Charlie Odegaard

What is your vision for Flagstaff’s future in regard to issues of growth and development? What changes to codes and plans would you like to see, if any, to enact your vision?

My vision is to keep Flagstaff, Flagstaff. I have done my best to balance everything. The appropriate amount of open space verses the housing we desperately need.

Are there any development projects built or approved over the last 10 years that you would have preferred the City not move forward with and why?

Of course there are developments, built and approved, that I wish had not moved forward. When people have certain property rights, it is not up to me what can and can not be built.

Now that the City has updated the 2018 Building Code, what further changes do you think need to be made in our codes to achieve the goals of our Climate Action and Adaptation Plan?

I voted for the 2018 Building Code because the demands tied to new construction made sense. We just passed the Climate Emergency Resolution to be carbon neutral by 2030, that’s going to be a heavy lift of the community.

What are some of your strategies for promoting Flagstaff’s economic recovery from the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic?

We have to be “Open for Business”. We will be approving next week several incentives to attract new businesses and reinvestments in the community. We’ve approved other incentives couple weeks ago also. This is a major policy shift for the City of Flagstaff for our business attraction team to have tools in the toolbox for business attraction or reinvestment. Our team has never had those tools before.

What are your spending priorities for the General Fund? What changes would you like to see to the existing allocation of resources?

I do not have any spending priorities. I do not want to see any changes to existing allocations. My main priority is to take care of City of Flagstaff organization employees.

What is your preferred method for increasing City revenue?

I do not have a preferred method for increasing city revenues right now. I do recognize when there is an identified need of raising revenues that may become necessary in delivering a need the community wants. I will be advocating for a housing bond, property tax, question to the residents in 2022.

What government strategies and policies do you believe can address Flagstaff’s high cost of living and unaffordability?

I’ll be honest in that I have become discouraged in my attempts to address the affordability of housing. In my first year on the Council, we received a report from ECONA that we were 5000 units of housing short for a healthy community. The cost of land and the cost of fees the City charges and costs in general keep increasing, that makes it almost impossible in addressing affordability. I’m open to government in having a role in bringing housing to our residents and I’m working on that right now with a redevelopment of City owned and managed housing that will increase supply.

As Flagstaff grows and its reclaimed water capacity increases, for what uses, outside of landscape irrigating, do you think this water should be allocated to replace potable water?

Yes, but how we are going to do that is going to take a community conversation. Do we do that indirectly? Where water is put in our surface water supply like what Las Vegas, Nevada has done. Do we do that directly? This conversation is also known as One Water.

State preemption laws have tied the hands of City Council on several issues. What is your approach for dealing with these restrictions when they conflict with the City Council’s decisions and the will of the Flagstaff community?

If I’m elected as the Mayor of Flagstaff, I would like to use my influence to address the state legislation passed in 2019 that penalizes Flagstaff’s 2016 minimum wage increase. The penalization is to the organization of Flagstaff. We were to receive a “bill” for about $1.2M for Fiscal Year 2020-2021, but the Arizona legislature recessed this year without handing out a “bill.” I’m expecting that “bill” to be three times higher next year as our minimum goes to $15/hr on January 1, 2021.

Flagstaff voters twice approved an increase in the local minimum wage, including the elimination of the sub-minimum wage for servers. What can the city do to ensure that this initiative is successfully implemented? What strategies do you have for addressing some of the concerns related to this initiative?

The minimum wage is the law of the city. I know my colleagues dangerously legislated a postponement of it’s implementation. I was the lone no vote. In my opinion a legislative body cannot overturn what the citizenry voted for. The citizens in 2016 voted for a $2 increase of what that State was and my colleagues at the time took it away. Couple of my colleagues wanted to take a look at postponing the minimum wage which was set to go to $15/hr on January 1, 2021. I’m not in favor, for I don’t believe a legislative body overturning the will of the voters.

Do you believe the City of Flagstaff has an obligation to support and protect our undocumented residents?

I’m not sure what you asking exactly? Do I believe we should become a sanctuary city? No I don’t. I ask that we treat everyone as a fellow human. The City of Flagstaff Police Department is not an immigration enforcement agency. If someone gets pulled over for any reason, it’s a traffic violation only. If someone breaks the law where an arrest happens and then at that time it’s turned over to the County for they run the jail.

In light of the recent national protests against racism and police violence, many people are calling for reimagining the role of policing in our communities. How do you envision applying this to Flagstaff especially in relation to our Native American residents and other people of color.

There was calls for de-funding our local city police department. I was adamantly opposed to the requests. This coming year we are going to have a community conversation on policing and social provider services where the City is a partner. I’ve been calling for mutual understandings of our Indigenous communities and I’ve been a lone voice, for there hasn’t been serious dialogues other then photo ops.

Are you satisfied with the role local elected officials have played protecting and educating the public about the Coronavirus? What more would you like to see done on the local level?

Coconino County is the lead concerning health issues, for they are in charge of the health district and they collect revenues from our property taxes for operations of the health district. In my opinion the County fell short in its obligations. I’ve made calls for the city to have it’s own health expert, for we have struggled to receive COVID guidance from the County.