By Henry Twombly, Sedona Resident
(January 4, 2013)
Wed to a pro-growth agenda that subsidizes developers, consultants and the construction industry, the City Council is out of touch with us taxpayers. The mayor recently stated that streetlights were a highlight of 2012, though a majority of residents opposed them and voted out three council members who supported them in 2010. The vice mayor said, “maintaining our budget and financial management needs to be consistent in being fiscally conservative,” though this year Sedona was ranked the sixth highest city in per capita debt at $5,261.17. Another highlight of 2012?
In spite of $41.3 million in the City’s reserves, the mayor wants to float a bond to improve the wastewater effluent to A-plus, so the city can create yet another park, possibly a cultural park. Council members probably want to clean up the water, so that area can be developed. More affordable housing? They are also considering buying up vacant land for housing and assigning as head of the proposed commission a council member whose husband is a general contractor. A conflict of interest? Regardless, the City should not become a builder/landlord.
Clearly the Council is willing to put us taxpayers in more debt to grow the city for the benefit of special interests. If the Council was truly working for the common good, it would pay down our debts and stop spending money on unnecessary construction projects. It would stop using wastewater rate increases as a surrogate property tax, since there is already a $16.9 million surplus in that fund. Moreover, it should conduct a referendum to gauge the support of its pro-growth agenda that puts us deeper in debt. Then it should enact policies according to those results.