Jeff Oravits for Flagstaff City Council

PRIORITIES: What three specific issues will you bring forward to the City Council if you are elected (What are your three main priorities)?

1. Infrastructure Investment
2. Traffic Congestion Plan
3. Jobs & Economic Growth

CITY COUNCIL CRITIQUE: Among City Council decisions in last 24 months, what is one decision that you support and one that you were disappointed with and why?

I was happy to support the expansion and enhancement of Bushmaster Park. I want to see more of our parks improved and enhanced, including the addition of adaptive playground equipment so that everyone can have access.

I was disappointed by the opposition by some Councilmembers in purchasing right of way along Humphrey’s for future turn lanes. Ultimately this acquisition was approved and ADOT now has plans for a turning lane to help relieve traffic on Humphrey’s. Long term planning and the ability to see the value in decisions made today for future purposes is critical for Flagstaff’s future.

EXPERIENCE WITH CITY GOVERNMENT: Please describe your experience serving on City boards, commissions, or task forces and describe your involvement so far in shaping City-level policies.

I was elected to the Flagstaff City Council in 2012 and I’m currently running for my second four year term. I currently serve on the Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization, Northern Arizona Municipal Water Association and have served on many other boards and commissions over the years. I’ve built extensive collaborative relationships with many state and federal elected representatives that have brought much progress to our community. I have extensive experience in both the private and public sector and look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve our community.

CAMPAIGN FOR A GREATER BUFFALO PARK BALLOT INITIATIVE: Do you support or oppose the ballot initiative to protect the city-owned lands on McMillan Mesa as a park? Why?

As your Flagstaff City Council Representative I have been a part of a Council that has preserved more open space than any Council in our community’s history. We’ve increased protected open space by a factor of 10 (approx.). Over the past four years we’ve seen the preservation of Picture Canyon, Observatory Mesa and the Buffalo Park Annex to name a few. At this point I am neutral on this measure until I have more time to look at it in detail. I am happy that the portion of the land for the future Veterans Care Home has been excluded.

FLAGSTAFF NEEDS A RAISE BALLOT INITIATIVE: Do you support or oppose the ballot initiative to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15/hour over 5 years? Why?

I am opposed to this measure. For many years I’ve worked hard to grow our economy and bring higher paying jobs to Flagstaff through sensible policies and reasonable approaches. I was surprised to learn that the measure is for $15 per hour. Some may find it easy to forget the horrible shape Flagstaff’s economy was in just a couple of years ago as we struggled to get out of the Great Recession. Over the past few years we’ve seen dramatic improvements to our economy. I believe the push for a $15 minimum wage will have deep unintended consequences that I am convinced will negatively affect the very people it portends to help.

WATER 1. Do you support or oppose having our limited local water resources be taken into consideration when planning for growth and development in Flagstaff? Why?

I absolutely support taking into account any new development’s water usage on our existing and future water supplies. Over the past four years I’ve worked to improve our infrastructure, including our water delivery system. In fact, I lead the way on the initiative to fix our streets and the utility lines under them. This led to the successful passage of prop 406, $100,000,000 towards our infrastructure. I will continue to push to improve our infrastructure and water conservation.

WATER 2. Do you support or oppose accessing water from Red Gap Ranch to meet future water needs? Why?

Flagstaff is going to need the water at Red Gap Ranch at some point. Over the past four years Council has worked on acquiring the proper right of way to build a future water line. I support the use of this water. I also support water conservation and repairing our aging utility lines that leak about 10% of our water. It’s responsible to plan for our future needs and water will continue to be of the highest priority.

DORMITORY-STYLE (HIGH OCCUPANCY) HOUSING 1. Would you support or oppose re-evaluating the zoning code to ensure that new development is compatible with surrounding neighborhoods and historic areas? Why?

In the four years I’ve been on Council I have supported reexamining and looking at many of our existing codes and laws. The current zoning code allowing for this type of housing (high density) was adopted prior to my taking office in 2012. The voters reaffirmed the push towards higher density compact development in the Regional Plan which was unanimously adopted by the council and supported by Flagstaff’s voters. With that said, I support looking into these matters and seeing what we can do to improve the code.

DORMITORY-STYLE (HIGH OCCUPANCY) HOUSING 2. What additional solutions do you have to the challenges related to dormitory-style (high-occupancy) housing developments such as the Hub?

CLIMATE CHANGE 1. Would you support or oppose the resolution presented by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby regarding Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation to address climate change? Why?

I opposed this proposal when it came before Council last year. I wrote about this extensively at and encourage people to go read my reasoning behind this vote and in fact, you can look up all my votes over the past four years.

CLIMATE CHANGE 2. Would you support or oppose updating the city’s Energy Code so that new buildings must be built to be more energy efficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Why?

It depends on what costs are involved. I opposed this four years ago because the estimates I saw added many thousands of dollars to the cost of constructing a new home. We have a huge affordability crisis in this town. Adding to the up front cost of buying or renting is not a good idea. However, I am always willing to look at the code and if we can make modifications to the standards and it benefits our community without raising the cost of living, I’m willing to look into it again.

COST OF LIVING: What strategies or policies would you propose to address the high cost of living in Flagstaff?

We have a supply and demand issue in this community directly related to the scarcity of land. We need to look at regulatory costs related to building a home in Flagstaff and drive them down when ever we can. We need to encourage redevelopment and encourage infill and when appropriately zoned, higher density. Saying no to new housing projects is not the way to slow down housing price increases. I have the private and public experience necessary to tackle this very important issue.

TRANSPORTATION What strategies or policies would you propose to enhance our transportation systems?

I support extending the transportation tax to continue the Mountain Line Bus service to our community. I also support the improvement of the ADOT controlled corridors (Milton, Hwy 180, Humphreys, Lake Mary, Hwy 89) that run through our community. We have got to get more control and collaborate with ADOT on a higher level in order to work towards traffic relief. I also support a new corridor from JW Powell over to Fourth Street to help relieve traffic and we need to begin synchronizing our traffic lights with the addition of newer technology. Traffic congestion will be one of my top priorities if elected for another four year term.