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City of Sedona Citizen Skills Test

Sedona AZ (July 10, 2013) – Try reading the following:

ASeconaCityCouncilmeetingisslatedonJuly30thforthepurposeofreviewing proceduresforestablishingacitypropertytaxandalsodiscussionoftheformation ofspecialimprovementdistricts.

Translated: A Sedona City council meeting is slated on July 30th for the purpose of reviewing procedures for establishing a city property tax and also discussion of the formation of special improvement districts.

Too easy? Here’s another:

TheChamberofCommerceandLodgingCouncilwillmaketheirpresentationbefore theSedonaCityCouncilonthefollowingdaythatbeingJuly31st.

Eddie S. Maddock, Sedona Eye columnist

Eddie S. Maddock, Sedona Eye columnist translates a City eye test

Translated: The Chamber of Commerce and Lodging Council will make their presentation before the Sedona City Council on the following day, that being July 31st.

According to Assistant City Manager, Karen Daines, the presentation on July 30th was requested by City Council members Mike Ward and Barbara Litrell for the purpose of educating the Council on all of the various financing mechanisms for the drainage project plan, given the fact that the remaining capital reserves will not be sufficient to fund the entire plan. They further requested for this to be done prior to the Chamber of Commerce and Lodging Council presentations on their recommendations to increase sales and bed taxes – in order to augment their funding request for destination marketing/tourism promotion activities and the City’s capital improvement plan.

Ward and Litrell felt the need for Council to understand any other options prior to acting on the sales and bed tax proposal. 

Karen Daines emphasized: “This presentation is by no means being done with the expectation that Council would be anywhere near ready to move forward with a bond issue or establishment of improvement districts or secondary property taxes.”

The meeting on July 31 is scheduled as a carryover from the presentation made by the Chamber of Commerce and Lodging Council several months ago when the Council directed them to develop a plan, conduct community outreach, and come back to the Council for further action/direction.

Stay tuned.

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For the best in Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!


  1. Tommy Acosta says:

    Liked this article on Facebook.

  2. Warren says:

    Year after year it’s always about ‘how can we get more money’. How about ‘how can we spend less’?

  3. Well . . . it costs more to run the City than the City collects. Big News! This is pretty simple, really: Either we don’t attract enough “destination” visitors, or the City has lost track of the fact that we are a “tourist economy.”

    Start shutting down some palatial offices, laying off some “dead weight” staff and start operating like the simple little town that we are. Karen Daines, while at the Sedona Fire District, liked to strongly suggest just “raising the tax levy” to make the SFD budget work. It ain’t gonna work here, Karen!

  4. Jim, uptown says:

    Timing on this is just soooo special. Of course, what’s the “chosen” alternative? Having a “discussion” about city property taxes and special interest districts or catering to the chamber of commerce and lodging committee because “they are special” and better for them to have a slice of the taxes for unaccountable spending. The motive here is clear as glass.

    It’s time to take these serious decisions to voters and at the same time demand City Council to cease and desist on frivolous spending.

    If this city called Sedona, from the very beginning, had been diligent and responsible we wouldn’t have the serious drainage problems for which they claim shortage of funds to correct. This council already inherited problems and with what they’re attempting to pull off here they in fact continue to set a record for bad voter representation. Remember not too long ago they tried to sell us on owning a state hiway.

    We, the voters, ARE in charge if we exercise our rights and TAKE CHARGE. Onward to the ballot for these life altering decisions to be made.

  5. Sharlett says:

    Oh be still my heart! Someone finally called Karen Daines out on her real path of creating her own dynasty?!! Thanks Cole!

    As far as I am concerned the city and council has lost track of just about everything – other than the garbage of all their want-to-be expensive ego trips “necessary projects” ( of a far too lengthy list to repeat here) that they spew to us.

    Those “trips” include: increased sales tax, increased bed tax, discussion on implementing property taxes and then special district taxes…as they lay in bed with the chamber and lodging group who want their expenses to be born upon the backs of everyone…..jeezzzzz……..how come they can’t, all, balance their budgets and live within their means like the rest of us do?

