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Eddie Maddock: Business as Usual?

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock

Sedona AZ – At a Special Sedona City Council Meeting, 3:00 –Wednesday afternoon –January 11, 2017, after three long years of a contentious destination marketing agreement with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, the City will again revisit the issue. We can only hope the negotiations will prove to be less controversial, fairer and, in turn, result in acceptable transparency which will dismiss suspicion and mistrust of City Hall dealings. That might very well have been the case had the original commitment for Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) as well as certified outside audits been upheld as proposed during the initial negotiations. Ignoring both valid concerns was a disservice to everyone.

Five options will be discussed at this meeting as follows:

Option 1: Move forward with the negotiations of a new contract with the Chamber of Commerce.

Option 2: Issue an RFP for tourism promotion services.

Option 3: Create a stand-alone destination marketing organization (DMO) without ties to the Chamber of Commerce.

Option 4: Create a City Department to handle tourism promotion.

Option 5: Issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a travel industry consultancy to assess the current structure, funding relationships, etc. and provide recommendations to the city.

Pros and cons of each option will be discussed at length, such as concerns RFP’s will include bids from for-profit agencies. That brings up several questions. Without an official outside audit from a qualified source, how do they know the Chamber has not been making a profit? How many employees have they hired? What has been the cost of improvement to their own facilities, etc? And what is the source of funding for those operating expenses?

And will the City acknowledge the Chamber currently offers their own RFP’s for specific services, realistically reducing them to a mere middle-agency, acting on behalf of the City of Sedona?

And how do they justify the extended branding of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce that has occurred within the past three years? What has been the source of that promotional funding for the Chamber instead of the City?

By creating a stand-alone destination marketing organization, the City could avoid real or perceived conflicts between tourism promotion services and the various other functions of the Chamber of Commerce. Although they specify: “Unclear how local and regional partners would react,” why should that concern the City? Should their focus at long last be redirected to the residents of incorporated Sedona? They are the people who created the City in the first place, clearly, and with knowledge, it attracted tourists.

Sure, a stand-alone destination marketing organization “would result in the re-creation of an already established and successful local agency.” However the extent of success of the present local agency has never been undisputedly proven. The source of increased revenue after the great recession coupled with a reduction in gasoline prices has never factually been factored into the increased tourism and resulting upswing in revenue. Nor has it been determined to what extent advertising monies have merely resulted in excessive day-tripping, which the City’’s infrastructure clearly cannot handle.

As for the suggestion for Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a travel industry consultancy to assess and monitor the current structure, would that be nothing more than a baby sitter for the contract with the Chamber of Commerce? Should the City have been serving that function for the past three years?

It has frequently been said the City could not afford to operate their stand-alone department. And how would they know? With a Chamber of Commerce now providing funding for USFS trail maintenance, contributing money back to the City for their traffic study, and other generous, but questionably frivolous expenditures, most recently to propose purchasing property on behalf of the City with what appears to be leftover funds from the bed tax rebate, how can they make that determination without a precise and reliable audit from an authentic source? They cannot. Is there any reasonable explanation why the City should not take responsibility for allocating the bed tax revenue -– all of it – including over and above destination marketing?

And the perfect opportunity to establish a genuine Sedona Visitors Center has been ignored by not including such a service at the Western Gateway. How long will this City tolerate discrimination of their own legitimate licensed, tax collecting businesses within City Limits unless they are forced to be members of what clearly is a regional Chamber of Commerce? And the practice of paid referrals is common, but should the City be involved by financing the activity with public funds, and further discriminating against in-city businesses?

Molly Spangler

With the recent hiring of a professional, Molly Spangler, to serve as Economic Development Director, there i’s really no need to burden our busy Chamber of Commerce with more additional duties besides servicing their members, which is the purpose of their non-profit organization.

And, since when was “The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau” deemed “the Destination Marketing & Management Organization in Sedona for 65 years”? Up until just a few years ago was it not the Oak Creek Canyon Sedona Chamber of Commerce, then changed to Sedona Chamber of Commerce, and most recently “”& Tourism Bureau”” was tacked on? This elaborate extension of creating yet another illusion that simply does not exist is pretty much over the top. Wouldn’t you agree? Dumb question.

There i’s already a campaign in motion to “Make America Great Again.” How about a local endeavor to “Make Sedona Respectable Again”? Meet and greet our visitors with an authentic Sedona Visitors Center and related advertising. Don’’t we deserve it like other places? Flagstaff (AZ) and Park City (UT) are, but two, examples that offer proof they survive very well without financial support to their respective Chambers of Commerce.

