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Lodging Council In Favor of City and Bed Tax Increases

Sedona Arizona

Sedona Arizona

Sedona AZ (June 3, 2013)In a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor, the following form letter is being distributed by the Lodging Council so business owners and employees may send a message to the Sedona City Council via the Sedona Chamber of Commerce in favor of increasing city sales and bed taxes:

The ‘more taxes’ Form Letter the Lodging Council is getting business owners and their employees to sign is copied below [caps replace the letter’s underlines]. The address for returning signed letters: 45 Sunset Drive, i.e., the Chamber of Commerce.

Dear Mayor and City Council,

My business depends on a strong and healthy tourism industry in Sedona. The quality and quantity of visitors to Sedona is paramount to my livelihood, the livelihood of my employees, and the overall success of my business. It is imperative that Sedona remain competitive in the global tourism industry and, in order to do so we must invest in destination marketing, sales, public relations and product development to position Sedona as a premier travel destination.

Sedona Arizona in need of funding for tourist advertising may raise city and bed taxes

In need of funding for tourist advertising Sedona Arizona may raise city and bed taxes

For that reason, I support the Sedona Lodging Council’s proposal to INCREASE THE CITY SALES TAX BY .5% AND TO INCREASE THE BED TAX BY .5%. My support is contingent on the dedication of 45% of the total bed tax collections to be allocated to the City’s Official Destination Marketing Organization for marketing, 15% dedicated to visitor center management and 20% be allocated for tourism product development for as long as this tax is in place. Furthermore, a significant portion of funds generated from the .5% sales tax should be allocated at the City’s discretion for priority capital improvement projects.

While I don’t particularly care for the idea of increased taxes, I realize that the timing is right and the current situation is a win-win scenario:

WIN FOR THE CITY: As reported by city staff, in approximately 3 years there will be no funding available for capital improvement projects. This additional revenue will generate the needed funds to be used at the discretion of City Council for priority capital projects. The City will also benefit from the additional incremental revenue generated by increased visitor spending, a result of effective marketing efforts conducted by the Chamber of Commerce.

WIN FOR THE SEDONA RESIDENTS: The residents will see a .5% decrease in overall sales tax since the 1% state sales tax will be removed on May 31. The residents will also benefit from the additional funds allocated to capital projects such as improved drainage, sidewalks, roads etc. In addition, there will be more revenue to the general fund based on increased visitor spending. The increases to the general fund will help enhance city services and help fund parks, street maintenance, police services, and overall enhances the quality of life and services to our residents.

WIN FOR THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY: The business community wins from the increased allocation to tourism marketing which will lead to additional visitor spending, more jobs, and the creation of a vibrant, competitive tourism destination.

WIN FOR SEDONA VISITORS: Additional funds allocated to destination marketing will lead to new and enhanced visitor services, products, activities and attractions. A satisfied visitor will spend more money, return and possibly relocate to Sedona.

PLEASE COUNT ON MY SUPPORT FOR THE .5% CITY SALES TAX AND THE .5% BED TAX INCREASE based on the City’s commitment to dedicate 60% of the total bed tax collections to the City’s Official Destination Marketing Organization and 20% be allocated for tourism product development.


Print Name:____________________ Title:_____________________


Business Name:_________________ Number of Employees:_______


City of residence:________________ Business location (city):______

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  1. Warren says:

    If .5% increases of the bed & sales taxes is such a “win-win” as described by the Lodging Council, think how much more we could “win” at a 10% increase! Everybody loves a winner so I’m pushing for 10%! Let’s not half step this.

    Part of the proceeds could be used to turn Sedona into a destination for tire purchasing. We have 2 tire shops here that are neglected and should be supported. I want people coming here from all over Arizona and the contiguous states to buy their tires. We can also achieve sustainability buy turning old tires into shoes and driveway markers. This would be another “win-win”. All of the reasons listed by the Lodging Council apply to this destination tire purchasing campaign as well.

    Let’s hang the World’s Biggest Tire off the spout of Coffee Pot and make Sedona Tire Town, USA!

    Sedona – A Beautiful Place to Re-Tire!

