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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.

195 Comments

  1. Debbie, Uptown says:

    Where’s the historical society in all this? They shouldn’t be allowing this because it impacts our museum and Jordan Park character in negative ways.

  2. @Morris T. says:

    Do I understand you correctly? Are you saying a multi-storied parking structure upholds the “small town character” as expressed in Sedona’s Vision Statement in the asinine Community Plan document? WOW what am I missing?

  3. Sedona Peon aka Resident says:

    The Sedona Community Plan? What a joke and waste of time. Haven’t you ever heard of “amendments?” Hasn’t that become the catch-all phrase? One little word that’s soooo overused it’s laughable NOT! But the residents sit back and let it happen. In the meantime the many who purchased Sedona property as vacation rentals just rake in their money and laugh all the way to the bank. Thanks Gov. Ducey = NOT!

  4. John Daniels W Sedona says:

    I think that it’s a great idea! It would get the cars off of the residential streets.

    It’s my understanding that the city is just buying the land now. But with the current financial situation, the empty lot can sit for years to come or sold. But you cast of characters never look to a positive future you only like to talk trash.

  5. No Mystery in Sedona says:

    One thing we of which we can be certain is it won’t be a matter of to buy or not to buy when it comes to City of Sedona making a decision about paying a high price for future promotion of “return to Sedona” or some such nonsense. Little doubt in my mind negotiations are currently underway behind closed doors with Chamber CEO and the vocal spokesperson on behalf of the Lodging Council. All prearranged set up, Folks. So much for transparency. Any bets that this ain’t happening?

  6. steve Segner says:

    Do I understand you correctly? Are you saying a multi-storied parking structure upholds the “small-town character”

    See the word character” We are not a small town and even small towns have parking structures. Character means it should be built to fit in with the area as much as possible. Buying the land with money put aside for parking was a good idea, land banking is a good idea, The city paid a fair price and did not need to go through the expense of condemnation and the owner get a fair deal.

  7. @John Daniels W Sedona says:

    You people can only think of ways to get paid by the taxpayers. Tax and spend.

  8. John Daniels W Sedona says:

    To the anonymous person above who wrote:

    “You people can only think of ways to get paid by the taxpayers. Tax and spend.”

    Can you please explain what you mean by “you people”?

  9. Fred S says:

    Why doesn’t the comment made by the @John Daniels W Sedona come as a surprise? That same person speaks of the same old same old remarks from those who object to what? Whatever KD oops JD supports. Really quite obvious it’s the biased and convoluted relationship with that disgusting local chamber.

    Shouldn’t that situation be a disgrace to CofC’s in other locations where they don’t sink to such lows? So let them invest in the property now when the city staff/council have NO IDEA what sales tax revenue will be when this virus is over? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING!? Raiding parking meters for revenue? Whose idiotic idea was that?!

    Just keep enough coming in to sustain that $12K monthly salary to the chamber CEO?! No one is naïve enough to believe chamber members finance that kind of salary, c’mon!! but there’s a bridge at Red Rock Crossing for sale for our town idiots, too. Get real!

    If chamber members pay dues anywhere close to that kind of money, then why the hell do they need $2.5 mil annually from the City? Maybe time to switch roles? How about the Chamber funding the City when it becomes crystal clear the tax revenue just ain’t nowhere to be found?

  10. Wise Words says:

    “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” —Thomas Jefferson (1816)

  11. Won't take it anymore says:

    We will never thank you for handing us back the bread you stole from us. They are not your magic God Pills. They are simply second rate Viagra bought from a liquor store in a now-destitute Mexican resort town. You made beautiful Sedona a tourist trap. Time for you to go.

  12. Bingo! says:

    @Wise Words Thomas Jefferson quote (1816)

    So many years ago and the vultures continue to soar – waiting to swoop down and pick the bones of disaster. AKA – Sedona Chamber/Lodging Council/Sedona City Hall. Amen but definitely no hallelujah.

  13. Steve segner says:

    Fred s you don’t know what you’re talking about Jennifer has been a meeting after meeting after meeting talking to state officials working with our Congressman talking to various groups she’s worked harder than anybody in this town and she should be making a whole lot more than 12,000 a month you don’t know what you’re talking about you’ve never done anything in this town and you don’t know what’s going on so shut up Why do you disparage people that you’ve never known or work with and why do we know about Fred ass except you won’t use a real name

  14. @ Steve segner says:

    “she’s worked harder than anybody in this town”

    Hilarious as usual.

