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Eddie Maddock: To Buy or Not To Buy

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock reports on the Sedona closed to the public March 24, 2020 City Council Meeting.

Sedona AZ – Due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic mandate requiring individuals to remain socially distanced by at least ten feet, the Sedona City Council meeting on March 24, 2020 was, perhaps as an understatement, peculiar if not downright eerie. In center seat at the dais as usual was Mayor Sandy Moriarty flanked by City Councilwoman Jessica Williams in her typical end seat far to the Mayor’s left and Councilman John Currivan seated at the opposite end. Vice Mayor John Martinez and remaining Council members, Bill Chisholm and Scott Jablow, were strategically located in seats generally occupied by Sedona residents. At the onset of the meeting Mayor Moriarty acknowledged that in conforming to the proclamation of March 18, 2020, this City Council Meeting would not be open to the public in compliance with Coronavirus restrictions.

In order to address some public concerns, Councilman Currivan made the request for more discussion relating to consent agenda AB 2570 – Approval of a Resolution authorizing a Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement for the City of Sedona to purchase the property located at 430 Forest Road (APN 401-160-71) located in Coconino County, City of Sedona, Arizona, for the sum of $480,000 for use as a parking structure. Specifically he cited concerns relating to a possible scope of unknown results, particularly with regard to the potential for economic decline and even a recession.

With current lodging occupancy dropping 70% to 75%, essentially shuttered restaurants except for takeout or delivery and other businesses slipping toward the brink of closing and, with Sedona’s primary source of revenue, its sales tax obviously in jeopardy, wasn’t Councilman Currivan’s question exceptionally timely and appropriate?

City Manager Justin Clifford, however, offered assurance that necessary funds could safely be transferred from Uptown parking meter proceeds and purchasing the property at this time would preserve the ability to maintain progress on a long term project: Providing Sedona with a much needed parking structure.

Sedona AZ Forest Road viewpoint – Exclusive SedonaEye.com photo credit Eddie S. Maddock 2019

A stipulation in the 430 Forest Road Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement between the City of Sedona, Buyer, and Daniel E. Saunders, Trustee of the Daniel Saunders Revocable Trust, Seller, included agreement that no commissions shall be paid and Buyer (City) agrees to leaseback the Property to Seller at no cost for a period of up to nine (9) months from the date of the Agreement. Both parties agreed to employ Empire West Title Company as the Escrow, and enhanced the affirmation that neither party has contracted with, retained or otherwise employed a real estate broker relative to this Agreement.

Motion to approve was unanimous by Sedona City Council.

Therefore, the second of two transactions to create an Uptown parking facility is now in progress. The first, of course, is the land presently owned by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, allegedly to be deeded to the City of Sedona at some future date.

Is that not a catchy phrase? “At some future date” who will be seated on the Sedona City Council? Who will be the City Manager? Sedona has been advertising for another City Attorney, and likewise there will be a turnover of other staff members.

Will this well-meaning transaction ultimately be justified, or down the road stifled with redirection for purposes unrelated to the stated cause for which it was purchased?

Or eventually will that questionable acquisition slip through the cracks and become a permanent, but unwarranted asset of a Chamber of Commerce, obligated to serve only their members, many outside Sedona City Limits and not contributing to the city tax base.

But most of all, when and if Sedona merchants including the lodging industry fail to produce adequate revenue to maintain even the barest essentials at City Hall, what will be the source of funding?

Sedona residents sit back and consume a breath of fresh air and sigh with relief. We do NOT have a Sedona property tax. You see in the darkest of times there is always something for which to be grateful, and in Sedona one really needn’t look too far.

631 Comments

  1. Meredith says:

    Protecting our resources? Not since 2010.

  2. Quilla Schoenberg says:

    A chamber president bails with no notice, a city manager bails with no notice, and Sedona secrets become less spiritual every day.

  3. Steve segner says:

    Not true both gave more than 90 days notice they were offered jobs at almost twice the salary. They got offered jobs or twice the salary because he did such a fantastic job in Sedona your jealousy is showing

  4. John Wilson says:

    And the future of the Jordan Road property remains a mystery @Quilla Schoenberg.

  5. Rich says:

    Economy sluggish and unemployment rate is at 10% and not 6% as this morning the “number” was adjusted for unemployment to 10. Energy tax is coming to America while China and Russia continue to build dozens more coal burning plants for their own coal. You elitist do know that America is one of the lowest contributers to global pollution? Remember Arizona shut down its coal fired reservation land coal plant? We did our share and more.

