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City of Sedona July 2018 wastewater rate increase illegal?

Sedona AZ (April 15, 2018) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

Sedona wastewater treatment wetlands: In 2016, over 40% of Sedona homes still lacked sewer hook-ups. Despite 4% annual rate increases since 2014 (scheduled to sunset June 30, 2018), the City Council plan to continue with annual increases of 4% through 2020 and 3% through 2023 has many Sedona residents questioning rate increase legality. Sedona wastewater rates are currently among the highest in Arizona.

Sedona’s wastewater rates are among the highest in Arizona. Still, the last four years saw annual rate increases of 4% that are legally due to end on June 30, 2018. But there’s a problem. The City is intending to raise WW rates illegally beginning July 1, 2018.

Here’s some history of their process.

The January 15, 2014 ACTION MINUTES state: “Council agreed by majority consensus to approve the financial plan recommendations for a 4% per year increase in rate-based revenues for FY 2014-15 through FY 2017-18.”

The March 17, 2014, NOTICE OF INTENTION TO INCREASE WASTEWATER RATES OR RATE COMPONENTS, FEES OR SERVICE CHARGES states regarding the rate increases: “These rates and fees will be increased by 4% per year at the beginning of each year on July 1. These annual increases will continue for the next three years through FY 2017-18.”

Page 1-10 of the Assistant City Manager’s PROPOSED BUDGET FISCAL YEAR 2015-2016 states: “On May 27, 2014, the City Council adopted a new wastewater rate structure which tied the rates to the cost of providing service and included a four percent (4%) increase each July 1st from 2014 through 2018.”

City of Sedona Council Chamber

Although the annual percentage rate increases adopted end on June 30, 2018, the City Council plans to violate current law, ORDINANCE NO. 2014-15, EXHIBIT A: WASTEWATER FEE SCHEDULE 2014-18. Page 82 of the latest version of the FY 2017-18 ANNUAL BUDGET document falsely states 4% increases were “Adopted by Council- 5/20/2014” for “FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20,” and adds that 3% increases were “Scheduled In the Rate Study Approved by Council” for “FY 2020-2021, FY 2021-22, and FY 2022-23.”

The Council did not adopt these increases for FY 2019-2023 in 2014, nor was there a Council meeting on 5/20/2014, the date of a P & Z meeting. They were sneaked into City budgets without a Notice of Intention and a Public Hearing.

This is the link to the State law that requires the Notice of Intention and Public Hearing. Arizona Revised Statute 9-511.01 Water and wastewater business; rates; procedures; responsibility for payments –
“A.2.: Adopt a notice of intention by motion at a regular council meeting to increase water or wastewater rates or rate components, fees or service charges and set a date for a public hearing on the proposed increase that shall be held at least sixty days after adoption of the notice of intention.”

The required NOTICE OF INTENTION and subsequent PUBLIC HEARING regarding the five specious annual rate increases for FY 2018-19 through FY 2022-23 have yet to take place.

At this point, the City Council cannot legally increase annual rates after June 30, 2018.

How many times have I written the City Council concerning their planned percentage rate increases beyond 2017-18 and been ignored? Probably four. The Council not only seems to be ignoring me, but the state law as well.

Jean Jenks
Sedona Arizona


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  1. Phil says:

    will pass on to contact list & others should too, dammit FB the thing

  2. JeanJ says:

    “Indirect Cost Allocations” in the current city budget show the Wastewater Fund being charged the pricey sum of $1,056,950 by the following City departments:

    – $180,040 Information Technology
    – $ 51,140 Human Resources
    – $189,420 Financial Services
    – $370,640 Utility Billing
    – $ 73,470 General Services
    – $ 68,080 City Manager
    – $ 5,650 City Clerk
    – $ 55,100 City Attorney
    – $ 63,410 Facilities Maintenance

    Last fiscal year’s indirect cost charge to the WW Find was $668,566. $1,056,950 is a 58 percent increase.

    The City has a non-discrimination ordinance. Why are there no “Indirect Cost Allocations”charged the Chamber of Commerce?

  3. @Jean J says:

    You can write all the facts you like Jean. The city laughs at you and so few residents care more than to write a comment your precise words are useless. It appears no amount of facts and traffic will move voters to action. Apathetic residents will get what they deserve, good and hard. Has the city every take action after you pointed out their misdeeds? Sedona is done. Apathy and greed killed it.

  4. JeanJ says:

    Residential sewer rates are unfair. Although the City Manager did not recommend it, Consultant Grant Hoag got the Council to waive the 10% annual rate increase for FY 2014 because there was much more money in the Wastewater Fund than projected.

    Then in January, thanks to the City Manager at that time, the Council agreed to approve a one-time 10% Cost of Service Adjustment. Didn’t Restaurants benefit from the 10% increase previously waived for residents? During the January 15, 2014 City Council meeting, Council agree to one-time adjustments as follows:

    Single family residential: 10% increase
    Single family Low Flow: 5.4% decrease
    Multi-family customers: 17% decrease
    Restaurants: 27% decrease
    Hotels & Resorts: 6.4% increase
    Other Commercial accounts: 23% increase

  5. F.Y.I. says:

    @@Jean J

    Those who are interested may want to file a complaint against the City of Sedona with the Goldwater Institute.

    https://www.goldwaterinstitute.org Click on: “Need help? Submit a case>” and fill out their form, or email caseinquiry@goldwaterinstitute.org.