    Talking to people is not “work.” I hold the shelf stockers at the stores I patronize in much higher esteem. They are doing real work and providing a real service (and probably not getting paid much, certainly nowhere near what Jennifer gets for talking).

  15. @Steve segner says:

    jennifer is not a volunteer (deleted by editor) the taxes imposed on IN-CITY without the voice or vote of the the people WHO pay (deleted by editor). IMO RETURN the funds 100%

    Stop the crap steve. complete bs No city funds a PRIVATE corporation with CITY IMPOSED taxes without the voice, checks and balances for their EXCLUSIVE USE!! Your members should PAY their own bills IMO.

  16. @Steve segner says:

    You and Jennifer have been enriched by the “flatlanders” of Sedona IMO.

    Gotten rich off of the sweat and tears of the worker bees. They work weekends and holidays without the privileges of family time while Jennifer goes on vacation.

    The two of you whine and claim you deserve it. Sickening self serving garbage IMO.

  17. Larry W. says:

    How funny @Steve segner – pleading the case for “Jennifer.” Sounds typical. Maybe what she’s best know for would be her performance at a council meeting a few years ago.

    When asked by a council member (NOT “councilors” as a former City Manager dubbed them) – when asked how many chamber members were outside Sedona City Limits, poor Jen, in a whiny little voice, pleaded that it was too difficult to figure that out.

    And that sent her on the way to her present $12,000/mo job! The innocent “poor me” scene worked then and continues to this day IMO. Go figure.

  18. Mike H says:

    I think the Greater Sedona Chamber and Tourist Bureau should receive the same amount the vast majority of other cities give their chamber. NOTHING !!

    Then she will really have to work. (Deleted by editor)

  19. steve Segner says:

    April 8, 2020 at 10:00 am
    Mike H says:
    April 8, 2020 at 10:00 am
    I think the Greater Sedona Chamber and Tourist Bureau should receive the same amount the vast majority of other cities give their chamber. NOTHING !!
    NOTHING !! $101.5M is not nothing

    Las Vegas tourism board approves $101.5M advertising budget.

    √Scottsdale Funding.9,720,580 Our primary funding comes from bed-tax revenue collected by Scottsdale resorts and hotels and passed along to the City of Scottsdale. … The remaining bed-tax revenue is used for tourism-related capital projects, special events and more by the City of Scottsdale.
    hope that helps
    Mike H so other cities get bed tax money so according to your comment Sedona can.

  20. @steve Segner says:

    Funding a State Tourism board is not the same a funding a regional chamber of commerce.

    Gawd you never give up on the lies.

  21. Donna says:

    Please stop SPREADING FAKE FACTS. The LVCVA is a governmental agency. It was established by a state law, is funded by a county room tax and is governed by an autonomous board of directors.

    https://www.lvcva.com/who-we-are/mission-and-purpose/

    Don’t compare your fake group for a GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY

    Sedona has NO TRANSIENT BED DISTRICT.

    Stop FUNDING the regional Sedona chamber. They use the taxes imposed on in-city for their regional-members without a legal vote of tax-imposed businesses.

  22. Robert D. says:

    Comparing Las Vegas, Scottsdale, Flagstaff, or any other city approving an advertising budget is NOT the same as contracting with a member driven amateur community “chamber of commerce” to tackle the task. A “tourism bureau?” Does Arizona State Bureau of Tourism require membership for recognition? Of course NOT!

    The C of C turned around and had to pay big bucks to a professional advertising agency down in the valley to perform on their behalf. So why didn’t the City of Sedona cut the crap and do away with the unnecessary “middle-man” – ooh – reminds me. Didn’t “pimps” once procure business for “ladies of the night?”

    Really – is there a difference? Just asking.

  23. Earl says:

    This needs to be read again it’s from 4/1 , WTF!!!!!!

