal shelter. The shelter that was formerly a Second Chance Center for Animals was given to the city with two requests for proposal coming through: one from Coconino Humane Society And Paw Placement of Northern Arizona (PPNAZ) with PPNAZ coming out on top of the two proposals.
With the new resolution, the City of Flagstaff would increase their total spending $42,890; a total of $30,500 — originally $250,000 — being added to a contract Flagstaff pays and an annual cost of $12,390 to the PPNAZ. The resolution was heavily discussed in response to the wording of the resolution, where the money would go, and what the money would be used for. After a break and switch to the following item on the agenda waiting on information, the resolution was passed unanimously.
Breaking into resolution 2018-47 and continuing after the passing of 2018-47, the following resolution 2018-49 was discussed.
Resolution 2018-49 amends the Procurement Code Manual for change orders to require any plans that go $50 thousand over what money was awarded to require council approval; unlike the current change order, which is based off a percentage of what money is awarded. This would negate the percent aspect and if a change order increases the project over $50 thousand, regardless of the amount awarded before, the change must go through council.
City council debated the wording of the amendment before the second change was brought up that specifies and emphasizes that the contract allowance can only be added to design, bid or build contracts. This changes the current rule saying that it will be added to all design and construction based on engineer’s estimates among other changes.
“This proposed Resolution No. 2018-49 is to obtain approval and adoption of the proposed amendments applicable to Article 25, Sections 25.1, 25.2 and 25.3 within the City's Procurement Code Manual that are outlined in the attached Resolution,” according to the Flagstaff City Council agenda.
Technicalities of the resolution were discussed before the final decision was made. During that time Andy Fernandez spoke out against the issues of these change of orders saying companies purposefully lowball bids to win to then have a change of order months later to fit the actual cost. Fernandez argued these issues abuse tax money and needs to be addressed.
“They [the City of Flagstaff] allowed the scenario of the taxpayers to be raped and pillaged by a system that was formulated by a backdoor deal for some council members, some city employees and corporate entities,” said Fernandez.
Finally, the council continued discussing the changes, terminology and functionality of the resolution. Council members mentioned that this resolution isn’t ready for voting until the council’s changes can be addressed. The council voted unanimously to postpone the resolution to a later date.
The final ordinance discussed was ordinance 2018-20, addressing an increase to a surcharge for non-city residents of Flagstaff to lower the rate for fire protection services of those in the city, as well as a 2 percent annual inflationary modifier addition to outside city contracts to simplify budget forecasting for the city and contracts.
These additions and modifications hope to create a fair and equal fire protection service for everyone in the City of Flagstaff. The ordinance was passed unanimously and will be redressed Nov. 6.