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Letter to the Editor: County, city going in 'wrong direction' as far as growth?

Letter to the Editor: County, city going in 'wrong direction' as far as growth?

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In a recent study done by a labor analytics company, EMSI, Maricopa County was the No. 1 county in the country for job growth (Arizona Republic, 12/14/2020). Not just in quantity, but also in quality. Out of nine counties studied in Arizona, Coconino County was last and the firm indicated we are highly dependent on tourism and we have "gone in the wrong direction."

We ranked 418th out of 601 counties studied nationwide, certainly nothing to brag about. Additionally, our cost of living is 35% higher than the national average. Obviously we aren't any good at economic development, in spite of spending a lot of money just going through the motions.

So, what are we good at? We are awesome at creating low-paying, tourist-related jobs. We are great at planning. Our Southside plan has just won an international award -- which is outstanding. We are stupendous at increasing building and development regulations. Just ask any builder or developer about all the increased regulations over the past 20 years. We are terrific at increasing fees, the impact fees for public safety just doubled in the last couple of months. And we are simply awesome at electing people who are more interested in keeping people out and increasing regulation than working for the people who are already here.

Flagstaff is an awesome city in an awesome location. We will always be attractive to people wanting to get away from somewhere else or those just wanting to get out of the heat. The problem is they have the resources to absorb our high cost of housing, and the more we restrict development the higher those houses will cost, and it won't dissuade those coming from somewhere else in the least.

Maybe it’s time to quit focusing on who comes here from where and start focusing on those who are already here. We need to be great for those people who have invested their lives and raised their families here. We can be better than 418th because we have far more to offer.




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