FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Flagstaff officials say the city may have to pay Arizona more than $840,000 over the next two years to cover the cost of having a higher minimum wage than the state.
Flagstaff would have to pay $202,700 this fiscal year and $640,889 next fiscal year based on the agencies that have reported estimates so far, the Arizona Daily Sun reported Tuesday.
The final decision on how much the city must pay will be up to the Legislature, city management analyst Jack Fitchett said.
The state is set to deliver the city a bill for the finalized amount by July.
An Arizona law that passed last year requires cities with a higher minimum wage than the state to reimburse the state for costs associated with that higher wage.
According to the law, if the city doesn’t pay the requested amount, the state will redirect the requested amount of money from state-shared revenue to pay for it.
One of the line items listed as an additional expense appeared to be increasing the salaries of employees who made more than the minimum wage, Mayor Coral Evans said.
City officials, including Evans, expressed concern that Flagstaff may have to pay for wage increases within agencies trying to avoid pay from becoming similar no matter the employee’s skills and experience.
Arizona’s minimum wage is $12 an hour. Flagstaff’s base wage is $13, which will go up to $15.50 by 2022.