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2018 is a critical year for Sedona

Sedona AZ (May 13, 2018) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

Dear Sedona residents,

Sedona AZ

2018 is a critical year for us in the Greater Sedona Region. Those registered Voters in the Sedona City limits have the opportunity to make an important decision and positive changes. After living here twenty-five years, I think I’ve seen it all but, more importantly, I finally have an understanding of the different jurisdictions in regards to governing boards. Arizona is quite unique and the overlap and methods in which Cities and Towns are able to incorporate, who has what jurisdiction, is a maze!

In a small town like Sedona every vote counts and voting can be a game changer.

In 2014 only 2,484 City of Sedona registered voters voted on Home Rule! Special interests know this.

Special interests work at making sure they get their voting bloc promoted, marketed, and that their members vote. The special interests refer to City of Sedona voters as “Flatlanders.” Their actions ensure they remain in control, and with that control they receive taxpayer’s money for their private agendas!

This Sedona City Council has raised taxes every year and recently approved new annual tax increases through 2020. A NO vote on Alternative Limitation Spending (Home Rule) would eliminate and or reduce those taxes and allow Sedona to build an innovative and sustainable community, say citizens advocating for budget transparency and better quality of life for residents.

In the case of Sedona, we have extremely high “special interests” involvement at City Hall – as this has paid off in millions of dollars for their enrichment.

Alternative Limitation Spending a.k.a. Home Rule is the hot ballot item for August 2018. As a long time resident, business owner and almost retiree, I did my Pros & Cons on Home Rule. In order to do that, I studied alternative spending limitations (AKA home rule) to learn how it works and what does it mean.

Looking at the benefits as a resident and business owner, for me, I found there are NO BENEFITS in allowing the city to operate under home rule. The only ones who benefit with home rule are city employees and special interest groups.

A no vote on Home Rule can provide city residents with so much more – quality, opportunity for change, and improvements.

A No Vote on home rule will give us the opportunity to slow down and analytically understand things, eliminate items that have no value. The benefits of rejecting Home Rule will improve life for all.

City employees, Tourists, Residents and Businesses will all have something to gain by rejecting home rule.

Some cool things we can achieve without Home Rule? We can reduce sales and bed taxes, reduce sewer rates, create a local economic stimulus, create transparency, and, most importantly, become innovative and build a sustainable community that we can be proud of.

Remember that City Council in Sedona has the power to raise or lower sales tax as they see fit without voter approval.

There are so many wonderful changes we can make without home rule and without any risks!

As most of you know we have a Sedona Fire District, Sedona-Oak Creek Unified School District, Sedona Airport, Yavapai and Coconino County Health services, and a Sedona Library which get funded by our Property Taxes, and the City of Sedona has NO jurisdiction over them. A NO Vote on Home Rule has no effect on these existing services! 

Here are a few items a no-vote on Alternative Limitation Spending or Home Rule can provide us:

Sometimes less is more.

Now is the time to bring back small town charm make Sedona more than a tourist trap or money pit.

Our chance is by rejecting home rule. The city needs voter approval which would allow no controls & no limits on government spending.

Please tell your neighbors to vote. Please vote No on Home Rule.

Factual based website links that may be helpful are:

http://www.sedonacity.com/Home-Rule-Information.htm
http://www.sedonacity.com/Understanding%20Homerule.htm

Remember a NO vote on Home Rule benefits you the Sedona resident and not city government special interests! VOTE NO on August 28, 2018 Alternative Limitation Spending.

Remember the City Council in Sedona has the power to raise or lower sales tax as they see fit without your approval! Quality of life matters!

This is YOUR Sedona moment! Vote and VOTE NO.

Donna Joy Varney
25 year Sedona Resident & Businss Owner 
Sedona AZ

Read www.SedonaEye.com for daily news and interactive views!

32 Comments

  1. Pete R says:

    Lots of good arguments and facts in this article. We have to vote NO. I fear with another four years with this group in charge it will be too late.

  2. Henry Twombly says:

    Great article, Donna. An amazing list of all the benefits for Voting NO. An inspiring agenda if the new Council chooses to take a more balanced, pro-resident approach.