    So, is the welfare of residents discussed at City Council meetings? NO. As posted on Sedona biz by an Uptown resident: “The City Manager recently told me that ‘Sedona is no longer a residential town, it is now a tourist/resort town and we have to prepare for future growth of tourists.’ ” This resident further commented that “The idea of ‘just what can we do to encourage more tourists’ is entrenched in every [City] department.”

    Vote NO on Home Rule. Vote all incumbents off the City Council.

  6. Ken says:


  7. M Mallon says:

    If you want to change things, voted the existing city council out, do not vote in any incumbent or any past council member.

    Absolutely, also vote NO on Home Rule !!

  8. JeanJ says:

    I see where the FY 2018-19 PROPOSED BUDGET lists the WW FY18 TARGET and the WW FY19 TARGET rates both as $61.11 with regard to Single Family Residential Monthly Sewer Bills. I am hoping this means the annual 4% increases to our WW rates will indeed end on June 30, 2018.

  9. JeanJ says:

    Instead of lowering sewer fees, $1,118,630 in indirect costs from the Wastewater Fund are allocated to the following City departments in payment of the alleged work they indicate will be done next year related to the sewer plant (Source: 2018-19 PROPOSED BUDGET, Page 44 of 330):

    Information Technology, $153,790
    Human Resources, $45,710
    Financial Services, $178,900
    Utility Billing $379,290
    General Services, $70,740
    City Manager, $60,140
    City Clerk, $3,760
    City Attorney, $155,890
    Facilities Maintenance (Public Works?), $70,410

  10. Ok @ M Mallon says:

    Gee thanks M Mallon

    You are so smart…..Thnk you so much for you last post …
    I will do every thing you say cause you a highly intelligent ..

    Omg you made my life do much easier oh wise one

  11. Tony Tonsich says:

    When the taxfeeders that preach doom if the voters don’t pass home rule talk about raising sewer rates, they don’t mention the scam already in progress. By charging all the costs Jean J noted above to the sewer, they can obviously say sewer costs went up, we need to charge you more. They don’t mention costs went up because we did a bit of accounting slight of hand.

    Just as an example, in what world would an existing sewer plant need $155,890 of city attorney services? It’s a scam. Tell your neighbors.

  12. Steve segner says:

    Tony, in the growen up business world that you obviously were never part of corporate overhead is charged each division ,in this case the mayor and city manager and city attorney offices are proportionally charge to each division .if you don’t believe me look up in accounting 101.Tony if jjeans says something we know it’s probably not true.
    By the way Tony if you would have come to the budget sessions like the other people running for office you would’ve heard the city manager explained the rationale on the entire budget process but you’re too busy looking at the cost of city cell phones are still waiting for your budget with $20,000,000 taken out of it,Waste water will be the first thing to skyrocket if home rule is voted down .

  13. Tony Tonsich says:

    I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Post Graduate study in Public Administration. I can spot a scam with my eyes closed, that’s why I ignored the city budget and went straight to accounts payable. Ask city staff what P-Card is on accounts payable. I wonder why they would name an account P-Card? It seems kinda vague. I already have the detail statements on that too.

    There is so much waste in the City of Sedona I would have to write a book. When I was sent in to fix a problem business, there was usually someone with their hand it the till. No matter if it was gift certificates, payment to a relative with no services rendered or plain envelopes, I always found them. I had no problem seeing they went to jail.

    If I am elected with a majority of new city council hotel waste water rates will, to use your term “skyrocket”, resident rates will go down.

    Ever hear of spell check stevie? sp

  14. @Steve segner says:

    Is it possible you are the same Steve Segner who recently contributed a rather lengthy perspective in a local newspaper? If so, how can you justify the obvious differences in writing skills? The similarity is the printed piece rambled on about as much nonsense as that to which the Segner person offers here. Some nonsense attempting to blame vacation rentals for the excessive amounts of ongoing traffic. No more logic to that than the tripe about increasing sewer fees if Home Rule is snatched from our reckless managers. Suggesting existing homes rented to tourists will create more traffic than the owners of those homes when they occupy them instead of their guests? Hogwash.

    Suggest the next time you post a comment on SE to retain the services of the person who wrote the pulp fiction for you. Much more professional and legible.

  15. @Tony T says:

    Tony you ARE a tax pig

    Your taxes in AZ are keep artifically low from other states like NY that contribute more to the federal budget then they TAKE.:: Not so with AZ…. they USE up and TAKE other states surplus cause they operate in the red and NEED federal money ..

