Referendum Voting Could Be Meaningless
Sedona, AZ (June 30, 2011) – At the Sedona City Council meeting on Tuesday June 28 there were some surprises and the first few lines in the next chapter of the continuous roadway lighting saga were written. Most importantly, the Council set November 8, 2011, as the date for the referendum election. On that same date the initiative will also be found on the ballot. Both the referendum and the initiative are products of Let the People Vote on 89a (LTPV).
The June 28 council meeting had some very interesting and valuable information about the referendum, the city’s ability to do some things and not others, and shed some light on the referendum coming in November. Rather that write a story Publisher is presenting a series of video clips which explain far better anything that could be written.
Councilor Litrell wondered why the agreement with ADOT couldn’t be amended to allow an extension for the referendum. By ignoring the referendum, the constitutional rights of the citizens have not been recognized. A lawsuit to stay the agreement was also mentioned and Councilor Litrell wondered why this had not been brought before a judge for a legal determination since this is an unprecedented situation. Surprisingly, ADOT will face a $47 billion shortfall in highway funding over the next 25 years. This shortfall will affect small towns and rural road construction and maintenance across the state of Arizona. ADOT’s funding now comes entirely from the federal government.
The referendum will have little meaning with ADOT moving forward on its plan to install CRL.
Vice Mayor Hamilton raised some important questions around the legality of the upcoming initiative.
City Manager Tim Ernster read into the record a letter from Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). In that letter ADOT formally outlined the decision they made at their Transportation Board meeting in Chile, Arizona, in which they voted to move forward on continuous roadway lighting (CRL), resurfacing the highway, and installing a stop light at the intersection of Andante Drive and State Route 89a (SR89a). ADOT has decided that with the expiration of the contract between the City and ADOT on June 30, 2011, in which ADOT was to pay the City $10.5 million, resurface SR89a and add a stoplight at Andante Drive, and would have given ownership of the highway to the City. Instead, they will proceed with the installation of CRL. The City had previously asked ADOT to stay any decision on SR89a until the referendum was put to a vote by the citizens of the community. ADOT has stated they are not a party to or subject to any referendum action.
A letter written by former Mayors Anita MacFarlane, Alan Everett and Pud Colquitt was read into the record, stating their support of ADOT moving forward on CRL. Former Sedona Police Chief Joe Vernier also read a letter into the record stating his support of CRL.
ADOT is willing to look at additional safety measures on the highway, however they say they must complete the existing plan to install lights before additional safety measures are discussed.
The end result of the discussion about SR 89a was:
1. Once again the city expressed its preference that ADOT delay any action on sr89a until the referendum is decided by the voters;
2. Any contracts which might be let concerning CRL include an opt out clause if the referendum supports the route transfer decision;
3. Would ADOT consider including some daytime safety options in the sr89a improvements?
After the community votes on November 8, 2011, ADOT suggested city officials may wish to approach the them to determine if a new route transfer agreement can be negotiated.