  3. JJ says:

    Great article. It is all about the possibilities for growth in this city. When you take special interests out of the equation then the sky is the limit. The revenue can go to infrastructure and building community. Us versus them will disappear. Their are a lot of dirt bags in this town that stunt the growth of Sedona. Please vote no on Home Rule, get you neighbors to vote no, and if you are out of town in August, mail in you ballot. Save Sedona!

  4. Cameron Rodrigez, Harmony Hills says:

    Great point of view. But could you provide specific details? Ideas usually sound good but practicality is another matter. How does reducing bed taxes help residents? I see this as a potential idea that back fires and while reducing visitor costs it may then add more burden to the residential tax base. If sewer hookups and sewer fees are reduced, how does the city pay for this mandatory service? I believe that in the 1990s the state slapped Sedona with a whole bunch of fines and required the city to provide sewer, so there is an obligation there. With no home rule the pot of money that can be used to run the city is much less than current budget amounts, how would you prioritize city services, reducing costs? I think you are thinking in the right way, but would love to hear how we can actually do this? We know there are scare tactics coming from the other side (ss) but without a solid realistic plan, we aren’t presenting anything of value, except ideas. Can you and Tony put together an actual business plan (detailed action strategic plan) that residents can understand, that’s realistic and provides services and programs that we want but at a much lower cost? In all honesty I like that tourist pay for allot of our government services and I don’t want to reduce that and then the cost is transfered to us, sedona citizens and businesses. Thanks for sharing your pointS!

  5. Brad says:

    Add me to the list of those who support all comments that attempt to tell the truth about the real reasons for the ongoing push to allow unlimited spending. If there weren’t such an overt effort from those who are on the take to go after those who question motives Home Rule control might be less suspicious. Add me to the hopefully growing list of those who are willing to ax the process for the next four years. NO TO HOME RULE.

  6. SteveSegner says:

    Can you and Tony put together an actual business plan (detailed action strategic plan) that residents can understand, that’s realistic and provides services and programs that we want but at a much lower cost? I
    yes Tony please , plan to run Sedona under no home rule with budget cuts in 1/2 and the funds paid for in most part by visitors.
    https://www.azelections18.com/home-rule-aug-28.html
    It has all the numbers you need at azelections18.com
    Cameron Rodrigez. great question
    With no home rule the pot of money that can be used to run the city is much less than current budget amounts, how would you prioritize city services?

    Tony, please give us your Budget….voters will need to know how they will begetter off no bs…. just hard facts…. you are the one that wants to kill home rule. so numbers please

  7. Tony Tonsich says:

    @Steve Segner

    Steve, first off I would like to congratulate you for finally using capital letters in your first and last name. You are making progress .

    I would like to remind the readers of the $2.5 million I will ask the city council to cut from the Sedona Chamber of commerce. The same chamber that takes city funds but does not recommend city businesses unless they are chamber members. Then I will remind Segner that his questions on cuts have been answered many times under the “Business as Usual” thread. Just because he has difficulty remembering, does not mean I have to repeat myself.

    Then I will remind him of my platform:

    Residents First
    Reduce traffic by ending city advertising through chamber funding.
    Lower resident sewer fees by tiered rates that charge hotels more.

    When you keep asking questions I have already answered, it just tends to make you look senile Steve.

    I’m running for mayor. Vote wisely.

  8. 50% cut, NOT says:

    Please keep in mind when those with their hand in the till squeal about 50% budget cuts under home rule, the most recent city of Sedona lavish spending has been about $35 million a year. This year they propose an almost $50 million budget. Under no home rule they only get to spend about $25 million, a number not pulled from the air but a careful calculation by the State of Arizona as the reasonable maximum a city our size should spend.

    It’s just as big a lie is if they had proposed a $100 million budget and said home rule would force a 75% cut. It’s not the truth. Don’t you hate being lied to?

    Vote No on home rule.

  9. PSA says:

    Public Service Announcement

    Only those that are getting money from the City want Home Rule.
    Home Rule doesn’t work for the residents.
    If Home Rule gets rejected. then they lose money.
    Includes:
    RR news
    Sedona Chamber
    Sedona city employees
    CC -pet projects are being paid by taxpayers
    & more

    The residents & businesses inside the city limits are a paying while the clubs, of pet projects of city employees, city council are being funded.

