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Eddie Maddock on Playing Without Paying

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock

Sedona AZ (October 28, 2014)Writing as a City of Sedona taxpayer and registered city voter, Eddie Maddock addresses Sedona Council members:

Anticipating your reaction of “Oh, it’s HER again” isn’t reason enough for me to decline making this contact.

Reading the agenda for the Council Meeting on Wednesday, October 29, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, in name only since it clearly serves a “regional” function, will be making a presentation relating to changes in their fee structure. And why is this matter for Sedona City Council consideration?

Any such increases in fees being paid directly to the Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau have no monetary benefit to the City of Sedona. Increased fees to businesses inside or outside City Limits on behalf of the Chamber and now conveniently associated “Tourism” will not be contributing to Sedona City sales or bed tax revenues.

During a Sedona Council Meeting this past summer, Jennifer Wesselhoff admitted that non-chamber members did NOT benefit by receiving referrals from the City financed Visitor’s Center. Not one single councilmember refuted the statement she made about the need to “pay to play” and yet those non-tax contributors to city taxes do indeed continue to “play without paying” – as they DO benefit from Sedona City taxes as members of the “regional” Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau as well as publicity – via the contract for Destination Marketing.

For those who may not be aware, the original proposal for incorporated Sedona was the exact same area as the Sedona Fire and School “Districts.” Having failed to receive voter approval, the second ballot measure downsized the City Limits to their present locations: Just slightly south of Back O’Beyond; Midgley Bridge; and just west of the (Sedona Red Rock) high school. An attempt was made to annex VOC when Alan Everett was Mayor (approximately around year 2000) and the reception was NOT favorable to the proposal.

sedona jobs accountingTherefore, the intense determination of this present City Council to accommodate expanded regional areas with benefit to “Play without Pay” does not make sense and remains an insult to the hardworking, tax paying businesses within Sedona City Limits.

As I was driving down Beaver Street in Flagstaff yesterday, and stopped at the traffic light on the highway, across West Rte. 66 and to the right was a very nice looking building with tasteful signage: “Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.”

Following up by checking their website it states: “Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, an independent, non-profit organization financed by its members to promote business and advocate on their behalf. (Not a government agency or part of the City of Flagstaff.)” http://www.flagstaffchamber.com/about-us/

By continuing the policy set by the majority of this City Council, that being to follow your own preferences, agendas, and whatever other reasons that feed your determination to heavily fund a non-profit so inept as to refuse representation of the very businesses that funds an alleged “City Visitor Center” remains a mystery. Adding insult to injury is the Destination Marketing contract with the same “non-profit” so unprofessional that they must sub-contract with an alleged qualified Phoenix advertising agency to perform the job, paying them with Sedona City bed tax revenue which again stands to benefit out-of-area establishments.

sean bageley real estate

City of Sedona Arizona

Will Sedona ever again see the light of day when fair and equitable officials will put aside their own egos and personal biases to do the job for which they were elected . . . that being to represent the residents and businesses within the confines of Sedona City Limits? For the most part we have not had that form of representation for the last four years (in my opinion) and there is no reason for hope during these eleventh hour decisions.

Please newly elected, in spite of a hotly contentious and down-right dirty election, be the best you can and reverse this biased process to a place where it makes some sense and restores over-due but rightfully deserved dignity to the confines of incorporated Sedona.

Respectfully submitted,

Eddie S. Maddock
Legitimate City of Sedona Registered Voter

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

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

73 Comments

  1. steve segner says:

    Eddie,
    Your idea about the city buying the old florist building in West Sedona makes no sense. It is at the wrong end of town and on the wrong side of the street for incoming traffic.

    A visitor center should be where the people are. The chamber has an excellent site.

    If the city ran the visitor center then city employees would need to be hired with all the benefits of city employees, and I am sure a full department would be created just for that service.
    From what I read in the Sedona Eye the majority seems to want the city to fire employees, not hire new ones.

    As for the hotels outside the city, yes they pay for membership and they pay thousands of dollars to be on visitsedona.com web page and they send thousands of customers every month to shop and eat in Sedona.
    I hate to think what would happen to some restaurants in west Sedona if Enchantment stopped sending customers to them.

    Lets take a larger view, people do not come to just Sedona they come to the area: Oak Creek, the Grand Canyon, Cottonwood for dining and Jerome and Out of Africa, just to name a few. The merchants out side Sedona know this and support the chamber, their membership and payments for the web exposure helps the chambers fund marketing,
    Yes Eddie, the businesses outside the city pay more then their fair share.
    Lets look at the larger picture Sedona gets more than it gives from businesses out side the city limits. Lets not go down this path of just hating the chamber because of a bakery or a few local businesses are not doing well.
    Business in this town is not easy, some will make it some will not. That is how the system works. If they would put as much energy into fixing their own business and quit blaming others they would be much better off. They need to take responsibility and not blame others.