    They believe WE (the citizens) are the uneducated, brain dead, and will just roll over to the “least objectionable tax hike”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!! some elected and employed and the chamber and lodging group just need to go back to scratch and get a Life!

    Hey, remember friends, that on July 30 and 31st our stellar council is going to hold meetings re property taxes and special district taxes – all in order to find the means of paying for the very necessary Drainage uncompleted issues that they have never taken full accountability for…they are looking at new taxes in order to supplement what they are not willing to take out of a real budget….this is not secure.

    Speaking of accountability: all these new taxes? Please do attend, and watch those council meetings on July 30/31 and pay special attention to the levels of accountability. Think it will be very tough to find.

  6. For the record, because information about an alleged meeting on July 30 was brought to my attention, it was I who contacted City Hall to verify if the information was accurate. It was Karen Daines who confirmed the proposed agenda and identified the two members of the Sedona City Council, Barbara Litrell and Mike Ward, who requested the discussion about City Property Taxes and Special Improvement District Bonds. She also advised me of the meeting the following day on July 31.

    During the discourse of our several e-mails, I related being aware that Ms. Daines had acknowledged public opposition to a city property tax via a printed comment made by her which I had read. Because our communication is public information I will cut and paste that portion of our dialog as follows:

    KAREN DAINES: “And any previous references I have made to opposition to property taxes has to do with the citizenry’s opposition. I don’t know anyone who thinks that if a property tax was taken to the voters, that it would pass, so I think my perception is likely a common one. I wasn’t referring to how any of the individual councilors feel about whether or not they personally support a property tax – I really don’t know and would only be speculating.”

    MY RESPONSE TO KAREN: “To be specific, nothing I’ve read from you has indicated anything other than the opposition about property taxes as being from a source other than public opinion.”

    I further assured Ms. Daines that I would use her input with discretion in a manner which both of us agreed would serve as advance notification and also maybe to facilitate transparency since the nature of the proposed discussion is a very hot issue. Neither of these two council meetings were mentioned during the final minutes of the council meeting on July 9 (the portion relating to future meetings) which further piqued my curiosity to confirm the status.

    So responding to the comment made by Mr. Cole Greenberg, Ms. Daines is not the force behind this action but she does seem to realize something of which you are not aware. The buck begins and ends with her superiors whether it is the Sedona Oak Creek Fire District Board or the Sedona City Council. If shooting the messenger is your primary mission, then by all means include me.

  7. Shut up pay up you city tightwads, you can afford it!

    Stop whining & get on with it, Chamber runs this city not Council, Council exists because of Chamber! Nobody would have anything in this city except rocks if the Chamber didn’t provide it, business owners care what Jennifer Wesselhoff says not the HMS ROADRUNNER PINAFORES.

    Voters pony up because without tourists you’ve got NOTHING but deadbeat rock watchers & hikers who show up & don’t change underwear or $20 bills.

  8. Charlie B. says:

    And just why do you suppose the two meetings weren’t mentioned at the council meeting on July 9? Jim Uptown I believe answered that question in his remark “the motive here is clear as glass.”

    Is there any doubt that given the three choices of city property tax, special bonds, or increasing sales and bed tax at the request of the c of c and lodging counsel so they will have public money to spend to advertise THEIR businesses, minus any accountability of how or what if any profitable returns resulted, the people will choke and look sheepishly and opt for what the c o c and lc have been begging for.

    and adding insult to injury is dropping the bomb (even if only for the purpose of discussion) about property and special bond taxes at the 11th hour…the day before council votes for the tax increases?

    My take on this whole thing is: STUNNING MANIPULATION.

  9. Jean says:

    Will the real force behind the City Property Tax issue please stand up?

    Potential spending sources for future capital improvement program (CIP) projects was on the Dec 12, 2012 and Jan 16, 2013 Budget Oversight Commission agendas. Hmm, wasn’t Karen Daines involved in the discussions?

