Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes says that Tucson does not have to hold a recount for Proposition 413, which narrowly passed with a margin of 289 votes, in a letter to Secretary of State Adrian Fontes. Tucson's city council members’ salaries will now more than triple, and bring the mayor’s salary close to six figures.
In November, Fontes asked Mayes to provide her legal opinion, saying he lacked the authority to provide Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin one.
According to state law, “a recount of the vote is required when the canvass of returns in a primary or general election shows that the margin between the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes for a particular office, or between the number of votes cast for and against initiated or referred measures or proposals to amend the Constitution of Arizona, is less than or equal to one-half of one percent of the number of votes cast for both such candidates or on such measures or proposals.”
In her opinion, Mayes said the term “referred measures” only applies to statewide measures–not municipal measures.
“If the legislature had intended to expand the recount article to encompass municipal elections more broadly, as opposed to just municipal officer elections, it could have said so,” Mayes wrote. “It did not. Therefore, the City of Tucson is not required to recount the election for Proposition 413.”
Proposition 413’s win marks the end of a long battle to raise salaries for Tucson’s mayor and council, after Tucson voters rejected every salary proposition since the last raise in 1999.
Before the ballot measure, the annual full-time salary of each Tucson city council member sat at $24,000–less than Arizona’s minimum wage per hour. Their salaries will now rise to $76,600 and the salary of the mayor, who previously made $42,000, a year will rise to $95,750, .
According to the ballot measure’s language, salaries for the mayor and city council will automatically adjust to satisfy any future amendments made to state law that mandates the salaries of county supervisors.
In 2025, county supervisors are set to receive a raise to $96,600. Because the ballot measure ties the city council members’ salaries to county supervisors, the council’s salaries will further increase to $96,600 and the mayor’s salary will raise to $120,750.