    It is interesting that the group that is collecting the majority of taxes in Sedona, the hotels, are very happy with the chamber and are more than happy to share Sedona with the other hotels and businesses in the Verde valley.
    On a side note I see some of your readers think that the marketing monies that come from the bed tax, paid by visitors, should go to city services. Under State Law the majority of this revenue must go to visitor services.

    .Steve Segner

  2. anonymous says:

    Go with the flow. Let it go. YOU got control of the city and all the money. YOU won.
    Watch the chamber video get a life. Let the vocal minority have their voice. Let it go. Love Peace Live

  3. Get Real says:

    @steve segner Not true!

    Rationalization encourages irrational or unacceptable behavior, motives, or feelings and often involves ad hoc hypothesizing.

  4. Mr. Segner:

    And why would a legitimate City owned, City operated Visitor’s Information Center be inappropriate in West Sedona? Doesn’t the revised Community Plan designate that particular area as the “Western Gateway” into Sedona? Are only the businesses in uptown Sedona considered worthy of recognition?

    Because it would be financed with City revenue, the City could easily and fairly feature referrals for City Limit businesses based on required business licences. (Another advantage for those out of town folks being promoted with city money ~ no City licenses.)

    Of course there’s nothing wrong with a “regional” destination marketing plan if all participants are paying for the service. What we have going on here, for the zillionth time, it’s Sedona taxes footing the bill. Period.

    As for Sedona bed taxes, of course a portion of the tax is required to be returned to benefit the source, but if the city were to hire a professional ad agency directly instead of using the “regional” Chamber of Commerce as the “middleman” (so to speak) it would be perfectly acceptable and put a quick halt to this controversy.

    As I indicated previously, as long time residents my late husband and I knew the challenges of making a living in Sedona. We were avid supporters of the Chamber of Commerce before it became structured to promote businesses who do not contribute to the city tax base when, in fact, the Chamber has been receiving increasingly larger amounts from the City for what amounts to promoting themselves and in turn presumably increasing their own coffers with members who do not directly contribute to City taxes, including business licenses.

    To my knowledge you have no method of verifying the amount of money you claim City of Sedona benefits from trickle-down businesses outside City Limits.

    As “anonymous” stated, “YOU got control of the city and all the money. YOU won.” Therefore I remain clueless why you resurrected the issue in the first place. At least for the next three years you have clear sailing with your signed, sealed, and delivered contract all sewed up.

    Eddie Maddock

  5. steve segner says:

    Eddie, I answered your questions on why the city should not run a visitor center and why it should not be in west Sedona on the North side of the road.

    On the city doing the marketing and just hiring an ad agency. A big NO even corporations use our side venders, but they have people on staff that guide the Agency, the ad agency are good at producing ads and saving money in ad buys, but they always work with a staff that knows the product.
    Eddie, if you have a city person doing marketing, what do you do if they are not doing a good job? Fire them? No, the city manger will just move someone else in to that position and say handle it, really Eddie, is that what you want…

    Will city staff go to all the travel conventions, talk to all the travel agents, handle all free rooms given to travel writes, just to name a few things the chambers does.

    The chamber is just a pass through for tax monies and uses all of it and a large amount of there own income to run the advertising and marketing programs, and they do it with a really small staff and low salaries ½ what the city would pay.
    The chambers a New product committee, city staff and city council members all worked on the marketing program and they all signed off on it and the, and then it went to the city council for approval and the chamber did not get paid anything for all the work it did to make this happen,

    ss

  6. Ms Smith says:

    Flagstaff and Prescott cities do their own in house marketing

  7. Warren says:

    Government should not be promoting business or businesses of any sort. Period.

  8. Really, Mr. Segner, what is your point to continue this rant? You hold the City Council in the palm of your hand and the Chamber of Commerce has been given a key to City Hall. What more do you want?

    As for your ability to ascertain a feasible location for a City of Sedona Visitor’s Center, I must question your legitimate qualifications based simply on the location of the present Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s center.

    Although by choice I rarely go out on weekends, on “Black Friday” I did have errands in West Sedona. At 1:55 PM I headed towards the “Y” and although traffic was backed up almost to Morgan Road, much to my surprise I was circling the main “Y” roundabout at 2:03. My return trip about an hour and a half later was also without incident although at that time as I turned right onto 89A to enter 179 the traffic attempting to get into the Main Street area was gridlocked.

    It was at that moment I felt a surge of relief that the Visitor’s Center was not labeled as being that of the City of Sedona since it would be an embarrassment.

    The concern you express over a West Sedona location and your reasons for City of Sedona to avoid operating their own Visitor’s Center are clearly motivated by selfish reasons since you obviously have no concern for the convenience of tourists attempting to obtain information when they aren’t even conveniently able to reach the source.