    The BOC Veep then presented revenue generation heist ideas at the Council’s April 26th Budget Workshop. A 1% Sales Tax increase, a 1% Bed Tax increase, and a City Property Tax were all mentioned for future discussion concerning how to manage the CIP. Spending less was unheard of.

    I like Charlie B.’s STUNNING MANIPULATION take on the last minute dropping of the bomb.

  10. Mike W. says:

    This is the first time I’ve made a comment. After following and reading Sedona Eye for who knows how long, will break my own silence admitting to being among the “silent majority” with maybe only this one exception.

    When I read some of the comments such as Moronic Convergence, Chamber of Corruption, and most recently Stunning Manipulation (there are any more which at the moment I’m drawing a blank) it makes me wonder who it is reading this site. Many besides myself, that’s for sure, but my point is that a forum where people can openly express their feelings within reason is really, really refreshing.

    Following the nasty situation with APS and the smart meter fiasco is not unlike the “stunning manipulation” we are witnessing at a local level with the “chamber of horrors” and their affinity group, the Lodging Council. Those who provided info about the shocking effects of smart meter radiation are dedicated souls and the many web links have been invaluable as educational tools. Likewise the links provided relating to the really questionable policy for city of Sedona to be giving thousands of dollars to the “Chamber of Corruption” clearly prove, without a doubt, that name is applicable.

    The Lodging Council has not been legally registered with the State of Arizona for I believe over three years, and yet they are soon to be awarded thousands of dollars for being illegal along with their sister C of C who champions stealing local business ideas, competing in retail sales, and catering to those who pay the highest price for favors whether or not they live in Sedona. All has been revealed on relevent web sites offered on Sedona Eye.

    And then we have the city council who is all of a sudden listening to this disbanded body called (I think) the BOC (Budget Oversight Commission) who now with one foot in the grave suggest a sales and bed tax increase with a sizeable amount to go to invest in destination marketing without any assurance of accountability on the return of those thousands of dollars. This brings to mind that some time last year this same BOC advised AGAINST allocating an additional $100,000 for destination marketing and yet the city ignored that recommendation since it was just recently the C of C made certain they grab onto $80,000 of that amount before the curfew whistle blew.

    This would be laughable if not so pathetic. Why haven’t these city leaders said enough is enough.

    Cut to the chase. Say we will increase the tax back to the 1% dropped by the State when it expired and dedicate it strictly to capital improvements, primarily drainage, without giving one more cent to this Chamber of Corruption and their cohorts outside city limits who stand to benefit without paying taxes. Maybe only one other contingency my be tagged on to an increase which would be to cancel all connections with the Chamber of Corruption except, perhaps with a time limit on the visitor’s center, until other arrangements are made to move destination marking under the umbrella of city government and put an end to this blight on the city.

    Council, make up your minds. Why suddenly is the BOC’s recommendations for increased taxes to primarily benefit the Chamber of Corruption and their illegal affiliates OK now but the denial for the $100,000 last year turned down? And if they are substantiating their decision on numerous ultimatum letters circulated by the Lodging Council for their employees to sign supporting the tax increase, they will only continue to feed this venomous takeover by special interests while their heads are looking the other direction.

    Think of something the city voters might buy into and cut the pork (which has also been used in comments.)

    Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

  11. The letter distributed by the Sedona Lodging Council and/or Chamber of Commerce (appears in another article on Sedona Eye) soliciting signatures supporting the sales and bed tax increases, does anyone know if a similar campaign occurred during the vote on Home Rule?

    Speaking of ‘stunning manipulation’ has anyone tied this tax increase maneuver in with timing these events when many people are away on vacations and some are even away for most of the summer?

  12. Warren says:

    @ Just Wondering – I don’t think Home Rule efforts went so far as soliciting signatures but certainly the City put on a full court press with (dis)Ernester out doing disinfo at various group meetings, a Budget Outtasight Commission member giving out false numbers in the SRRN, and the City “educating” us via a couple of mailouts we of course paid for.

