Local News

Decision To Bypass County Flood Control Rules at Ten X Is Costing Tusayan Taxpayers $67,000 A Month

January 22, 2019

 The Town of Tusayan’s decision to ignore Coconino County flood plain oversite at the Ten X housing project is costing Tusayan $67,000 a month. That’s how much Tusayan has to pay Premier Builders of Tucson to maintain the construction site. That's because the Coconino County ordered Tusayan to halt construction in mid December after it was revealed the Town was breaking flood plain rules.

The land that Italian developer Stilo donated for ‘affordable’ housing is in a flood plain. Rather than work under established rules set by Coconino County for flood plain issues, the Town of Tusayan took the complicated, unusual, and expensive step of forming its own flood plain authority. That prompted a referendum to challenge the idea because of the risks involved in shifting such a major public safety issues in the hands of town with little or no in house resources to address flood plain issues.

When signatures were submitted in September to bring the issue to the ballot, the Town should have started seeking oversite from Coconino County. State law says any council action that is the subject of a referendum is on hold until after the election. Tusayan ignored that law. Coconino County took action threatening legal action against Tusayan. If the issue goes to court Tusayan would have to pay more than $700,000.

The Town does have to pay its builder $67,000 a month. The Town Council got the news at the January 16th council meeting. Prior to that, the twon was paying $91,000 a week to maintain the site post shutdown according to a report by the Associated Press.

Costs continue to go up for the “affordable” housing project. Right now only 20 units are authorized and the costs have now topped $21 million. That includes prepping the site for additional units but the cost is still substantial. In addition the homes are off grid meaning no formal utilities. Things like power, water, and sewer have to be handled within the development.

Town Councilman Robb Baldosky is concerned with the spiraling costs and fears the total price tag could continue to climb and may exceed the town’s cash reserves.

The town took the flood plain actions prior to the election of councilmember Baldosky and Vice Mayor Brady Harris.