  6. Dylis says:

    I’d be more concerned why they were only interested in money over ethics. After all they both agreed to stay more years than they did to get raises. I believe that constitutes falseness.

  7. @Quilla Schoenberg says:

    you’re right as a business owner in town I was hoping JW would have stayed a few more years I didn’t know that city manager all that well but the RRN said that he almost doubled his salary so you’re saying that you wouldn’t leave your job if the pay was doubled????

  8. Steve segner says:

    And the future of the Jordan Road property remains a mystery @Quilla Schoenberg. No not at all city is having chamber pay it off with marketing money. City uses it for parking city can take lot from chamber when it is paired for in full. The chamber bought the lot for the city. Why because the city can not spend money not in that year’s budget so the city had the chamber use marketing money. City has agreements with chamber for city control . Hope that helps

  9. Clarence says:

    @segner Am I right that’s a goldmine of damning information for AG?

  10. @ Clarence says:

    If ive said it once Ive said it a thousand times…….Everyone screams wrong doing…Then get off your ass and put together your best argument and see the AG!….No one ever does, they just cry like spoiled children!

    If there is wrong doing fine……….But the constant BS has gone on for over ten long boring years here!………and never anything is found wrong!

  11. Jim, west Sedona says:

    You said they gave more than 90 days notice. To the Council and was it agendized. Was it to the Chamber and is it on the Minutes of Board meetings as topic of discussion? City hall knew more than 90 days in advance? Who knew and when did they know? City lawyer? City assistant manager? Council members?

    What about those Arizona boards that were being served on by JW as a result of their positions in Sedona – were they notified and were their resignations tendered?

    Personally I don’t buy that salary as cause. Both of them were doing job searches while employed on our dime and during acceptance of increased bonus and benefits and salary packages, maybe a FOIA request is necessary. Two of the highest paid city of Sedona employees gone in the same time period.

  12. Susan says:

    Justin landed 2x salary because he did such a great job for Sedona is BULLSH** statement. We residents are left holding our bag of unmet infrastructure needs and pollution and E. coli that shuts down tourist destinations from a nasty overrated daytripper population that benefits wheeled we pay.

    We lost local medical facilities in favor of a parking garage in the center of the most beautiful vistas? Parking garages put local developers and engineers and construction industry receiving funding we’d spend on sewer improvement that collects more taxes.

  13. steve Segner says:

    free world better pay and only one works for the city people can quit with no notice but they did the right thing…. Gave notice Karen new city manager has been with city for years. The Sedona eye has been critical of chamber and city manager for years. Perhaps they went to friendlier place for way =more money…. Good for them city managers move on a average every 7 years up and out and more pay. the American way on a side note you say @segner Am I right that’s a goldmine of damning information for AG? sorry Ag approved the contractJordan Road property two yeas ago…. please keep up

  14. Nancy Watson says:

    Isn’t comparing Palm Springs, CA to Sedona, AZ a bit foolish? For example:

    POPULATION (according to 2019 census)

    Sedona, AZ: 10,322

    Palm Springs, CA: 47,897

    Realistically doesn’t that put the wages paid to Sedona City Manager AND Assistant City Manager way over the top?

    It may also be of interest to know Karen Osburn has gone on record announcing her plans to look for a residence within the City of Sedona (city limits) when she takes over as city manager. Why has she been the “Assistant” City Manager if she doesn’t even live here? Why isn’t that a mandatory requirement of a city manager and assistant city manager to live and experience the city they control and manipulate? It’s not like they are COUNTY employees.

  15. Don says:

    You’re might be right city managers average 7 yrs. then why give more than annual contracts reviews to guarantee job performance? City managers are a dime a dozen.

  16. Paul C. says:

    Obviously Clifton wasn’t in need of desert experience to move to his new job and obviously he didn’t need city and mountain and tourism knowledge to get to Sedona from his old Colorado job. Osborn may prove good city manager because she knows how Sedona’s declined. If she has to breathe polluted air day and night and her peace and quiet is no more, maybe she’ll hear the dying wail of the golden goose.

  17. Make Lemonade says:

    say Jen worked for city since it funded positions not our membership when city money dries up it’s trickle drip dry , Bro —

  18. @Nancy Wilson says:

    Don’t ya get it? Sedona City Hall “assumes” their jurisdiction expands way beyond “city limits.” Otherwise why would they fund the “regional” chamber of commerce to promote ONLY their members when most of them are outside the incorporated “city”? Those business who contribute NOT ONE CENT TO CITY TAXES!!!

