Sedona AZ (November 23, 2016) – This is an e-mail sent to the City Council which is self-explanatory.
TO: Members of the Sedona City Council
The following two comments were posted by Steve Segner, Chairman of the Sedona Lodging Council, under my most recent article on Sedona Eye. The subject related to the Council meeting held on Nov. 22, 2016:
Steve Segner says:
November 22, 2016 at 3:08 PM
Well Eddie see you at the meeting this afternoon want to hear what you have to say in public and the other 3 people that post using made up name,
Steve Segner says:
November 22, 2016 at 7:28 PM
Ha, no one showed or sent in letter to the city council meeting Toni the?
So what’s up all you chamber haters you had your chance,
Great meeting, chamber offering to spend $1.200,000 of marketing money to buy a parking lot up town…..That’s right money take from advertising and spend it to help traffic and parking.
I can hardly wait to see how you all put a negative spin on this
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Without intention to minimize Sedona’s need for additional parking, my question is, if the information Mr. Segner provided is accurate, that the Chamber is offering to spend $1,200,000 of marketing money to buy a parking lot uptown, why wouldn’t the City purchase the property directly instead of going through the Chamber of Commerce? Does it mean the City authorizes support for the Chamber to enter into the business of real estate/property management on the City’s behalf? Will the City of Sedona be responsible for property taxes and other liability on such property(s)? Who will benefit from a potential commission on the sale/purchase transaction of said property(s)?
The same question remains unanswered as to why the City refuses to contract with a professional advertising agency, through the process of Requests for Proposals, as they do other city contracts?
Mr. Segner also refers in a comment dated 11/18 – 1:19 PM, to a contribution allegedly made by the Sedona Lodging Council of $5,000 towards the traffic study. In addition to funding for the USFS to assist in trail maintenance, that money was attributed as having come from the Chamber of Commerce as reported in the Red Rock News. Is the source of that funding from Chamber membership dues or does it represent a portion of the money allocated under the terms of the City’s contract with the Chamber of Commerce for the purpose of destination marketing? If it is, in fact, city revenue, then once again why wouldn’t the city follow their budget process and allocate the money directly?
Have you abandoned the commitment made during initial contract negotiations for the services of a professional outside audit to ascertain with certainty how this money has and continues to be spent?
What is the purpose of retaining a special interest, member driven organization as an acting agent for the City of Sedona? Do you have a written contract for that purpose? Does the Chamber of Commerce have a similar contract with the State of Arizona to act as an agent for them in order to justify authorized permission to function under the flag of the “Bureau of Tourism?” Do you ever intend to insist the legitimate businesses in Sedona City Limits, licensed and collecting city sales and bed taxes, be equitably represented at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, allegedly 70% financed with city tax revenue, without being coerced into mandatory membership in the Chamber of Commerce?
Do you have an accounting of the number of employees the Chamber of Commerce has hired since the inception of the contract agreement? Do you know the source of revenue being used for their compensation?
Unless you have already determined the contract will be renewed, prior to a formal meeting to address that subject, why would you sanction for the Chamber to purchase real estate on the City’s behalf? Again, have you no intention to consider redirecting use of the unconfirmed return on the bed tax increase?
Do you ever intend to ascertain with accuracy what percentage of the increase in city revenue during the past two years is attributed to the upswing in economy? Have you ever considered that by having followed protocol according to other transactions entered into by the City of Sedona the community might have averted many, many suspicions and ill will?
The City of Sedona has essentially set forth a policy of meticulously scrutinizing other contracted partnerships, apparently with the desire for unquestionable transparency. What’s the reason for reckless abandonment of that protocol when participating in transactions with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce? Doesn’t logical analysis portray this scenario as one whereby it is the City of Sedona that continues to promote the Chamber of Commerce instead of the other way around?
(Ms.) Eddie S. Maddock