Sedona AZ (October 9, 2012) – SedonaEye.com columnist, Eddie S. Maddock, takes a Page or two to write about the City of Sedona Arizona in her Eye on Sedona column:
Is Sedona on track to literally take a “page” out of the book of Page, Arizona? Headlined on page A2, Friday, September 28, 2012, in the Arizona Daily Sun: “Page to Consider City Property Tax Next Year” by Todd Glasenapp:
“PAGE – City Manager Rick Olson said Wednesday night he will ask Page City Council on Jan. 9 whether it wants to set a May referendum for Page voters on a first-ever municipal property tax.
A city property tax would help Page retire $7 million of its $14 million in debt by 2026, in a worst-case scenario. The city has begun paying off $5 million in utility-related debt through utility fees and expects a $2 million airport to be retired through airport fees.
‘We are turning over every stone and turning every house upside down’ to find solutions to an expected ongoing shortfall in the city’s general fund, Olson told council.
Olson detailed a long list of possible solutions, from removal of grass from city hall and the magistrate court to finding grants and sponsors for the city’s sports complex.
The city bought Page Municipal Airport in 2001. The bond was renewed in 1999, but the city has only been paying on the interest.
The question to be asked of voters next year, Olson said, is ‘Do you want to pay for the things you bought?’
Olson said a property tax would cost him about $80 a year for his home near the airport and owners of homes along Rim View Drive and the Ranchette subdivision from $200 to $400 a year. On the commercial side, a large gas station would fetch about $1,500 a year and the Walmart supercenter, $14,000 a year, he said.
Established in 1957 by the federal Bureau of Reclamation and incorporated in 1975, Page has never imposed a municipal property tax. The city has relied on the sale of city owned land and revenue from its share of the sales tax to help meet general fund demands.
Land sales have collapsed but the city sales tax still produces about $6.5 million a year.”
And so voters of Sedona, take heed. From the above newsy little article, how about creating a game by eliminating the specifics of the “ambitious series of improvements” (aka the root of Page’s financial woes) and substitute your own customized list for Sedona?
It shouldn’t be too difficult - maybe even a little bit of fun especially – to include the current “Dream List” being created by the spiritual souls involved in the process of revising the Sedona Community Plan.
Perhaps a logical beginning would be the already-on-the-drawing board implementation of a Public Creek Walk/Creek Park based on the whims of an unknown number of contributors who certainly have not been deemed official delegates by the voters of Sedona. However, it appears they (the un-officials) are deciding our fate. It would be an easier pill to swallow if they also pledged the financial support for all that they are asking.
On the horizon, one might dredge up for the city to purchase and operate the defunct Cultural Park, rumored to have been cursed by Native Americans and the Elder of the Yavapai-Apaches on the very night of its opening! What more does one need to figure out the land should be returned to the U.S. Forest Service from where it was procured! The list could go on and on, and, in comparison to the measly $50,000 or so allotted for unwanted banners across the already too busy uptown Main Street section of SR89A, all pales in comparison with the overall direction and financial disaster Sedona appears to be headed.
While we’re at it, how about throwing in two-cents to rename Sedona - lest the person for whom that designation was derived rises from her grave? Yep, how about the catchy “Any Town, State of Arizona, Country of USA?” If you find that too trite, at least the door has been opened. Banners, ugh . . . .