    Gee whiz, folks – give us a break. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to grasp who controls “city” hall. Just ask Steve Segner who resides at the Segner Estate in Oak Creek Canyon (outside Sedona City Limits).

  19. Michele says:

    righto

  20. Hal says:

    Sedona traffic and quality of life is less than ever.

  21. Bill, Uptown says:

    Bill Chisholm resigned after his first chamber city meeting. Why?

  22. John Wilson says:

    Why should the “regional” aka member-driven Sedona Chamber of Commerce have the opportunity to sit in at a Sedona City Council retreat? Why shouldn’t the Library, Humane Society, Rotary, Elks, and other organizations be given the same opportunity? After all, is there any difference between them and the chamber except the C of C is a “non-profit” minus the 501-C-3 designation (tax deductible) status.

    Even though the city manager is leaving, in my opinion his “dirty little deeds” will live on as his Sedona disgraceful legacy: To have awarded the chamber the 8 year-giveaway-free ticket to run city hall speaks volumes. Hope the folks in Palm Springs are ready for the great giveaway leader. If they have a C of C my bet is they will welcome him with open arms.

    Don ‘t expect things to change with Karen Osburn. IF she relocates (c’mon Karen, really is this a carrot or a promise or a justification or a dose of pablum!!??) to RESIDE in Sedona after working as assistant city manager for how many years???? The groundwork looks to be pretty solid for a smooth transition for Sedona government to continue doing business as usual. (Hey E. Maddock good SE title by you. Maddock called out “business as usual” a long time ago in Sedona.) Appropriate? Seems the untimely resignation of yet another council member (Chisholm) indicates at least one elected official isn’t willing to “sell his soul to the devil.” Speaks volumes? Again all these are IMO.

  23. steve Segner says:

    Bill, Uptown says: Bill Chisholm resigned after his first chamber city meeting. Why? send him a e mail and ask him he will tell you.

  24. Alan says:

    Breaking news.

    Democrats helped acquit Donald Trump today. History will see those Democrats as the best of America’s Democratic Party. Now that the Democrats have no dead horse to beat except Biden and Harris, let the games begin.

  25. Kareem says:

    Both Clifton and Wesselhoff bailed because they were getting called on their behavior by employees, including the attorney general sniffing around into one activity in particular. And don’t think that getting Karen Osburn is an improvement. She was promoted as a convenience during the pandemic. When she applied for the job before she didn’t get it, for good reason. She has always been part of the status quo, bloated inefficient procedures, nothing that looks like modern management practices. She won’t be as spectacularly disliked by employees and residents as Clifton was. Employees don’t especially respect her but they don’t hate her, either. Instead she will just plod along as the city gets more and more behind the times and our services continue to decline through more and more employee inefficiency and poor work performance.

  26. Mike says:

    Why don’t you share your email here Steve and save the rest of us disturbing Mr Chisholm?

  27. Ted says:

    All Democratic and Republican leaders had incentives for wanting to get the trial done quickly, without further evidence. Democrats had wanted to proceed to passage of a coronavirus relief package that had been built on the Trump administration distribution system before it could be further dismantled by Blue state governments because the Trump distribution plan worked better. The Trump administration had prepared for major vaccine centers with national guard rollouts to hard to reach areas, but Democrats wanted more federal control over locals and states, backfiring with infighting among who was in charge among the Democrats. Before the impeachment vote, many Democratic senators said they didn’t need to hear from witnesses after lawyers feared Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff and others would be on the Senate witness deposition lists. But Democratic House managers forced the witness issue, in essence forcing their Senators to agree, a certain result will be future political blowback on the House managers for possibly endangering Pelosi’s position. The stand down happened, the vote was taken, and to no one’s surprise including every Democrat and Republican performer in the Big Top, except for the ill-informed or possibly deranged, former President Trump was acquitted. Now get to work and fix Sedona and don’t get dragged into a political snake pit. Dealing with incompetent politicians and their incompetent staffs gets real old real fast.

  28. Doctor Roy says:

    Kareem says:
    February 13, 2021 at 2:25 pm
    Both Clifton and Wesselhoff bailed because they were getting called on their behavior by employees, including the attorney general sniffing around into one activity in particular.

    @Kareem Abdullah Wanna narrow it down for us?