  2. funny warren/this town should steal your idea/no red rocky horror? Elsie and Billy Goodwin, Tucson bound after casino stop (hope you post our comment/we subscribed) sent from my iPad

  3. Sharon says:

    June 4, 2013

    Misters Stern and Hill,

    We have never met but I want to ask you if this letter is meant as a joke? I think it’s a joke. I don’t think that business would ask employees to sign because that can’t be legal or is it?

    I don’t think that businesses in the city want a tax increase because it’s expensive enough. I think this letter is suspect. You should make sure it is real. Thank you and sincerely yours, Sharon (I do not want my last name and address printed)

    (Reply to reader: Sharon, thank you for your comment to a SedonaEye.com article. We are assured the form has been and or is being circulated. As to your question of “legality” we defer. We are unqualified to answer.)

  4. Still posted to this site is my article as follows:

    Law of Unintended Consequences Meets Probable New Sales-Tax Policy/May 8, 2013 still posted @ Sedonaeye.com under the “Business” header, then click on “Read More.”

    Dear Lodging Council:

    You begin your letter to Sedona’s non-Chamber small businesses and citizens with these statements…”My business depends on a strong and healthy tourism industry in Sedona. The quality and quantity of visitors to Sedona is paramount to my livelihood, the livelihood of my employees, and the overall success of my business.” These statements are convoluted, misguided and patently false for two thirds of the businesses in Sedona. In the above referenced article (mine, that is), I gave you ten critical reasons why your point of view is dangerous. Since the destination market has not found it’s way to Sedona on a consistent basis in the last four years, that is your fault and the fault of the Chamber of Commerce, and it is not the fault of the non-Chamber businesses, retirees, seniors and low-income wage-earners who live here. Worse yet, since it is your fault only you and the Chamber should have to cough-up the money to redouble your so far miserably failed marketing efforts.


    And there’s one other thing to consider, Lodging Council and Chamber, which is, if you’re so sure that everyone in Sedona accepts your assertion that the quantity of destination visitors is paramount to their livelihoods, then why are you so terribly afraid of having your proposed tax issues put to a public vote? More than money, you need honesty in your ranks.

    P.S. Read my article if you have the courage!

  5. Is this a real group? I think not.

  6. L.B.D. says:

    responding to “What Lodging Council” I agree with your question and your premise.

    Supposedly, it is a real group. Does seem they haven’t updated their status since 2010 with the AZ corporation commission. guess they need to take care of that. not my concern – unless that takes them out of the place of getting city funds and the city continues to fuel their bank account. or perhaps the city just needs to pull back its spending frenzy?

    in reply to Sharon: oh Yes, that letter is real and I’d wonder that there are any businesses in town who want to look their customers in the face and explain the higher tax rates. And by the way: a manager/owner can put a letter out to the employees and quietly ask them to sign s though it will personally benefit them. that is called intimidation and job security

    Read the last line from a j rick Normand’s post saying “read my article if you have the courage!” Huh? if I have the courage? did read wonder who this guy is? Maybe the lion king savor? total waste of time

    did go back to watch some council meetings (thanks Eddie) and learned more than I really wanted to and came away with a real fear factor of all those people climbing in bed with each other in order to get their something’s done….still can’t quite figure it out.

    Council, how do you dare try to drop new taxes on us in Sedona and mainly how do we find our sunshine and not be taxed to death or talked to death and placated to death just because you need more funny money?

    That same question is just as viable toward the Chamber of Commerce and Lodging Council.

    the scary part is that council, the chamber and the Lodging Council tells us they know what’s best for us. we have been sunk by the bed partners. Wow!

  7. Is Michelle Conway related to John Conway Red Rock TV? Bedfellows question.

  8. I challenge the Lodging Council to show us ANY Sedona business owner who has willingly signed this self serving and unrealistic petition. I recently went to a City Council Coffee Chat at Tlaquepaque, where EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS OWNER INTHE ROOM BEGGED MAYOR ADAMS AND CITY COUNCIL, “PLEASE DO NOT RAISE SEDONA’S BED AND SALES TAXES – YOU WILL BE JEOPARDIZING OUR BUSINESSES!”