    @Iditarod Musher says:
    April 1, 2020 at 9:33 pm
    It’s an engineered virus. Why would this virus devastate the Japanese and Africa and Europe and Asia and even Australia and Antartica and South America and Middle East but not China and Russia? Both of those countries say they have very little impact considering the virus is ravaging other places around the globe, yet the China that engineered the virus in a Wuhan laboratory and Russia its close neighbor with billions of people between them, how is it that all the rest of us are susceptible and not them? It’s either a lie and they are or it is not and they aren’t. Which is it for you?
    You still worried about climate change and population control? LMAO Joe won’t be up from the basement for awhile.

  24. Diane, CV says:

    Phoenix TV holds a rotating seat in the White House Press briefings. The Hoover Institution said the Phoenix TV is linked to the People’s Republic of China’s “Ministry of State Security” and has a “substantial presence on all major social media platforms in the United States.” -via NY

  25. Carl, Job Op in Vegas says:

    https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/lvcva/jobs/2720376/chief-marketing-officer?pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs

    Go look at this because Sedona’s getting ripped off, by false pretense and a city hall and chamber without voter oversight. The Chamber businesses are tied into China for their success and our business failures don’t matter to them. Can you understand their decision to keep bringing tourists to the area even with if they have the virus? The Chamber isn’t affected by our deaths, the Lodging Council isn’t affected by our deaths or business failures, the tax goes on. The Sedona chamber appears to consider themselves essential workers and above the law that other similar businesses adhere to in Arizona? No other Chambers of Commerce are essential. Send them home, put them on PPE like everyone else who isn’t essential. Close down marketing. It’s literally killing Sedona.

  26. JD, West Sedona says:

    @Carl, Job Op in Vegas – the problem is it’s the Sedona City Council that allows and authorizes all that power and control to a regional member-driven organization.

    But worse yet, it’s Sedona voters who elect the Mayor and City Council Members!

    To change or not to change? It’s up to registered voters to make it happen. Right?

  27. Mike Campbell says:

    The profoundly negative impact of a hyperspecialized economy that is suddenly disrupted. In this case, the specialization is tourism, but there are other examples, many driven by hyper-globalizationin essence, the modern-day equivalent of a monoculture plantation or single-industry factory town.

    When the plantation or factory closes, there’s no economically diverse ecosystem to pick up the slack.

    If tourism doesn’t rebound very quickly, all the local economies that became hyperspecialized to serve global tourism (enabled by low-cost airfares and credit cards) will be gutted.

    You can see by all the retail that was empty in Sedona prior to Corona. Now those that helped destroy the diversity of our once lovely home get payback.

    Karma wins again.

  28. steve Segner says:

    √Can you understand their decision to keep bringing tourists to the area even with if they have the virus? The Chamber isn’t affected by our deaths,
    sorry you are wrong the chamber and the mayor went on Phoenix tv and said do not come to Sedona, they also made a video to post on web sites daying do not come to Sedona.

    Carl, Job Op in Vegas says:The Sedona chamber appears to consider themselves essential workers and above the law, that other similar businesses adhere to in Arizona? No other Chambers of Commerce are essential. Send them home, Carl all chamber employees are working from home? what are you talking about? Carl no marketing is going on all marketing is on hold till the governor says it is ok then stand back because 10,000 in Sedona need to get back to work.

  29. Hope This Helps says:

    Steve segner says:
    April 7, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    “Jennifer has been a meeting after meeting after meeting talking to state officials working with our Congressman talking to various groups”

    And yet by her own admission she only speaks on behalf of members of the chamber of commerce and ignores non-member Sedona businesses who collect sales and bed taxes on behalf of incorporated Sedona.

    Do you suppose she shares that rather vital information with her Congressional buddies and other “various groups”?

    Senator Allen and all State representatives, are you paying attention?

    Hope this helps.

  30. Steve segner says:

    All the information Chamber of Commerce has is on it’s the chamber website for members and nonmembers if you don’t want to be a member that’s fine but you can still get all the information Hope that helps Try to remember the chamber is not funded by the city chamber is a contractor for the city it’s members when you organization decide on pay and its budget

  31. spell/check/irrelevant/hippie/SEGNER says:

    Once again, seggie, for the love of all unspoken insane atheists, PLEASE run yo comments past yo typesetter.

