Tusayan budget in limbo after Home Rule fails

Tusayan Council postpones decisions on FY2020 budget

TUSAYAN, Ariz. — The impacts of Tusayan voters’ recent decision not to reauthorize the town’s home rule provision, allowing it to set its own budget, are yet to be fully determined.

At the last regular town council meeting, Mayor Craig Sanderson said the town was still consulting with attorneys and other experts and would continue to do so over the next few weeks.

“We’ve gone through some executive sessions with attorneys and specialists on exactly what the election means to us,” Sanderson said. “We want to make sure we do it right, to make sure we’re within the rules.”

The council expects to discuss the budget at its next regular meeting July 10. Sanderson said although the town can budget as much as it wants, it’s only legal to spend up to the amount set by the state. Sanderson said the council was working to resolve the budget quickly — the deadline for having it finalized is Aug. 5.

“We’ve got a lot of people relying on us that need to have some decisions (on the budget) and we want to do it right,” he said. “We believe it’s going to be painful, but where there’s an opportunity, and we can do it right, we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can for the people relying on us.”

Sanderson said the council is currently discussing options for paying out some funding from the remainder of this year’s budget to organizations they may not be able to fund for the next two years. The town had previously supported the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, Grand Canyon School and Kaibab Learning Center, among others, and was a significant contributor to the Tusayan Fire District’s payroll. Sanderson said the town was looking at ways to realign this year’s budget to make donations.

“We can pay out some funds this year because it’s basically donations we’re talking about, not legal obligations,” he said. “If they’re legal obligations we can’t do that.”

The town does have a few contracts they are required to pay, including one for law enforcement services with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and a recently signed contract with Access Parks to provide subsidized internet to residents.

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