    Regardless of which side of the highway a West Sedona City operated Visitor’s Center might be located, based on what frequently occurs on weekends, it remains clear that it would be far more convenient for tourists than what they are presently being offered. With traffic lights at both Andante and Dry Creek Road ease of making a left turn has been enhanced thus eliminating the logic you present (or lack thereof) arguing against a West Sedona location.

    You have won, Mr. Segner, and yet you continue the battle. Why not quit while you’re ahead and enjoy your victory?

    Over & Out,
    Eddie Maddock

  9. anonymous says:

    You are correct Warren.

    Law is § 9-500.06 Hospitality industry; discrimination prohibited; use of tax proceeds; exemption; definitions

    Universal Citation: AZ Rev Stat § 9-500.06 (through 1st Reg Sess 51st Leg. 2013)
    9-500.06. Hospitality industry; discrimination prohibited; use of tax proceeds; exemption; definitions

    A. A city or town shall not discriminate against hospitality industry businesses in the collection of fees. For the purposes of this subsection:

    1. ” Discriminate” means any increase of fees on hospitality industry businesses by any dollar amount without a corresponding equal dollar amount of increase in the privilege license fees or other fees imposed on all other businesses in the city or town or increasing or imposing the fees on hospitality industry businesses where no similar fees are established and imposed on other businesses.

    2. ” Fees on hospitality industry businesses” means annual liquor license taxes or fees or annual renewal or reissuance fees for municipal business privilege licenses, however denominated.

    B. A city or town shall not increase the fees on hospitality businesses in any year by an amount that exceeds the amount of any increase in the consumer price index compared to the average of the last five years of consumer price indexes.

    C. On or after the effective date of this amendment to this section, if a city or town, by passing an ordinance or charter amendment by its governing council or by a public vote, establishes a discriminatory transaction privilege tax or increases its existing discriminatory transaction privilege tax on hospitality industry businesses greater than any increase imposed on other types of businesses in the city or town, the proceeds of the established discriminatory transaction privilege tax, except as provided in subsection D, and the proceeds of any increase above the existing discriminatory transaction privilege tax shall be used exclusively by the city or town for the promotion of tourism. For the purposes of this section a tax which is in effect on April 1, 1990 and is subsequently renewed by a majority of qualified electors voting at an election to approve the renewal is not considered a tax increase.

    D. For the purposes of subsection C, expenditures by a city or town for the promotion of tourism include:

    1. Direct expenditures by the city or town to promote tourism, including but not limited to sporting events or cultural exhibits.

    2. Contracts between the city or town and nonprofit organizations or associations for the promotion of tourism by the nonprofit organization or association.

    3. Expenditures by the city or town to develop, improve or operate tourism related attractions or facilities or to assist in the planning and promotion of such attractions and facilities.

    E. If a city or town has not imposed a discriminatory transaction privilege tax up to a two per cent tax level on hospitality industry businesses as of April 1, 1990 and thereafter imposes or increases such a discriminatory transaction privilege tax, the first two percentage rate portion of the discriminatory transaction privilege tax is not subject to the provisions of subsection C.

    F. The collection by a city or town of a fee or tax prohibited by this section shall be void and unlawful. For a five year period following the unlawful collection of the fee, the city or town shall reimburse the hospitality business for any reasonable expense incurred in collecting from the city or town any fees or tax unlawfully collected.

  10. Thank you Steve S for simplifying a complex issue based on facts and NOT half truths and outright hysterics…

    Eddie it’s good for Steve to continue to explain since people here have been crying, complaining, bitching about this issue for years!!!!!!! Go ahead Steve, explain away…

  11. Just Sayin' says:

    @Warren

    “Government should not be promoting business or businesses of any sort. Period”

    I disagree with you on this one warren baby. What a great deal my city property tax is shared by me and the millions of tourists that come to our city. They leave and I get to enjoy this mystic place. I think that our government should differently be promoting every business in town.

  12. Sharlett says:

    @ Just Sayin’

    Think you really should check your facts!!!

    You wrote: “What a great deal my city property tax is shared by me and the millions of tourists that come to our city. They leave and I get to enjoy this mystic place.”

    Fact is there IS NO CITY PROPERTY TAX collected by the City!!!! What Mystic place are your residing in???

    Then you said : “I think that our government should “differently” be promoting every business in town.” Huh???

  13. @West Sedona Resident and @ Just Sayin – have a plan for the two of you; why not get together with your buddy Segner and all of you can check your facts prior to posting!

    Segner doesn’t want anything to happen in another part of town that he thinks will by-pass His business……isn’t that a little greedy and non objective as to what is good for our town and traffic and ALL our business’s?

