By Jean Jenks, Sedona Resident
(January 29, 2015)
Hello Mayor Moriarty and City Council,
Pursuant to Page 7 of Karen Daines’ December 23, 2014 updated Priority Setting Memo to you is false information about Capital Funding Projects, as follows:
“COMPLETED Public Outreach to educate the public and initiate a public dialog on funding mechanisms for capital projects. A public outreach session with City Council and the City’s financial advisor was held on July 30, 2013 to explore potential CIP funding options including general obligation bonds and improvement districts.”
THIS DOESN’T HOLD WATER. Here’s the link to the 7-30-2013 Special City Council Meeting Agenda.
So, was initiating a public dialog and hearing from the public stated in the Agenda Item? NO. Are the words “public dialog” or “public outreach session” found anywhere? NO. Further, the Agenda Item specifies critical funding is needed for the drainage improvement program, not capital projects in general. I watched the meeting on TV. The amount discussed was $20.29 MILLION. Questions and comments came from the City Council.
The City has a critical funding shortage, and it’s at a time when the U.S. economy is weak and going nowhere. Why are non-factual, deceptive statements and false information allowed to emanate from City Hall? What happened to the truth? Giving out pink slips to ensure it?
Floating around town is a rumor that Ms. Daines will not be filling the upcoming City Manager opening after all. The City has dug itself into a hole and needs to hire a hatchet-man type who will propose unpleasant budgets. Continuing to set unrealistic priorities and overspend will become a disaster. And please don’t do as the last two Councils and deny there is a lack of competitiveness here. Commercial vacancies are everywhere in town and still springing up. Lisa Dahl’s Mariposa Restaurant is proof positive of competitiveness problems. She couldn’t afford to pay the sewer charges, so now a leach field is going in. Could Bodacious Burgers do that? NO. Instead, it went out of business due to sewer charges. New or more taxes and/or assessments will be too reductive for the City. In the long run, edging out small local businesses with the likes of corporate giants found in big cities all over the USA–for example, Whole Foods, Marriott Courtyard, and CVS Pharmacy–could potentially become commonplace.
My proposed Future Agenda Item? A Town Hall Meeting ASAP to explain the true facts about the funding problem and to initiate a public dialog on spending cuts.
Thanks for staying on top of this. There is a carry over from previous councils as far as financial understanding is concerned. Myths that are now being seen as unworkable. It is not so much an issue of THEIR financial expertise, but their ability and commitment to get the right people in place who can do budgets and make financial presentations of the resources that the city has so the council can make the proper decisions.
The new council has an opportunity to straighten this out, however I fear that many on the council have made promises to get elected that cannot be fulfilled if they pay attention to the existing financial problems. And that is going to become a problem that they cannot kick down the road. You have made some great practical examples, especially with the sewer examples. You have to stand back, and ask “how many other city regulations and rules” are driving businesses out of business and therefore hurting city revenue.
My advise to the council, look at the city policies, fix those before you continue to spend money we do not have for projects that are doomed to failure.