    Then there was the voter information pamphlet scam whereby the City discouraged people from submitting comments by illegally charging $250 to get in 300 words. They admitted their mistake on that — after the election.

    Those of us who chipped in for 300 words of NO got an apology and our money back. I thought jail time and a big fine for the perps would have been better. Isn’t that what we get when we break the law? Think I am exaggerating? I know someone here who was threatened with that for having the wrong size banner at her house during that election. BTW, the banner was against Home Rule.

  13. ol' Hank says:

    It’s frustrating and interesting to sit back reading all posts on this great site as reviewing city meetings regarding issues of all areas of taxation to have a clear picture.

    Finally feel comfortable to now do a post; to Jean – can’t agree with you more on concept of “will the real force behind the City Property Tax issue please stand up?” This new concept or level of taxation isn’t innocent on any level and Karen Daines has partners in this craziness as it looks like she’s taught her subjects well. This property tax concept is just crazy nuts.

    Eddie is right: all of us have been and will be in opposition to Property Tax and Special District Taxes of which have to go to a public vote of us- so why does the City waste the time and money to discuss those issues, when they must certainly they know they won’t win at an election that could happen and at a costly election (in the future) and time consuming public meeting on July 30/31? ….oh, sure….they want to trip through a diversion of higher taxes only in order to get us to agree to their concepts of new sales and bed taxes!

    Good try but do They really think we are all that dumb?

    In the back of my mind I just keep hearing the “Karen Dynasty”, chamber and lodging council’s song and dance.

    so let’s look at Councilman Mike Ward and councilwoman Barbara L. who seem to think they can play some game of causing a total waste of time and city money by holding two meetings regarding Property Taxes and Special District Taxes a day and two prior to the scheduled meeting on sales and bed taxes….all in order to have the public fall into a stupor of agreement with the “cheapest” way to fulfill their dreams of funding’s of a higher Sales Tax and Bed Tax – for all kinds of things that do not fix so many of our problems? Poof! Poof, I say to them…get a grip and start looking at this issue as though you were spending YOUR OWN Money!

    isn’t their ultimate goal to make those new taxes look worst case scenario and a new sales tax and bed tax look acceptable? they are doing a puppet show.

    Seems to me, Jean, you on the right track with Karen Daines – yet there is one other person you may not be aware of.

    Guy named Steve Segner: Interesting story: he owns a hotel here (El Portal), is a member of the Budget Oversight Commission, who recommended property taxes, is a member of the Lodging Council and Chamber who both want higher sales and bed taxes.

    He also has approached the city for either giving land or buying land to give to the city all in attempts to satisfy some need of the city….yet his offers only and really do benefit him. I call that a big conflict of interest

    From what I’m hearing: this guy talks all over town about his special relationship to Council…he is also somehow involved in the demise of a key city employee, along with Mr. Californian AKA Councilman John Martinez.

    Our new player feels he has the inside track on all city issues and he talks to way too many and looks like he has grander plans. needed to add his name to the list who think Property Taxes are appropriate.

    my final thoughts are NO NEW TAXES on any level.

  14. Genni says:

    Thanks. This is very interesting.

  15. Jean says:

    Thanks, ol’ Hank, for the heads up about Steve Segner. He likes to advertise El Portal in the Travel section of the Sunday ARIZONA REPUBLIC from time to time. If the City Council is clueless enough to rubber-stamp his and the Chamber’s special interest bed and sales tax increases, then taxpayers will get the dishonor of paying his advertising bills in the future.

    By the way, economists at the St. Louis Fed found that, except for concentrated holdings by wealthy families, Americans have recovered only 45% of what they lost during the Great Recession (St. Louis Federal Reserve 2012 Annual Report). Obviously, many small businesses in town, the poor and seniors on fixed incomes cannot afford a .5% City sales tax increase. The recently expired, TEMPORARY 1% State sales tax impeded Sedona’s road to recovery, as will a permanent .5% City sales tax increase.

