(October 9, 2013)
Dear Mayor Adams and Councilors:
The City desperately needs to stop spending money on unnecessary projects. If Mayor Adams would kindly poll Sedona’s businesses and residents, I’m confident he would find what is wanted a great deal more than another park is not having more taxes and/or fee increases. Spending $111,100 of General Fund money–$50.5K in FY 2015 and $60.6K in FY2016–to construct a Bike Skill Parks and then $10,000/year when completed to operate and maintain it is egregious and extremely short-sighted.
I urge the City to very seriously consider the alarming ramifications and downright riskiness of pursuing unsound economic policies at a time when over $20 million in drainage projects have been identified. Higher [City] taxes and fees during non-boom economic times are reductive and will result in more closed business doors, more real estate for sale sans sufficient buyers/demand and more job losses. Cascading troubles, growth stagnation, and destabilization can be expected.
Although both the U.S. and AZ economies are faring better this year, when comparing Sedona’s bed tax collections for Jan through July of 2013 with the same months of last year, we see they are off. SIX out of seven months of 2013 bed tax collections are in the RED. This includes both busy months and slow months–not good news in the least.
In my 24 years working for the City of Sedona, I have never known Jean Jenks to be supportive of one City of Sedona project, not one! I have never known her to support anything sponsored by the City or be complimentary of anything. I see she hasn’t changed since I retired last year! Jean, if you hate Sedona so much, why don’t you move!
What’s to like about reading Page 223 of the City’s FY 2013-2014 ANNUAL BUDGET? It indicates the City will be in the RED as follows: (1) FY 2015-16 = $4,654,900; (2) FY 2016-2017 = $3,367,363……and ten years downstream, $20,910,718. Posse Grounds is already a park. Instead of living beyond its means and constructing a Bike Skills Park near residences, the City could have pursued an inexpensive park with passive uses.
I drive through town and look around to see congestion, bad development and an overabundance of timeshares. Much of this happened when John O’Brien was Director of Community Development.
I was with a huge group that stopped Community Development’s plan to rezone Lower Harmony Hills from residential to multi-family use about one decade ago. Over 100 people attended the City meeting at the Community Center–everyone raised his or her hand in opposition. This didn’t deter Community Development from sending out a letter to residents thereafter in an attempt to form a Focus Group; I was told not one person volunteered. In addition to Harmony Hills, a couple of years later three of us held Sedona Neighbors educational meetings that resulted in derailing Community Development’s plan to allow higher densities in various areas throughout the City.
I am not alone in being concerned that the City is spending money it does not have nor in not liking the bad development of Sedona. Why not try to keep the mess from getting worse?
I knew you would rip me if I commented on your article, Jean. At least you are consistent.
I hope you have a wonderful and joyful Sedona day. The sky is beautiful and the red rocks are magical and I hope you can get out and enjoy it. Take care of yourself and I wish you well.
The same to you, John, and your my-way-or-the highway mentality. The last time I heard, we were living in a free country.
BTW, you ripped into my opinions about City [development] projects, thereby turning them into the subject du jour. Get over the fact that I helped derail two of Community Development’s proposed major Community Plan Amendments that involved density increases in Sedona!
Hmm, on August 11, 2000 the Coconino County Attorney issued a 14-page Conflict of Interest Opinion in which he stated “we offer the opinion that in several instances the Conflict of Interest laws were violated.”…..”The public employee or official involved in this matter is John O’Brien.” As it turned out, the findings involved land use decisions related to the Sedona City Hall Plaza and three other development projects. The Coconino County Attorney wrote “there is insufficient evidence to support the conclusion that the violations were of a criminal nature.”
Here’s what Frommer of the popular travel guide currently has posted on the world wide web about development here: “All this may sound perfectly idyllic, but if you lower your eyes from the red rocks, you’ll see the flip side of Sedona — a sprawl of housing developments, highways lined with unattractive strip malls, and bumper-to-bumper traffic.” Also, did not Frommer fail to recommend travel to Sedona at one point a few years back?
Here’s what the Red Rock News wrote in its March 15, 2008 article on the Uptown Enhancement Project: “However, traffic congestion in Uptown Sedona is worse today than before the city spent about $3.6 million on the project.” Hey, $3.6 million was twice the amount ADOT paid the City upon allowing it to take back about two blocks of 89A through the Uptown area.
Here’s what I found in the “Affordable Housing….A Community Issue” brochure and handout of early 2008: The 5-bedroom, 3-bath, Single Family Home on the NE corner of Apple Avenue and Van Deren, listed for sale at $1,199,900 back then. Also laughable was the claim it was a Duplex.
For a further reality check: I have lived in Sedona 12 years, not 24. I do not hate Sedona, it’s the Sedona Community Development Department that I do not like. It is not great to live in the Uptown Area and often encounter the worsened traffic congestion that resulted from the super-expensive Uptown Enhancement Project. Sometimes traffic is backed up all the way to Slide Rock State Park on weekends, sometimes down to Bell Rock in the Village.
BTW, stated in AB 1679 when it was on the Oct. 8th City Council Agenda and approved: San Patricio property owners “do not support the bike park and are concerned that the majority of riders will be tourists that will not respect the boundaries of the land.” The Bike Skills Park will be in their backyard.
Boys and girls,
Relax, you guys sound like the people we have in Washington!
But I admit today,s Sedona is not the place I moved to 20 years ago.