  29. steve Segner says:

    Ted says:general sniffing around into one activity in particular. TED, please AG signed off on Chamber contract two years ago
    (Deleted by editor) Must read
    The Californians Are Coming. So Is Their Housing Crisis.
    Is it possible to import growth without also importing housing problems? “I can’t point to a city that has done it right.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/12/business/economy/california-housing-crisis.html

    In 2018 the City Council in Minneapolis voted to outlaw the practice of declaring some neighborhoods off limits for apartment buildings — what’s known as single-family zoning — becoming the first major U.S. city to do so. Since then, a half-dozen states have introduced bills to limit single-family zoning. Various others have passed laws to prevent cities from banning backyard cottages and require them to permit more apartments. Ms. McLean, the mayor of Boise, recently started an effort to rewrite the city’s zoning code.
    The action might be local, but the message should carry nationwide: The only way to solve the housing crisis is to address it in every city it visits. Otherwise, we’re just spreading it around.

    Time for the city to push back local NIMBY neighborhoods or Sedona will turn into Suncity north 60+ and rich only.

  30. Wendy says:

    People choose to live in Phoenix for its reasons like people choose to live in apartment.free housing for its reasons. Plenty of room in America for both without government manipulation. I want no transients. I choose no traffic. I choose walking. I choose cold weather and hot weather. I choose big house. I choose less commercial. I choose quiet. I chose Sedona. My choice. I can leave like my neighbors on each side did. I can go other places when it goes bad here or when I can’t stand it. Steve Segner came to escape California. We came to escape California. Steve and we will leave Sedona behind as easily as California. Plenty of places in AZ and in west to choose from that look and have lifestyles like Sedona early days because they were protected from manipulated change by interlopers with poor judgement. You see Sedona grew naturally as people discovered her and determined they could accept her limitations. Segner and council pushes an agenda that demands luring based on promises. Sedona doesn’t need to promise. It’s already perfect and it was before anyone settled here since time began.

  31. Main Street says:

    Paraphrased-

    …ADU housing issues were fixed by 2.5% – 3% interest rates for 30 years, less than Fannie Mae and government investment and grant programs: The Chinese helped fix global housing and potential food shortages by killing hundreds of thousands. Every American state has been enabled with affordable housing due to restricted travel bans and massive loss of life.

    From University study (Washington state)

  32. Nathan says:

    Segner where’s that email.

  33. Fred S. says:

    With the number of tourists coming to Sedona this weekend (3 day holiday because of President’s Day tomorrow) the COVID-19 pandemic will surely spread. What’s wrong with our local government? Maybe nothing that the constantly approved lust for greed wouldn’t cure if they (mayor and city council) had the intestinal fortitude to pull in the reins. Even parking lots at trail heads are on overload.

    Maybe if the lethal virus bug were to bite one or more of those allowing this to continue it might send a more lethal message to get their attention? Don’t ever say “this can never happen to me.”

    “Business as usual.” Indeed but stoopid?

  34. steve segner says:

    Wendy says: Steve Segner came to escape California. Sorry no I came to invest and build in Sedona, I love California and Sedona please you do not know me so please do not speak for me. Sedona is not stuck in time it will change as all things do.

  35. Sedona Keith says:

    Ridiculous comment about not leaving California because of taxes. He would not live well if he remained in Cali and we all know it except maybe him. Paying 48% and more for taxes for no ROI is why people with retirement pensions and cash money leave after earning it. No judgment except on the original falseness. Nobody wants to watch a corrupt and inept Cali government flush hard earned money away for pencil pushing bureaucrats to justify their jobs. No it doesn’t reach the needy but the me-greedy is a Cali government mantra even millennials know.

  36. Sam & Paula says:

    Our observation of Sedona is that it’s become an attraction to lure movers and shakers after which they implant their dirty little deeds they run. Example? Does Justin Clifford being the most recent qualify?

  37. Sam & Paula says:

    We stand corrected. The outgoing city manager is Justin Clifton not Clifford. So no need for folks in the peanut gallery out there who hate Sedona Eye but can’t refrain from reading it to chime in.

    Happy Presidents’ Day. Avoid the masses if you can that is.