    REJECT HOMERULE VOTE NO NO NO

    Reduce traffic
    Stop the city from tearing our our neighborhoods
    Stop funding the Chamber
    Stop cronyism – funding to special groups

    Thanks for posting rr snoozes propaganda. Steve you just proved to us all they are bias and make money off the city. $edona CC gifts aways money to everyone.

    VOTERS YOU control this!
    Don’t give the city another 4 years of wrecking our SEDONA>
    VOTE NO Alternative Limitation Spending AKA Home Rule

  10. Cameron Rodrigez, Harmony Hills says:

    I truly would like to understand both sides. I have reviewed the city’s webpage in depth, allot of stuff. I agree Chamber is way too high and should be cut way back, I propose they recieve $100,000 like other city nonprofits. However, I don’t see a clear action and budget plan for the other side. It’s hard for me to look through a whole lot of posts here to try and figure that action plan out as the other guy running for mayor suggests. We are not dumb and we won’t believe fear tactics or campaign promises. Please help us understand with a clear budget direction (details) based on your recommended no vote on home rule. For example, post your tiered sewer fee recommendations. I appreciate the healthy dialog, but let’s start talking real details, please.

  11. Joel Levitz says:

    @cameronrodriquez Chamber isn’t a nonprofit. Hard to start dialogs when basics aren’t understood or misrepresented. Time for trimming the fat and returning the money to the residents. Tourist based economies crash and burn too often to sustain incorporation, the sheer economic variables would give Warren Buffet a heart attack to invest in Sedona. Hawaii felt it the day after the volcano got busy. We’ve recently experienced fires and earthquakes that shut down Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona. Sedona gets slammed by gas prices, stock market pushes and pulls trade, foreign visitors are subject to latest travel tragedy. Just sayin’ you’ve got old people on the council with old ideas of how to make cities viable because where they came from were abject failures. It’s a new day. Do you know that new technology has drones putting out fires by delivering water and retardants? Check it out. Republicans and Democrats want environmental controls that protect Oak Creek which is failing. How many times has Slide Rock park closed because the water was unsafe? Quite a lot. What kind of user has the Chamber invited into your backyards – users that discard tons of fecal matter on precious rocks and trails, dirty diapers by the ton, fail to use toilets provided or use them properly (ask the forest service and get the truth). Ask Oak Creek Watershed about the tipping point of oak creek, one that if it fails will destroy Sedona’s ecosystem. Volunteer to pick up daily trash and discover the real tourists of Sedona.

    To win this election the Vote No should have a huge billboard on 179 and 89A coming and going featuring the tons of trash Oak Creek Watershed picks up annually piled on red rocks with a huge statistic of its tonnage that says Welcome to Sedona, It’s Full of **** VOTE NO on Alternative Limitation Expenditure to Get Rid of Trash. Don’t forget to have someone photoshop cars bumper to bumper in all directions on those billboards as in Sedona, It’s Full second innuendo.

    You people have to figure out nobody cares about bed taxes, it doesn’t impact us. Sewer fees and tourists do matter to residents. Make it about them and forget all the rest. Good luck Sedona. Your apathy and ignorance as voters brought you to this. Maybe a gas mask photoshopped on a trail hiker or biker. There are many poor AQI days in Sedona whether its controlled burn smoke or cars polluting our city.

  12. The short version says:

    @Cameron

    For those of you that “It’s hard for me to look through a whole lot of posts here to try”, like the well written post at the beginning of the article and many like it:

    You’ll save a sxst ton of money without home rule. Tax parasites and over staffed, over paid city employees will lose.

    Simple enough?

  13. @the short version says:

    Oh wise one please tell us how we are going to save a “ton” of money on taxes when our taxes are already kept artifically low by the federal government ..

    You realize you are a “tax parasite” if you live in Arizona cause we(residents of AZ)
    TAKE more money from the FEDS then we contribute.. That’s why out TAXES are so low here in AZ..

