Most employers inside Flagstaff city limits will be required to pay a higher minimum wage starting next July of $12 and rising to $15 by 2021.
Flagstaff voters approved Proposition 414 Tuesday night with 53.26 percent voting in support and 46.74 percent voting against the local initiative, as of press time. The measure raises the minimum
“It’s been a long process to get to this point,” said Eva Putzova in press release. Putzova is a Flagstaff city councilmember and the chair of the Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition.
The Coalition stated in its release that it plans to stay active to help educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities under the new law and to ensure the voters’ will is carried out as intended by proposition 414. Exempted are state and federal employers.
Stuart McDaniel, the treasure of BizPac, said he was surprised by the results for the Flagstaff minimum wage proposition. BizPac is a political action committee supported by the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.
"That will end up hurting the community," he predicted. "The town has shifted to the left."
The proposition will change city ordinances to set a local minimum wage. The city’s minimum wage will increase from $8.05 an hour to $15 an hour by 2021. It will also raise wages for tipped workers, such as wait staff at restaurants, to $15 an hour by 2026. It also requires that the city’s minimum wage always be at least $2 above the state minimum wage and that it be increased based on the cost of living each January.
That last clause will wind up accelerating the Flagstaff wage hike to $12 on July 1, 2017, when Prop. 414 officially takes effect. That's because Prop. 206, calling for a $12 minimum wage, passed statewide, and it raises the minimum wage initially to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2017.
413: Greater Buffalo Park
The passage of the Greater Buffalo Park proposition was not a surprise to many at the Republican election watch party.
McDaniel said the organization had a great marketing campaign.
Prop. 413 is a measure designating 300 acres of city-owned land near Buffalo Park as passive recreation open space. It would allow the city to donate 10 acres of land for the construction of a veterans home on the property by Arizona and federal government. Changing the use would require the city council to get voter permission.
412: New Municipal Court
The city of Flagstaff’s Municipal Court will have a new home in the new year. Voters approved a $12 million bond issue from the city to help fund a new courthouse, with 52.39 percent voting in favor and 47.61 percent voting against.
The cost of the new courthouse will be built next to the existing Coconino County Superior Court on the site of the old jail. The $40 million cost of the new building will be split between the city and the county, with $12 million of the city’s share coming from the bond and $11.5 million from court fees, property sales, redevelopment funds and a capitol funding transfer.
411: Bus tax renewal
The wheels on the Mountain Line and Mountain Lift buses will continue to go round for another 10 years. Voters approved a renewal of a 0.295 sales tax for transit services Tuesday night with 71.35 percent voting for and 28.65 percent voting against the proposition.
The sales tax was due to expire in 2020. The Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Transportation Authority will use the funds to continue and an expand Flagstaff’s bus service.