    Your thoughts of NO NEW TAXES on any level nails it.

  16. Charlie B. says:

    Here it is, Thursday AM, July 17, and to date there is NOTHING posted on the city meeting schedule indicting these two meeting are on the agenda. Thursday, August 1st @ 1:00 “Pool time EXTRA”; and 3:30 PM a P & Z Work Session.

    It’s amazing the absolute disrespect this city council has for the residents of Sedona other than those who slosh in the pool or want to spend more money for luxuries like art work and picknick tables for duck ponds and land for parks to accommodate the likes of that Segner fellow who will give city his driveway if they buy the corner “Y” property and also a portion of the old Forest Service property to serve HIS purpose.

    All this wasted money when in fact NOTHING should be spent until the money coming in, without adding any new taxes, is properly set aside to correct the drainage problem. That should be number one, end of report.

    To continue bilking those connected to the sewer and now even considering charging those who were bybassed to pay a user-fee for a service that is unavailable to them (is that even legal) continues to add insult to injury when we have a city council who cannot say “no” the the C of C, a discriminating special interest group who’s only obligation is to serve their own membership, in city limits or outside.

    Unless and until this city council takes charge and corrects the drainage problem, largely created by faulty engineering design on new developments, they should cease and desist even thinking about proceeding to give Segner and his lodging and chamber of commerce “dignitaries” more funds for advertising or anything else. Number one priority should be to clean up their own act.

    STUNNING MANIPULATION is out in the open. City Council: either knock it off or step down. All of you.

  17. E.S. Maddock says:

    Either Charlie B. overlooked it or this was posted after he made his comment:

    Wednesday, July 31, 11:00 AM, “Wet Wednesday” (City Web Site Schedule of Meetings)

    Is this an indication of just exactly what type of information the City Council feels it’s important to convey to the public? “Wet Wednesday” but two meetings relating to potential tax increases aren’t essential criteria. Oh sure, no doubt “they” will publish these meetings at the appropriate “legal” time. So what?

  18. Done Deal says:

    “City Council Tentative Agenda Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 4:30 PM


    a. AB 1615 Discussion/possible action on service contracts with the Sedona Public Library, Sedona Chamber of Commerce Visitor Services, Sedona Chamber of Commerce Tourism Bureau, Sedona Main Street Program, Sedona Community Center, Sedona Recycles, Sedona Humane Society and the Valley of the Sun YMCA.”

    Quoting Jennifer Wesselhoff in her article RRN 7/19/13: “One thing that most of us agree on is that the city’s $220,000 marketing investment . . . which comes from the $1.5 million generated by the 3 percent bed tax . . . is not enough to market Sedona, especially when we are highly reliant on tourism as our only economic engine.”

    Are you among the “most of us” who agree with that? Better let members of city council know pretty darn quick if you disagree. Otherwise increased funding to this special interest trilogy (Chamber of Commerce, C of C Tourism Bureau, and Lodging Council) is a done deal. And do not forget the proposed tax increase by the Big Three which will go to council vote on July 31.

  19. REMINDER says:

    FINALLY posted on Sedona City Calendar:

    (1) City Council Special Meeting 7/30/13 @ 3:00 PM

    (2) City Council Special Meeting 7/31/13 @ 3:00 PM


    But, as a reminder from the above article:

    Tuesday July 30th will be a presentation relating to legitimate methods of increasing taxes. A sales tax increase will apply to EVERYONE; other tax increases such as PROPERTY TAX, SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS, AND/OR GOVERNMENT BONDS WILL APPLY ONLY TO RESIDENTS OF SEDONA. Importance of this becomes increasingly augmented as non-tax paying entities, both businesses and individuals outside City Limits, are becoming more vocal relating to demands on City of Sedona operations. (for example: financing for art events including but not limited to art in public places and an art museum as well as outdoor performance venues)

    Wednesday July 31st the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Lodging Council will again present their cases for both sales and bed tax increases requesting a substantial kick-back to be used at their own discretion for Destination Marketing. If granted, this, too, would allow businesses outside Sedona City Limits, those who will not be required to assess city taxes, the benefit of advertising via usage of City of Sedona public money. How so? Simply because it is the responsibility of the Chamber of Commerce to represent their MEMBERS, many of whom are situated in Sedona-Tax-Free-Areas. But of course this is old news.