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771 Comments

  1. @Don (CBS News Report) says:

    Attempting to reason with an arrogant air-head like Steve Segner might be compared to blowing up a balloon with a pinhole in it. However and even more unfortunate, most people understand that except those at city hall who are approving policies. Yet another reason to:

    VOTE NO ON HOME RULE

    And PS – apparently there is a movement attempting to tie in Sedona City government to have something to do with the current Sedona School DISTRICT considering the closure of one or two schools. And even worse, the are insinuating voting down Home Rule has anything to do with that issue. WRONG!

    Check the facts, Folks. Get educated – check it out:

    http://sedonaeye.com/sedona-city-limits-101-with-eddie-maddock/

    HOME RULE – VOTE NO, NO, NO

  2. University Stats Prof says:

    Nation has 3,142 counties, with 57 percent gaining in the last year. (2018 government census report)

    Per the census, growth is primarily the result of domestic migration, meaning, somebody relocated within the counties (a county lost while another gained). This is evenly supported between death and birth in counties, and those moving up or down economically. The government 57% statistic above supports why Maricopa county and Prescott metro region (which includes Cottonwood and Camp Verde) gained while Sedona lost and continues to lose its residential tax base and must rely on tourism to sustain its budget.

  3. Silent Observer says:

    If our city council and city staff were half as smart as you attempt to have us believe you are @Steve segner says, April 12, 2018 at 4:58 pm is there any doubt Sedona would truly be trouble free, population growing, contented residents without complaints, quality of life unmatched, and the utter Utopia as you endlessly continue trying to convince us?

    WRONG – IMO you’re nothing but a mouthy windbag trying to blow up that balloon with a pinhole in it! Give it up! It may be your business (interests) as usual but nothing lasts forever.

  4. The Dark Side says:

    The Sedona City Manager says

    ” Traffic, it is our destiny.”

    Sounds like something Darth Vader would say.

    Let’s reject him and his group. Lets go with the force, we can have the positive nature of Sedona Back.

    No to Home Rule, no to all incumbents. Then, when the force is in control, send all current Sedona Council and management off into space.

  5. BD & office says:

    fire him before he ruins us

  6. Stand up says:

    We have beautiful Sedona tied to the railroad tracks, Snidely Whiplash saying “Traffic is our Destiny.” If this does now stop now Sedona will be gone, and people will say why didn’t someone do something? You are that someone, the towns people need to rally.

    Throw the bums out !!! No on home rule !!!

  7. Patsy Orlando = PO'd in Sedona says:

    Reason #2,502,865 the city/chamber contract to advertise Sedona, including destination marketing, should be cancelled immediately (same amount of dollars Chamber received from City Sedona fiscal year 2018):

    Arizona Republic, Saturday, April 14, 2018, page 6D: Full page ad promoting Sedona hiking trails. All easy trips to encourage more tourists which we CANNOT HANDLE.

    Traffic backed up in all directions by noon again today coming into Sedona. That money should rightfully be spent toward road improvement projects and, if necessary, cancel the half-percent increase in bed tax which started this nightmare in the first place. If Home Rule is turned down you won’t be able to spend it anyway, suckers!

  8. @patsy orlando says:

    You lie.
    Traffic was fine today…

    Go complain about your own town..bye
    However we know your a local resident complaining

  9. Patsy Orlando = PO'd in Sedona says:

    @patsy orlando- have no idea what time of day you were out but what I wrote was the honest to God’s truth. And FYI as a resident of Sedona I resent you implying I should go complain to my own hometown. That’s exactly where I did complain but via SedonaEye because our city council or city staff DO NOT CARE.
    I legitimately vote in Sedona. Do You?

  10. Traffic Sucks says:

    Geeze Traffic sucked most of the afternoon. Between the food truck lights cars in west sedona to Tlaq walkers No one could get around.

  11. Traffic was ok says:

    I had no problem getting around town today driving… why must you people complain about EVERYTHING!!!!

    FYI the food trucks were up at posse grounds duh.. what you got a problem now with that also!

  12. Chino Valley Traffic says:

    Thank you for the Chino Valley Traffic report Karen. As the majority of Sedona City and Fire employees, about 70%, do not live in Sedona we appreciate the local traffic reports of those less congested areas. Don’t expect us to put up with this mismanagement forever. We are fed up. Many of you should avoid the rush and look for a job in the town where you live.