    The Lodging Council is asking for an extra potential quarter of a million to million dollars plus from the City – gratis – with these tax hikes – with no plan to show where the money will be spent – or follow up to show it has been spent effectively. That’s how the City Council handles the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, who yearly grabs a cool $600,000 of taxpayers money to fund their $565,000 in salaries and benefits. Last week, City Council gave the Chamber an additional $80,000 of taxpayer money for Destination Marketing to attract the ‘bride and groom’ trade.

    The Chamber admits that their own surveys of tourists show that most Sedona visitors come here through ‘word of mouth’. So, who needs to ‘sell’ anyone with expensive destination marketing? We have over 3 million visitors each year talking to their friends and families all around the world about this beautiful town. As businessman Mike Schroeder says, “Take care of our police and let the Red Rocks do their thing.”

    I was formerly the Bi-Lingual Creative Director of Chase Compton Advertising in Hong Kong. I speak Cantonese and Mandarin and created ad campaigns in both Chinese and English. I know a bit about marketing. Jennifer Wesselhoff’s lackluster branding of our city with “My Sedona” is not worth $680,000 – let alone a hike in our bed and sales taxes. How does such a singular, lack luster ad-line fit in with visiting families as well as the “wedding clientele” they are supposedly targeting?

    The Lodging Council and Chamber are now asking the City Council to hike sales and bed taxes and effectively jeopardize the survival of the businesses they represent. City Council should take heed of Nancy Reagan’s three famous words, “Just say NO!”

  9. Jean says:

    http://www.bestplaces.net/city/arizona/sedona reports:

    “Compared to the rest of the country, Sedona’s cost of living is 26.30% higher than the U.S. average.”

    So, isn’t a sales tax DECREASE in order under the circumstances?

    The Lodging Council’s proposed tax increases are tentatively scheduled for the July 31st City Council meeting. According to Arizona law, the City has the option of putting the .5% sales tax increase before the electorate.

  10. Sedona Lodging Council, Inc. should merge with Sedona Village (where is that ?) Lodging Association.
    They are not even listed as a formal group with the AZ Corporation Commission let alone ‘NOT IN GOOD STANDING’.
    2013 Sedona has no time for pretend groups. Please go away.

  11. Add .5% because we lost 1% in TEMPORARY tax? Are you kidding me. Talk about greedy twisted logic. Guests to our town are already complaining about high taxes. Half million bucks for salaries to the so called “chamber “?

    You can blow all the destination marketing money you want. It takes 100 positive comments to overcome one negative comment. And negative comments are already a problem. Destination marketing? It appears that the people in charge of that no nothing about the negative aspects of word of mouth impacts on any product or destination. Marketing 101. Sounds like someone needs to go back to school.

  12. Amen to Mike Schroeder’s warning!

    Ask any of the tourists in Uptown who, after years of coming to Sedona with no parking limit restrictions, suddenly find their tires marked and are given tickets after shopping and dining in our fair town. Talk about ruining their red rock experience. The Uptown businesses don’t like the ticketing one bit and are adamantly against the impending parking meters. When I brought this up to Asst. City Manager Karen Daines, she said, “I know. But sometimes we have to do what businesses don’t want for their own good.” Those were her exact words.

  13. Short Story says:

    Once upon a time there was a beautiful town called Sedona. People came to see the red rocks and the colorful interesting uptown. We kept the tourists all to ourselves, priced out the employees ability to live here and made everything perfect.

    Matching colors, perfect curbs. Owned by a few. No surprise, no joy.

    Surrounding towns that still have imperfect sidewalks and colorful buildings and signs are now capturing the tourist dollars. People come here look at the rocks and then head to Jerome, Olde Town Cottonwood, wine country and the Verde River.

    It’s colorful and interesting and still holds the elements of surprise that people crave.

    So stand there and wonder why no one wants to look at someone’s view of tidy perfection. Money will never bring this back to Sedona no matter how much you spend or redesign.

  14. Sad n Scared says:

    I writing this under a no name. This is way out of line and very corrupt. The Sedona Lodging Council is a subgroup of The Sedona Chamber. They are paid members. They made employees sign documents that we agreed with tax increase. We all signed because we felt we get fired. So sad and scared.

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