Local News

Major Budget Cuts May Be Coming To Tusayan Town Hall After Home Rule Error

January 29, 2019

 Tusayan’s ability to spend tax dollars has been handed a major setback because the Town apparently failed to comply with state rules and notifications when it held its Home Rule election November 6th.

Home Rule allows cities and towns to exceed state spending limits. Right now the Town’s budget, when you add up things like the Ten X Project and substantial lobbying and legal fees is about $21 million. The state spending limit caps Tusayan at around $1.3 million. The budget and limit numbers come from a Tusayan Facebook post made before the November election.

This will likely impact the upcoming fiscal year which begins July 1st.  The Town is still looking into that. The next time Tusayan is permitted to hold a Home Rule election is in the fall of 2020. In that case, Home Rule and the high spending limits would not kick in until July 1, 2021.

In a January 17th letter to Tusayan, the Auditor General’s Office’s gave Tusayan the bad news. For a link to that letter click here. According to that letter The Auditor General’s Office emailed Tusayan, along with other cities and towns, in March of 2018 with instructions and resources on how to conduct a Home Rule election. However the Auditor General's Office said it only learned about the Tusayan Home Rule election on October 3rd when a staff member received Tusayan town news via email. State auditors then called the Town to discuss requirements and the possible consequences of noncompliance. Tusayan sent the Auditor General a draft publicity pamphlet on October 11th.

The Auditor General letter sent January 17th  lsaid  Tusayan got it wrong, “However, the draft pamphlet did not include the statutorily required summary analysis of the Home Rule. Further, the Town did not provide our Office with additional information prior to the election despite our repeated requests for additional information.”

The Auditor General’s office then states Tusayan sent the actual publicity pamphlet November 13 (after the election) which the state claims is contrary to statute . Tusayan Town Hall then sent an analysis and summery worksheet on November 15.

According to the Auditor General,  Tusayan Town Hall worksheets and budget analysis didn’t comply with state rules in addition to missing deadlines. The letter said, “The Town did not prepare and submit detailed and summary analyses of the proposed alternative expenditure limitation to the Auditor General for review at least 60 days prior to the election in accordance with A.R.S. §41-563.03. In conducting a cursory review of the untimely worksheets the Town provided to our Office after its election, it is evident that the detailed and summary analyses the Town completed were deficient as the worksheets are incomplete, contain internal inconsistencies, and lack the necessary supporting documentation.”

Tusayan Attorney William Sims says he sent Tusayan Town Clerk Bruce Northern an email stating the League of Cities and Towns disagrees with those conclusions. Sims is also working to determine if there is a record of the Auditor General’s Office contacting the Town.