    An honest complaint is better than a lie. Lies are toxic, you have experienced that enough to have learned by now.

  13. @Chino Valley Traffic says:

    “Thank you for the Chino Valley Traffic report Karen. ”

    Unable to locate such a report. And who is Karen? Will appreciate clarification.
    Thank you.

  14. @chino valley traffic says:

    Your crazyvhave no idea of what you talk about.

  15. steve Segner says:

    Patsy Orlando = PO’d in Sedona says:
    Full page” ad” promoting Sedona hiking trails

    Really ? And just who ran the ad?
    And who paid for it ?
    Or could it have been a article ?

    These Sedona hikes run circles around the best red-rock scenery
    Slim Shady is a popular mountain biking route connecting
    Slim Shady is a popular mountain biking route connecting of 12
    This is call an article not an ad ?????
    No one paid

    Sedona is a tourist town and papers write about us all the time , we will grow you will not stop it ,
    The city manager is correct & Traffic, it is our destiny. he is just stating the facts, working on some traffic fixes,is the answers.
    There has only been 180 new hotel units built in the last 10 years – last year 1000 new short-term rentals on the market you do the math….
    This happened because our state government,and the Goldwater Institute, passed a stupid law, not local government or the chamber.
    Some of you say NO on HOME RULE; VOTE NO, NO, NO and that will that fix what? $
    $20,000,000 is the new number that Sedona will not be not be able to spend, no new roads, no paving, no new traffic work up town, , if you can not handle traffic in a growing city just move. You will not stop it. The citizens are not stupid or NIMBY’s they want government and roads projects.

  16. Eddie Maddock says:

    Yet another reason to dismiss at least one of Sedona’s “business as usual” policies.

    In June of 2016 Williams, AZ, decided to stop funding their local Chamber of Commerce. Williams (AZ) continued to support the chamber but not financially because it was ascertained by so doing and seeking RFP’s for marketing tourism the town could save around $90,000 annually in its budget.

    That’s chicken feed here. Sedona could save on the up-rise of what has now, since 2013 when the City/Chamber contract was assigned, become in excess of two million . . . and that’s dollars, folks! Any more questions?

  17. Patsy Orlando = PO'd in Sedona says:

    @Steve Segner. Thank you for helping to clarify the point I was attempting to make. It was indeed my error to not have specified the publicity about Sedona hiking trails as appearing in a featured article. However that becomes even more profound in expressing the amount of free advertising and lip service Sedona receives.

    Operative words: LIP SERVICE. What better reason is there to ix-nay the C of C contract with the city of Sedona and takes advantage of what’s already out there. Good point, Mr. Segner! Add it to the wise decision made by Williams AZ @Eddie Maddock.

  18. Phil, Sedona says:

    Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, has sent a letter to the State Department urging that “all available levers of influence and persuasion should be employed to secure Mr. Tercero’s prompt extradition.”

    He’s an illegal who murdered a college kid in Schumer’s NY.

    Democrats doing business as usual, after always saying the opposite. That’s why they can’t stand President Trump who walks the walk.

  19. Charles (Chas) N. says:

    One way to make certain Sedona administration (council and staff) do make a change from business as usual will be to vote NO on Home Rule. That will force them to cut pork to Chamber and other alleged nonprofits and stick to the basics of providing adequate infrastructure and other essentials. Cut the staff and remove unnecessary departments and giveaway programs at Parks & Recreation. Not necessary! No more Business as Usual at City Hall if their free money wagon is limited.

  20. Richard Saunders says:

    I think the best way is to vote NO on home rule. Sedona was here before there was a city of Sedona and all the promises that were made to get a city were broken.

    If we vote NO on Home Rule, it does not matter who is on the city council, the give aways will stop. They say they won’t pave our roads, the don’t do it now. The vast majority of money spent on road paving is on the one mile uptown, they have spent millions on that. The county would do a far better job.

    No on Home Rule, it’s the only way to be sure.

  21. Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    It’s true. counties did a much better job at maintaining our roads. The amount of dust and dirt these days is atrocious, It’s bad enough we haven’t had any rain, but where are the maintenance trucks to keep out roads cleaner? No services are provided except police and sewer to those connected. The city is a fraud! NO on Home Rule if for nothing else than to STOP the money-grab from special interests including what the city staff has turned into. “Yes” people to their favorite “buds.” Sickening, disgusting. Changes must be made.

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