Local News

Tusayan Misses Critical Coconino County Election Deadline

February 12, 2019

 A series of compliance problems at Tusayan Town Hall may make it far more difficult for Tusayan to solve a buget crisis resulting from the state of Arizona's deciision to reject Tusayan's Home Rule  election last November. The result could be  massive budget cuts.

On January 17, Tusayan received a letter from the Arizona Auditor General notifying the Town that the Tusayan failed to provide the State of Arizona with proper documentation and financial analysis needed to legally adopt the Home Rule Option. This option allows cities and towns to exceed state spending limits.  The Town also failed to provide the State with proper documentation before the election. As a result, Tusayan won’t be able to spend $21 million next fiscal year which starts July 1st as planned. Without Home Rule the spending limit is about $1.3 million. For some background check out or previous story. Here is a link. 

A temporary fix to avoid the crisis before the start of the the July 1st fiscal year would be to hold an election May 21st seeking a budget override. 

However, the Coconino County Clerk has rejected Tusayan’s request that Coconino County hold an election for the Town May 21st. 

That's because the county requires a public notice 120 days before the election in the form of a Town Council Vote. The deadline for THAT was January 22nd. It didn’t happen. Instead, Tusayan Town Hall emailed the Coconino County Recorder an election packet on January 22nd indicating its intent to hold a May 21st election related to the flood plain issue. The form was dated November 27th but according to County Recorder Patty Hansen it was emailed on January 22nd. Here is a link to the document.

Before this mess began the Town was obliged to hold an election on whether it can act as its own floodplain administrator. If Tusayan had followed the rules it could have simply added the budget override question to the existing ballot.

On a side note, the flood plain issue appears to be moot because the Town Council will be voting to rescind at a meeting to be held February 13th.

Hansen said simply sending in the election form, “Does not meet the legal requirement” to hold an election. Hansen said the County will only hold elections for a Town if the Town Council puts it on an agenda and votes to have an election 120 days prior to that election. And that should have happened by January 22nd.

Hansen sent the Town of Tusayan a letter that said unless the Town can produce proof the Town Council voted on or before January 22nd to hold a May 21st election the County can’t hold that election. Here is a link to that letter.  

The Watchdog covers and monitors every Tusayan Town Council meeting. We can find no record of a council vote to call a May 21st election that happened BEFORE January 22nd

As the Town has yet to formally vote to hold an election, its next steps remain unclear.