2007 Municipal Policy Statement
The League of Arizona Cities and Towns proudly presents its 2007 Municipal Policy Statement, which Arizona's 90 cities and towns collaboratively chose for their legislative policy positions and action items. These issues represent the priorities of Arizona's municipalities for discussion and action within their communities, at the State Capitol and in Congress. Please feel free to contact a member of the League staff if you would like more information about any of the issues contained in the Policy Statement. We look forward to working with you to accomplish these priorities and improve the lives of all Arizonans.

2007 CORE PRINCIPLES

Two core principles guide the League's legislative policies, reflecting the partnership between state and local government. These principles form the backbone of the League's legislative program.
 
Protect State Shared Revenue
 
Arizona voters chose, through a series of initiatives, to return a portion of tax revenues back to local communities through state shared revenue. These revenues go to municipalities in exchange for prohibiting city taxes on income and luxury goods. This system supports local choice and self-government by allowing city and town councils across the state to decide how best to spend tax dollars within the community. State shared revenue funds the essential, basic services that citizens count on such as police and fire protection, streets, courts, parks and libraries. With these vital services in mind, the League urges the Legislature to protect state shared revenue to ensure adequate local community services in response to local needs.
 
Maintain Local Control
 
The residents of a community voluntarily create cities and towns to provide local self-government and vital services. Arizona's municipalities embody the diversity of the State of Arizona; one size does not fit all. The only way that Arizona's cities and towns can fully serve their unique constituencies is by allowing local governing bodies the freedom to make decisions at a local level that best meet the needs of the community. Thus, the League urges the Legislature to oppose efforts to erode local control and decision-making authority through preemptions or mandates.
 
2007 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
 
Priority Issues
 
Each year, the League's membership selects priority resolutions for the upcoming legislative session. Designation as a priority resolution means that the issue will receive special emphasis in the League's legislative program. This year's priorities reflect the wide range of issues that most affect municipalities in the state.
 
    Protecting state shared revenue
Holding cities and towns harmless against the effect of income tax cuts enacted in the 47th Legislature Second Regular Session by adjusting the formula for urban revenue sharing rather than through a one-time direct appropriation. Furthermore, the League urges the Legislature to implement a system that will hold cities and towns harmless in the event of future tax cuts.
    Sustaining self-determination
Reserving to the governing bodies and residents of cities and towns, the right to determine where to provide municipal services.
    Aiding small communities
Enacting legislation that will continue the fiscal year 2006-2007 state budget appropriation of $850,000 to be distributed to the state's towns with populations under 1,500 until the 2010 census figures are released.
    Upholding the integrity of the Arizona Heritage Fund
Maintaining the original funding levels and usage of the Arizona Heritage Fund, including dedicated funding from the State Lottery monies.
    Retaining the Community Development Block Grant Program
Preserving and fully funding the federal Community Development Block Grant Program.
 
Arizona cities and towns recommend legislative action on the following items. The League of Arizona Cities and Towns will take the lead in seeking partners and developing coalitions to promote measures that benefit our citizens. The League looks forward to working with any and all stakeholders to accomplish these goals.
 
    Maintaining and supplementing statewide transportation funding
The enormous amount of growth that our state has experienced in the past few years has placed a huge burden on our street, highway and road systems. This, coupled with large increases in construction costs, has created a need for increased funding to complete the infrastructure required to reduce the traffic congestion problems that our state is facing.
    Fighting methamphetamine
Further restrict access to pseudo-ephedrine in order to make it more difficult to create methamphetamine, thereby mitigating its negative impacts within our communities.
    Watching high-interest loan businesses
Within the last few years, high-interest loan businesses have opened dozens of locations that charge people loan shark-like rates for their services. These stores tend to cluster in established neighborhoods and around military bases, targeting young and financially uneducated clients. State and local governments have traditionally protected citizens from predatory lenders through usury laws and similar action may be needed to deal with these businesses.
    Recuperating investments in State Trust Land
Many cities spend money improving state lands when they seek rights of way across those lands. Expenses include engineering, archeological studies, appraisals, environmental reviews and construction work. However, cities are not reimbursed by bidders when those state lands are sold at auction.
    Creating and supplementing tools and incentives for affordable housing
Municipalities across Arizona are increasingly hearing more about the rapidly growing cost of housing, and how those costs are affecting the ability of families to buy or rent suitable housing. These complaints come from all ranges of income - from the very low income all the way up to teachers, firefighters and nurses. The growing inability of individuals and families to obtain affordable housing in Arizona could negatively impact efforts of local businesses to hire people in areas such as the service, restaurant, health care and construction industries.
    Beefing-up liquor enforcement
People want to feel safe in their neighborhoods. Far too often, the presence of a problematic liquor establishment decreases that feeling of security. The Department of Liquor Licenses and Control and the State Liquor Board should give greater consideration to city recommendations on proposed liquor licenses. Also, funding additional auditor positions at the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control can aid in increasing public safety.
    Keeping sex offenders away from children
The presence of sex offenders near schools and childcare facilities gives parents great cause for alarm. Adopting new laws to restrict convicted sex offenders from living within one thousand five hundred feet of a primary or secondary school or childcare facility would add a buffer zone between these predators and children.
    Guaranteeing clean water
People need clean water. Providing additional funding for cities and towns to improve water conditions or meet water regulation standards will help improve public health.
    Clarifying fee awards in civil infraction cases
Rather than criminalizing small legal offenses, cities designated some code violations as "civil infractions" rather than as misdemeanors. A recent Court of Appeals decision awarded attorneys' fees to an individual who won a civil infractions case against a city, as if it were a regular civil case. Clarification is needed to prevent the awarding of attorneys' fees in future civil infraction cases.
 
POLICY GUIDELINES
 
The League of Arizona Cities and Towns defends the principle that local decision makers, not another level of government, know their communities best. The people of a community voluntarily create their cities and towns to provide local self-government and vital services. Each municipality, acting through its elected governing body, must have the freedom to pursue self-government and local determination.
 
Local decision making encompasses all aspects of municipal living, including the provision of basic services. Ultimately, these decisions embody the common values and aspirations of the residents of cities and towns in Arizona. In addition, there are other principles - a clean environment, vibrant parks and recreation centers, the preservation of our natural amenities - which are critical to the growth and maintenance of viable communities.
 
The decisions on how to allocate resources to provide services and ensure the on-going success of a community are best left to the locally elected leaders of the community.
 
LEAGUE GOVERNANCE AND POLICY
 
The League of Arizona Cities and Towns began in 1937 to promote local self-government and municipal independence. Municipal members own, finance and govern its activities. The League provides a variety of services that assist cities and towns in meeting the needs of their citizens, including:
 
    The provision of training, research, technical code and ordinance assistance;
    Innovative forums, conferences, informative publications and online services; and
    Representation and advocacy for the collective interests of Arizona's 90 cities and towns at the state and federal levels of government.
 
At the Annual Conference, the resolutions process develops League policy for the next Legislative session. Each mayor, or the councilmember that he or she designates, is welcome to participate in the Resolutions Committee. The entire membership votes on the developed policy and adopts a Municipal Policy Statement to guide the League's policies and lobbying efforts for the coming Legislative Session.
 
A 25-member Executive Committee consisting of mayors and council members from across the State guides the League's operations. The entire membership of the League elects the members of the Executive Committee to two-year terms.
 
Arizona City/County Management Association
1820 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone: (602) 258-5786
Fax: (602) 253-3874
http://www.azmanagement.org
ACMA Newsletter Advertsing

Contact Amy Price at
(602) 258-5786 or
aprice@azleague.org.