    Has anyone taken the time to read @anonymous ??? Really interesting and would love to know how our wiz of a city attorney will spin those ARS quotes.

    Plus S Segner what do you mean a tourist chamber building in W Sedona would be in the wrong area? Have you read the newest, hot off the press, version of the Community Plan where they want a new Gateway into Sedona in W Sedona? Why not grab the unknowing tourists at every entry point?

    Then you go on to say: “I hate to think what would happen to some restaurants in west Sedona if Enchantment stopped sending customers to them.”

    Are you kidding me? You actually think that Enchantment is working overtime to send their customers into town to eat when they have to maintain their huge dining spaces? OMG and way too funny of a concept. So, do you send your guests away from your restaurant? For sure NOT!

    The business’s outside the city do not pay more than their share and that is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

    Oh, wait – let’s look at your business site you run – outside the City. Isn’t that your wedding event site at your home up the Canyon? Are you telling us that you are paying more than your share towards the City as you don’t collect City B&B or Sales Taxes?

    Oh Plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz !

  14. jack says:

    Just as many hotels, restaurants and shopping in west sedona now. We need a city visitor center on the west side. No one wants to navigate uptown. There are tons of volunteers retired like me that would enjoy helping the city west side visitor center. I won’t go to uptown.

  15. Spirit Wolf says:

    Negative people want to get a reaction out of you. This is the only way they can is by pushing on a button that causes you to react.

    The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will be.

    Those that claim others are negative and complaining are the negative, controlling sources on this site. Look inward.

    Come take one of my spiritual retreat @ West Sedona, Steve Segner and all the others going down this trail. We can all live in peace.
    Spirit Wolf

  16. David S. says:

    Has anyone noticed how Steve Segner evades answering any questions relating to “return on investment” of the $1.3 million from city and also on what he claims the city benefits from referrals from Enchantment? He’s good at spinning all right. He proved that when he conned the council with the idea of “just trust us” during council meetings where this all started. Or did it start there? Was that just a charade to cover up the deal had been made with Lodging Council for the tax increase and promised ad contract before it ever went public? Chamber and Lodging are the ONLY ones who received a solid “return” on “their” investment aka increased bed taxes.

  17. steve segner says:

    Just Sayin,
    you said, “What a great deal my city property tax is shared by me and the millions of tourists ”
    Sorry wrong. you do not pay a city tax of any kind, property tax is county.
    the city is run on past bed tax income and sales tax, and monies that the state sends back to Sedona.
    The way for the city to grow income is to put more heads in beads, mid week and off season,ss
    steve

  18. Marilyn says:

    Steve Segner writes: “If you have a city person doing marketing, what do you do if they are not doing a good job? Fire them? No, the city manger will just move someone else in to that position and say handle it,”

    Well at least the city would be in a position to determine whether or not the “city person doing the marketing” was doing a good job. Right now the City is left with ZERO accountability of how public money is being spent, or wasted for that matter.

    As for the slanted remark relating to “city person” not doing a good job? Really, SS, it’s surprising you would be so brazen to imply that anyone even remotely associated with what is looking more and more like your premeditated windfall of $1.3 million would be reckless and incompetent? How smart is it to bite the hand that feeds you?

  19. @SPIRIT WOLF

    Ok post your retreat information….

    Your right I am so angry and mean and like to bully people around..

    Please Spirit Wolf. Hook me up…….

  20. CURIOUS says:

    Very interesting that this year Steve Segner, President of Sedona Lodging Council, has invited “his gang” (more recipients on the e-mail than I’ve taken time to count) to a gala “Holiday Gathering” at “Red’s” which includes “free drinks and food.” The invite is explicit that this is a definite change from past policy of “their monthly meeting.” Hmm . . . wonder who’s footing this bill? Business must be good. Sure hope city revenue reflects similar dynamic profits.

    TEXT ON E-BLAST INVITATION FROM STEVE SEGNER:

    “Please join us!

    The Sedona Lodging Council will be hosting a Holiday Gathering (in lieu of their monthly meeting) on December 9th at Red’s Restaurant at 5pm.

    Come for some Holiday Cheer, Free Drinks and Food.

    Sent on behalf of Steve Segner, SLC President”

  21. @ CURIOUS says:

    Probably a lot of folks at shelters who would love that. Let’s rent a bus.

  22. Norma says:

    Review the community plan.

    Filling up a few rooms with “heads in beads” steve is not going to make the city income grow.

  23. HOW COME? says:

    If City Limit businesses must pay extra to be acknowledged in the City funded Visitor’s Center, then why shouldn’t all non-City Limit members of the Chamber of Commerce be required to have City Businesses Licenses since they benefit from Destination Marketing, also a product of City of Sedona tax revenue? How come, Jennifer Wesselhoff? Your Pay to Play philosophy should not discriminate.

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