Undecided on 410
Sedona, AZ (September 27, 2011)
I can’t decide between the lesser of two evils. If I vote for ADOT to maintain control of 89A, then it will likely put up a string of streetlights that will make West Sedona look like some airstrip. Some pilots might get confused and try to land on 89A. The only plus about this choice is that my taxes won’t skyrocket in the long run. My state income tax will continue to finance all ADOT construction regardless of our vote.
What if the city takes control and has to maintain 89A? Supposedly ADOT would give the city a one-time lump sum of money for road maintenance. At one point $15 million was mentioned. Then the city would probably choose no streetlights; but there is no restriction on how that money could be spent…unless the council earmarked it solely for road maintenance. But the council has a history of fiscal irresponsibility when it comes to limiting its spending. They tend to shift money from one department to another in a financial sleight of hand. This stealing from Peter to pay Paul was evident with the increase of the waste water rates. Because the city can’t tax us directly, they do so indirectly by raising those rates and then moving revenue from the waste water fund into the general budget. I can’t imagine (sadly I can) what a feeding frenzy the consultants, developers, road and building contractors will have with this $15 million…unless the council earmarks and protects that money solely for road maintenance (repaving, signal repair, etc.). I’d be surprised if this happens.
More likely the council will burn through that $15 million in no time flat. The people behind Our City, Our Road, Our Choice will want to use these funds to beautify West Sedona – all in the name of safety. They’ll stick in a lot of unnecessary medians in the middle of the road and jam up traffic. They’ll direct funds to the West Sedona Development program, subsidizing the consultants, developers and contractors. Soon that $15 million will be gone, and we’ll be stuck with the road maintenance. When this happens, our taxes will rise, if not skyrocket, directly or indirectly. More waste water rate increases or some other smoke-and-mirrors financing to pay for it all. (And don’t forget we still have to pay back the $83 million school district bond that all went for extravagant construction and none for books or teachers’ salaries.)
So truly I’m in a dilemma. I don’t want to vote for ADOT, because I don’t want the streetlights. I’d probably vote for the city takeover, if there was legislation prohibiting the use of those fund for anything but pure road maintenance. But I don’t trust the council to administer those funds wisely. All along I’ve felt that ADOT could still keep control of 89A and not put in streetlights. But that option was eliminated by some unknown, shady, back-room wheeling and dealing between our state politicians and the road construction industry. Anyway, I’m not sure how I’m going to vote.
Sedona, AZ 86336