    Get It “short version”. You are a TAX PARASITE”
    Simple enough

  14. Overpaid city employee says:

    Do you notice when you get too close to home the piggies point at you and say “you take federal money!” As if that has anything to do with free spending city council and management. No to home rule. Fire all city management.

  15. @overpaid city employee says:

    Oh isn’t funny how when the truth is spoken about living in AZ and being a Tax Parasite( you are one you realize right?). That you get all up in arms… oh my how the truth hurts you hypocrite…

  16. @joel levits says:

    Once again…

    A way overblown and disingenuous comment(oh it sounds so familar)

    Lol.. someone who hates Sedona that much should go bye bye

  17. Peter, Sedona says:

    Questions about city benevolence is not how we move forward.

  18. Farkles says:

    Sedona needs less tourists.

  19. Tom says:

    Tardio needs to send letters to editors here and let us see what he’s about and stands for if we vote for him. RRSnooze not on my front stoop. I don’t respect it or its cohorts. Same for other candidates. I can look back to 2008 here and read the state of Sedona and who did what when and how.

  20. Amber says:

    Thanks Tommy. I’d say same for all candidates bc they might screw us like last ones that promised to vote will of people and got bought off by power and free government money.

  21. Neyland Stad says:

    @ Amber

    There is a hugh difference between being bought off by power and learning all the facts about running city government for its citizens and visitors.

    That is what I was told by one of the newly elected officials in 2016.

    The next time the Citizen academy has an opening apply and learn.

  22. Concrete Stadium says:

    @ Neyland Stad

    Guess what, a city is not supposed to be run for visitors. It’s supposed to be run for residents and voters. The fact it has been run the last few years for the chamber and city staff is why Sedona has lost 1000 residents over the last few years. Your system is a failure. It’s time to throw them all out, council and city management.

  23. Alarmed says:

    City residents would be better off by eliminating the following:

    Create Neighborhood Connections – $5,252,700
    Travel Information System – $6,211,000
    Land Acquisition – $7,605,000
    Bike Skills Park Phase II – $339,600
    Oak Creek Canyon Management Plan – $575,000

    Vote NO on Home Rule.

  24. Julie Hon says:

    One of best articles on this!

  25. West Sedona Dave says:

    Yes so if you are enjoying how bad traffic is now, make sure to vote NO!….A no vote means we do nothing to even try and fix the problem!

    Vote yes, and they can continue to address the problems.

  26. @ West Sedona Dave says:

    Great idea! Pave paradise! Waste money! Right on!

  27. Alarmed says:

    @West Sedona Dave

    That the City is trying to fix the problem is a ruse. Hotel projects with more traffic are in the planning stages at Planning and Zoning. I.e., the Marriott Residence Inn (90 rooms), Oxford Hotel (126 rooms), Ambiente (40 rooms). At 5 to 7 extra vehicle trips per day per room, traffic gridlock on Sedona’s woefully inadequate infrastructure should eclipse that of L.A.

  28. AnnaLee says:

    To vote anything but YES will be detrimental to our town. Please look at the facts and stop listening to fear tactics and fake news. As an owner of business in town, we are already letting hard working folks go due to the chamber being strong-armed into not marketing to our number one tourist base in the summer. Job loss and closures are coming. As a member of one of Sedona’s early settlers I am disheartened with the hatred and rhetoric.

  29. Mike H says:

    @AnaLee

    Our town is not just tourist businesses selling trinkets and employing disposable low wage staff. If you truly valued your staff you would pay them even during the slow periods. Not the greedy tourists businesses, profit before staff and the residents.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  30. Donna says:

    For years that is how the businesses operate.

    Bring in labor then right before holidays they let them go.

    Happy thanksgiving your fired

  31. MaryC says:

    The greedy piggies are already starting to squeal as Mr T says. Notice how you can drive around your own town now. Cut off the greedy chamber and take your town back.

    NO NO NO NO on Home rule.

  32. @Mary C says:

    The only pigs in town are the leaders of AZ Liberty …
    One doesn’t live in city limits and the other guy likes to (Deleted by Editor) twist facts. (Deleted by editor) I’m voting YES. And Tony T (Deleted by Editor)

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