After months of debate and discussion, the Flagstaff City Council made progress Tuesday night toward amending the city’s minimum wage law.
The upcoming increase to $12 an hour in July has generated a lot of conversation about the possible economic impacts of raising the minimum wage.
At their Tuesday night meeting, the council voted 6 to 1 in favor of an amendment drafted by city staff to raise the city’s wage by 50 cents to $10.50 in July, and amend the city’s increase schedule to make it more feasible.
In two weeks, there will be a final passage vote. Some members of the council said they voted yes to move the issue forward, rather than in overwhelming support, while others said they supported the idea that any change to proposition 414 come from voters rather than the council.
The ordinance that, if passed, would change Prop. 414, calls for the city’s minimum wage to increase to $10.50 on July 1, followed by an increase to $11 on January 1, 2018. After that, the minimum wage will increased annually by $1 until 2020, and in 2021 a $2 increase will make the city’s minimum wage $15.
At the meeting, 19 citizens spoke about the $10.50 amendment, including many with ties to the disabled community who are concerned that service providers would not be able to afford to pay their staff $12 an hour. This could lead to the closure of Flagstaff group homes and disabled individuals and families would need to look elsewhere for the services they need.
Elevate Flagstaff is a group of local business owners, nonprofit organizations, and citizens who have collected signatures and pushed for a voter-approved amendment. The group is expected to be present as the council holds its second vote on the issue at its March 21st meeting.