  38. steve segner says:

    You are not correct about taxes in California
    California sales tax 7.25% Sedona 9.85%
    Sedona Keith says: Ridiculous comment about not leaving California because of taxes. He (steve) would not live well if he remained in Cali and we all know it except maybe him. Paying {48%} and more for taxes for no ROI is why people with retirement pensions and cash money leave after earning it. You are ranting and wrong.
    California state sales tax 7.25 Sedona sales taxes 9.85
    California income over $35,000 is only 6% Arizona is 4.5%
    Tax rate
    Taxable income bracket
    Tax owed
    1%
    $0 to $8,932
    1% of taxable income
    2%
    $8,933 to $21,175
    $89.32 plus 2% of the amount over $8,932
    4%
    $21,176 to $33,421
    $334.18 plus 4% of the amount over $21,175
    6%
    $33,422 to $46,394
    $824.02 plus 6% of the amount over $33,421
    8%
    $46,395 to $58,634
    $1,602.40 plus 8% of the amount over $46,394
    9.3%
    $58,635 to $299,508
    $2,581.60 plus 9.3% of the amount over $58,634
    10.3%
    $299,509 to $359,407
    $24,982.88 plus 10.3% of the amount over $299,508
    11.3%
    $359,408 to $599,012
    $31,152.48 plus 11.3% of the amount over $359,407
    12.3%
    $599,013 or more
    $58,227.85 plus 12.3% of the amount over $599,012
    Keith seem residents of Cali have done well over the last 20 years made money on homes and now using it in retirement… and driving up prices in the west…. Keith if Sedona getting to expensive for you you can try Kingman lots of double wides to rent Nevada even cheeper….. Taxes are the price we pay to live in America, you want to live free

  39. Yvonne says:

    Those double wides you sneer at are now the proven economically smart investment according to Forbes, not your canyon or your motel but the mobile homes, the single and double and triple wides, manufactured homes. Sedona residents in mobile homes YOU RULE.

  40. OVJ says:

    Steve, your figures are old and you compare a city to a state which shows a negative outcome for Sedona. I’ll not bother with the rest of the hogwash. Just sayin.

  41. Jim, west Sedona says:

    Cost of living
    California is 29.3% more expensive than Arizona. If to compare the average cost of living in Phoenix, Arizona, and Los Angeles, California, you will find that CA is far more costlier than AZ. California’s housing cost is 36.8% costlier. The rent price is also way higher.
    californiamoversusa.com › resources
    Pros and cons of moving from California to Arizona – California Movers

  42. Eric says:

    Before long the National Guard will be called to Sedona for security. Makes about as much sense as them still being in DC. Where’s the vaccine Joe & Kamala????????? Send the tourists home until everybody has the vaccine here that wants it or needs it!!!!!

  43. Cottonwood John says:

    Wind and solar don’t work during severe weather systems. Green energy is leaving millions with blackouts because wind farms can’t produce power when temperatures are at freezing or below. Any state that relies more on wind and solar power than the more reliable and cheaper sources like natural gas, fossil fuels, etc. will face electricity shortages always. Fact. Wait until it hits Sedona and everybody moves away.

  44. Pam T. says:

    Sedona pumps waste under the rocks.
    Causes earthquakes , Ecoli buildups.
    Money needs to be saving the rocks

  45. Janet, VOCA says:

    Why Aren’t School Districts Giving Taxpayers Their Money Back? news outlets are beginning to question. The people who deserve a break are the tens of millions of taxpayers who paid for public educational services not rendered. In Naperville, Illinois, the school board announced it would distribute $10 million back to taxpayers this year. Sedona Oak Creek School District, pay out.

  46. Lisa says:

    inspiring brakes being applied to tourism

  47. Pennyroyal says:

    Why are we having all this stupid news about the weather in Texas?! Losing power is not news. Bad and good weather are not news. Sedona gets extreme weather. The rest of the world gets extreme weather. STFU news or put Roker on 24/7 if weather is important. Alaska and Illinois and New York and Canada have weather!! For gods sakes you are such mindless fleas.

  48. Steve SEGNER says:

    Pennyroyal says:Pennyroyal says: Why are we having all this stupid news about the weather in Texas?4,00,000 don’t have power that is why.

    Janet, VOCA says:Why Aren’t School Districts Giving Taxpayers Their Money Back, because they have bond payments, bills to pay and employees on contract MOST TEACHERS ARE WORKING FROM HOME , we already pay them like peasants, $37,000 starting SOME
    AMERICA. GOOD News TODAY RUSH LIMBAUGH DIED!

  49. Pennyroyal says:

    Segner call Napier and tell them your thoughts.

  50. Eugenia, Flagstaff says:

    How is it that reported COVID cases are dropping like a rock while almost nobody has been vaccinated yet? Coconino cancelling shots.

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