  32. Area Residents says:

    As a “non-profit” organization how can this be that “the city chamber is a contractor for the city?” For a non-profit to receive $2.5 million for alleged marketing, and now recently to teach residents how to be sustainable, it seems to do very well financially to pay the chamber CEO $12k monthly salary plus benefits. Who pays for all her visits to the State Legislators to lobby for the chamber?

    Nope stinks even more than the wastewater treatment plant IMO.

  33. Donna says:

    The cast of characters being enriched are the root cause.City council enables and endorses it.

    This is why Sedona has the special interests controlling Sedona. Who would in their right mind give millions of taxes imposed on in-city annually to a regional-membership-club aka chamber? Can the in-city sustain this?

    Promoting those that are outside the city limits in the millions for years is simply NOT DONE. It creates an unlevel playing field. Who in their right mind would promote competition outside their jurisdiction?

    While we all read and hear how the Chamber is entitled, they are a regional-membership-association. Not a city, not a transient-bed-district. Those benefiting continuously spur false information, hate and discriminate against anyone who won’t go along. While the taxpayers pay for this.

    Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity (CAPI)
    “small municipalities makes them susceptible to corruption, because their small size and workforce do not allow for the kind of oversight and enforcement mechanisms that larger cities, state governments, and the federal government can employ.”

    https://www.law.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/microsites/public-integrity/files/fighting_small_town_corruption_-_capi_practitioner_toolkit_-_october_2016_1.pdf

    Research finds that NO CITY funds a third party membership corporation chamber 2 to 2.5 millions a year.
    No vote from those imposed taxes in city taxes.
    No transients bed district.
    No transparency.
    No city buys a building for a third party membership with a cause that they “may” transfer the deed back to the city.

    Can Sedona, the small businesses and residents survive this policy?

    Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity (CAPI)

    “While economic arguments may be the most convincing, efficacy of government is another reason to institute proper oversight. Moreover, corruption or the perception of a corrupt government will undermine its legitimacy with constituents, leading to less citizen involvement. While the political will to address reforms often is highest after a scandal emerges, cities can and should try to avoid the costly effects of such scandals by addressing reforms ahead of time.”

  34. Anonymous says:

    Thanks donna
    Snooze

  35. @Jim Poole says:

    Why is Sedona City Council moving forward with their spend, spend, spend attitude? BECAUSE THEY CAN!

    The only ones they listen to is the (low-life my opinion) at the chamber of commerce and lodging council who seem to have a direct line to city managers and their recommendations.

    For them to even have considered purchasing the Forest Road property or anything else at this time is insane. All certifiable again IMO! Hey maybe the chamber will sell back the property they own on Jordan Road, purchased with Sedona city revenue? Such a deal and one that might make sense to THEM but no one else.

  36. steve Segner says:

    Jim Poole says: Why is Sedona City council moving forward with (no care )in the world while most cities are taking action?
    Please explain your comment, the city of Sedona is working on a budget and it will be voted on in public on or before June 1. The city will be looking at reducing cost and increasing income to come up with a {balanced budget} for 2020 /2021 that is their job and it is open for the public to see.
    Jim please tell us how you gained you inside knowledge that the city management has “NO Care” as state it, please.

  37. james utlock says:

    @ Donna, I agree 100%. This tiny town likes to compare itself to San Diego, Scottsdale, and Los Vegas. Then we have an illiterate IMO, SS along with JW running the town. It so easy for the vultures to take the tax payers money in a tiny town. There are no safeguards or oversight. Write the representatives and beg them to legislate change.

  38. Covidiots says:

    That’s right, the Sedona city manager and city council just keep chugging along. Nothing to see here, folks, just a little virus. Let’s go ahead and spend $100,000 more than the assessed value of some land to build an unnecessary parking garage in Uptown! Reduce salaries? Us?

    Governor Ducey’s budget director, Matt Gress, tells the Arizona Republic this: “The stay at home, stay healthy, stay connected executive order has definitely changed the economic landscape here in Arizona. Businesses are closed. We expect tax collections to be much lower when we get that data at the end of April.” Gress’s office expects the pandemic to affect state finances through at least June 2021.

    Other cities in Arizona are freezing salaries and making budget cuts. The Mayo Clinic is furloughing employees. But God forbid anyone working for the city of Sedona might have to lose some of their phone or car allowance.

    Their silence is deafening.