    Can’t you see your a TAKER and a hypocrite…
    Artifically low taxes in AZ and you cry about sedona?!(deleted by editor)

  16. steve Segner says:

    Arizona is the Walmart of America ,cheep and no service,

  17. M Malon says:

    Sedona Voters, see above what Segner and others think of you and our beautiful home. They want to turn it into California, New York or New Jersey. Places they and their kind ruined and left. Cheep is the noise baby chickens make, cheap is what Segner proves himself to be. His group takes $2,500,000 from city coffers and calls Arizona “cheep.”

    By our good graces we believed everyone to be good. They have proved they are not.

    If we could revive the old west tradition of running them out on a rail tarred and feathered, they continue to prove that is what they deserve.

    Vote No on Home Rule.

  18. M Mallon says:

    One other thing you can do along with voting No on home rule, cancel your subscription to the Red Rock News. The Publisher of the Red Rock News is on the chamber board of directors and they are the voice of Segner and the Sedona chamber.

    Those two things are the least you can do. Or you can complain while they run the residents out of town.

  19. Question for steve Segner. says:

    “Arizona is the Walmart of America ,cheep and no service,”

    If that’s what you truly believe, why did you move here and why do you stay? California will no doubt give you a warm welcome home party. In case you hadn’t heard, that’s a tax and spend state and a sanctuary for displaced people such as yourself.

  20. Tony Tonsich says:

    @ steve Segner

    I don’t want Sedona to be ” the Walmart of America ,cheep and no service,” Please take your view of Arizona somewhere else. Your words and action show what you want to make Sedona. A Wallmart, a cheap, traffic clogged tourist trap. Like the city manager saying ” Traffic is our Destiny!”

    NO !

    I want Sedona to be like Heaven, beautiful , peaceful, somewhere everyone wants to be. A paradise for residents and tourists alike.

    Voters and residents, please join me. I need your help. I need more than just your vote. You need you to get out and talk to your neighbors. I can’t do this by myself.

    WE can take our town back.

  21. steve Segner says:

    Tony Tonsich says:
    Traffic is our Destiny; Tony you just talk….
    The city manage is just stating the facts.
    All the state government studies say Sedona and the Verdi Valley will grow, a lot!

    Sedona sits on two state hwy’s four state parks and camp grounds in Oak creek and the Grand Canyon just 100 miles north.
    Tony is going to stop growth and turn the clocks back, and all with $20,000,000 less money to do it with. ( No on Home Rule)
    NO on HOME RULE wil; bring
    No new roads, no more paving of streets, close all the parks and up the cost of all permits and waste water fees, this is Tony’s world……
    Forget all the merchants and the 8000 people that make a living in Sedona… Tony want it all to stop….. No more growth……
    Tony for the 10th time show us your plan,show me I am wrong, $20,000,000 out of the budget just show us your budget…you Say you can do it , like I said talk is cheep .
    This is Tony’s version of Trumps BUILD A WALL total bs…. And we all know it.

  22. Phyllis, south Sedona says:

    steve Segner says: Arizona is the Walmart of America ,cheep and no service,
    April 29, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Sedona is not the Walmart of America and neither is it cheap and without service oriented patrons. Your comment disgusts me. Tourism is not worth our present quality of life nor will it pay our future. Biotech companies that need to be close to Phoenix and Silicon Valley and have the added security of mountains are natural fits. Your businesses that rely on tourism are dirty, cheep and offer no service. But you and the smutzes at city hall lack business acumen to build a future. You want to attract good young people with children who have money to build a sustainable Sedona? The tax base you degrade and the state and city you degrade are the calling cards you need.

  23. @Tony Tonsich says:

    Well guess what, Tony T? Before Sedona became an incorporated city which allowed people like Steve Segner to take over with their big city ideas, Sedona was just what you described. “I want Sedona to be like Heaven, beautiful , peaceful, somewhere everyone wants to be. A paradise for residents and tourists alike.”

    My vote goes to YOU and NO on Home Rule! (You make my heart sing.)

  24. JJ says:

    Tony you have my vote . You put it perfectly Sedona has been cheapened by these cowpoke that look down on the flatlanders trying to hide their ignorance. Fleecing the taxpayers pumping city council eagos so that they can fullfill the city’s agenda. SS is nothing but a lobbyist with no regard for anybody but himself. Low Life.

  25. Chris says:

    They going to not do this ?

  26. JeanJ says:

    Chris, the Financial Services Director claims the wastewater system must be self-supporting.

    Last May 22nd the City Council passed an ordinance to rescind the unestablished, unapproved and unadopted 4% annual increase for FY 2018-19, yet bring it back for the following fiscal year. City Hall keeps speciously claiming the 4% increase was for six years when it was but four years.

    According to the January 15, 2014 Sedona City Council ACTION MINUTES, “Council agreed by majority consensus to approve the financial plan recommendations for a 4% per year increase in the rate-based revenues for FY 2014-15 through FY 2017-18, and a reduction to 30% in the sales tax subsidies to the Wastewater Fund in FY 2014-15, followed by 25% in FY 2017-18.” The City of Sedona Notice of Intention to Raise Wastewater Rates covers exactly the same four years of 4% rate increases.

    Would the 4% Wastewater rate increase from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019, be rescinded if Home Rule was not on the August 28, 2018 ballot?

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