    ATTENTION TO ALL CONNECTED TO THE SEDONA WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT: Do not be fooled by the action taken at the City Council Meeting on July 23rd to defer the rate increase proposed for the end of this month.

  20. In the NO says:

    OK folks here are the facts.

    (1) In Sedona there are 2,275 registered city businesses. According to the Chamber’s website there are 92 Chamber members under accommodations or lodging. Of that 92 only 30 are registered with the city of Sedona as a business. Four of the 30 are timeshares and/or vacation rentals. Translation: only 28% of the Chamber’s lodging group will be collecting increased taxes for the benefit of all 92 in that category.

    (2) After removing the four timeshares and/or vacation rentals, there are only 26 out of the 2,275 city licensed lodging businesses equaling a mere 1.14% who will actively be collecting the increased taxes. Translation: Increased bed tax will amount to a free ride for this special group of 66 lodging businesses that do not contribute one cent to the tax base.

    Sedona is the golden goose for NON CITY businesses as Sedona City Businesses have to bear the burden. Say no to wrap around tax that goes back to Chamber. The Sedona Chamber of Commerce does not represent 100% Sedona City Businesses. Only 27% of their membership are licensed city businesses.Let your City Council know. Vote “NO” on any sales or bed tax!

  21. Steve S. says:

    Any one remember some strange term . . . hmm . . . was it trickle down economics or something? Well, in Sedona that’s “translated” to money for the controlling force aka Chamber of Corruption as another comment above so appropriately labled this obvious attempt to makeover our small to become “Sedonia Californication.”

  22. FORK IT OVER says:

    A local timeshare just went public -IPO last week, raised 210 million and closed the IPO. Are they paying taxes appropriately? Can anyone look into this for the City so we can receive our fair portion of the money. DRII is the ticker. This company with record breaking sales during an otherwise historic economic downturn need to share/fair?

  23. Sedona Taxpayer says:

    About the Tuesday July 30th Council meeting concerning funding drainage projects: As can be seen from the City’s website, both Secondary Property Taxes and Special Improvement Districts made it onto the City Council agenda.

    I wish to remind property owners living in Coconino County that we are already paying Secondary Property Taxes for flood control (Ref: FLOOD CONTROL DIST on your tax bill). If I understand it correctly, City Hall has approximately $6 million in funds in its coffers from Coconino County for this very purpose. Why should we be assessed for flood control by the City of Sedona in addition? I don’t understand this.

  24. Jim, uptown says:

    Re Sedona Taxpayer:

    You ask why should those of us in Coconino County be assessed for flood control when “our” county property taxes have already provided $6 million to city coffers. Seems it works like this.

    Something like robbing Peter to pay Paul except in this case it’s take from legitimate funds to pay for the wish list of others including #1 recipient more and more to the Chamber of Corruption as it’s become rightfully recognized by others who have made comments.

    My suggestion is that we look into a way to remove the Coconino portion of this poor excuse of a city and return to Coconino County jurisdiction. That would be assurance to relocate the Chamber of Corruption visitors center to West Sedona where it rightfully should have been in the first place. Maybe they could take “our” $6 million flood control dollars and buy the vacant land at the “rear” of City Hall and name the new C of C establishment after Jennifer Wesselhoof to match the legacy of the future Rob Adams Creek Walk. Oops, that too must be relocated since the choice locations are also in Coconino County.

  25. Phil says:

    I really like reading through a post that will make people think. Also thanks for allowing for me to comment on an older post. Looking at the changes and sameness interesting. People need to vote for Trump. He’s been good for the economy and all people. He’s done more for this country against all odds than Bush and Clinton and Obama combined. Hats off to him.

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