  39. Sally says:

    Speaking of taking and spending money for more tourism, am I the only one who thinks that fence in the middle of Uptown looks bush league and ugly?

  40. Marty Sedona says:

    Prediction: At some point in time the Chamber of Commerce will offer to sell the property on Jordan Road (purchased with city revenue) back to the City of Sedona.

    Another “to buy or not to buy?” Little doubt in my feeble mind the city would jump at the chance to buy property purchased by a “non-profit” with city taxes!

    You just can’t make this stuff up! OMG!!

  41. @steve Segner says:

    hehe….. Snooze….haha…….Snooze….. You are extremely boring IMO. Very dry

  42. @Anonymous 4.10 10.32 AM says:

    If you took time to check out the web sites offered by “Donna” you might learn something. That goes for Sedona city employees as well as the mayor and council members. Control by the “chamber” and their affinity colleagues with the “lodging council” should never have happened and needs to be STOPPED!!

    You all think you’re above reproach. Well how about your lack of control over the disastrous virus presently destroying human lives? If you even consider retaining “chamber/lodging” folks to enter into restoration of global ruination, then all of you (IMO) deserve to suffer with the disease.

    Yes, I’m pissed!

  43. Ruined uptown says:

    A typical government project. Too much money spent and has to be redone 3 times. They took all the charm and character out of uptown. It’s really sad as you won’t get it back.

  44. Marge, Sedona says:

    If you think uptown is ruined now, just wait until they build a multi level parking structure after they purchase the property across from the fire station. And then comes the extension of Forest Road switchbacks to connect with W89 to West Sedona and Cottonwood. Lord have mercy and hold onto your hats. Ya’ll ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

    Question of the day? What’s to be admired by leaders who continue to trash Sedona and completely destroy the integrity of the Community Plan? Amending it is NO justification period.

  45. Morris T says:

    Sally, I agree the new “improvement” of a fence in Uptown is not an improvement at all. It looks like someone took a fancy fence out of their front courtyard and plunked it down in the middle of the street. Oh boy. Whoever thought this would be an improvement thought wrong. It is not attractive and looks out of place.

    Like so many, I continue to be disappointed (at the least), or angry, about what the “leadership” of the city decides is in our best interest. While only catering to the interests of the hotel operators and tourist operators.

    I have lived in Arizona for more than 35 years and remember when Sedona got by just fine with limited and manageable tourism, before the chamber “tourism bureau” began outsourcing million dollar advertising programs to advertising agencies in Phoenix and the city began catering to the tourism and hotel operators who are mostly not local. Even though they keep telling that lie.

    So many other small communities in the United States have figured out how to do it right. But the Sedona city council just keeps doing the same thing over and over and over, and won’t change.

  46. Ollie M. Greer says:

    To buy or not to buy? Based on potential loss of tax revenue because of coronavirus that should be an easy one to answer. How can they possibly continue to consider purchasing the property on Forest Road? To obtain money from residents (special improvement district as an example) would involve approval of voters. Good luck with that one. The only chance for change will be new faces on the city council. Out with the old and in with new means ALL of them. It might even offer the opportunity for a change in staff at city hall. A win win is possible but it will take voting residents to pull it off.

  47. Reminder says:

    To those at home during this crisis please consider watching the city council meeting this Tuesday, April 14, 4:30; Channel 4 or check Sedona City Web site for online information relating to streaming. Opportunity knocks to witness first hand what will be decided for the future of Sedona residents and the controlling tourism monopoly.

  48. Morris T says:

    Ollie, you are on to something with a special district, but that district can involve only the tourism businesses. If they want something as a tourist improvement, let them pay for it themselves. In Phoenix, Tempe and other cities, the businesses form a “business improvement district” so they are not a burden on residents. Unfortunately, the Sedona city manager and city council are too inexperienced and ignorant to investigate other options. Or too lazy. Or jaded. Or contemptuous of the residents who don’t bother to vote.

  49. steve Segner says:

    Reminder says: Opportunity knocks to witness first hand what will be decided for the future of Sedona residents and the controlling tourism monopoly.
    Agenda below: You people are so out of the loop.
    AB 2571 Discussion/possible direction regarding issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the City’s response.
    b. Reports/discussion regarding Council assignments.
    c. