Flagstaff City Council met digitally Tuesday afternoon to discuss and consider numerous resolutions, agreements and ordinances.
The council approved a grant of over $18 million, which will fund operation and maintenance expenses of the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. An amendment to reduce the rent of certain tenants for at least six months was considered by council. American Airlines, United Airlines, various rental car companies and other commercial tenants were included in the abatement. The grant will cover costs that would usually be paid for with the $350,000 of lease revenue the airport will lose.
A robust discussion regarding the urgency and severity of the abatement was held among the council. Councilmembers expressed concern with granting money to these major corporations, but not providing rent forgiveness poses a risk of losing airline business and flight routes. Vice Mayor Adam Shimoni expressed concern for local businesses and uneasiness of approving the amendment.
Councilmember Jim McCarthy said more information was needed for a vote and proposed to "table" the motion given the lack of clarity and consensus among the council. The vote was postponed until the council’s next meeting on June 2.
The city was also granted about $65,000 from the Department of Justice to address expenses pertaining to the purchase of personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and items utilized to help combat the spread of COVID-19. The grant was approved by council.
Council also voted for the city to hold a special election Aug. 4 in addition to the Nov. 3 general election.
A memorandum regarding mutual interest of clean energy and sustainability between the city of Flagstaff and APS was approved by council. The city and electrical company will collaborate to achieve goals of sustainability. Sustainability Manager Nicole Antonopoulos said she looks forward to developing a plan with council.
Councilmembers also approved an intergovernmental agreement between Flagstaff and the state of Arizona to construct a roundabout at Fourth Street, Cedar Avenue and Lockett Drive near Mount Elden Middle School. The goal of installing the roundabout is safety and reduction of vehicle collisions. A crosswalk will also be installed. The city expects to contribute about $60,000 to the project.
Lastly, the council gave an update regarding the Rio de Flag project, which received $52 million from the United States Army Corps of Engineers in February of this year. Designs and plans for the project continue to progress and phase one is projected for September.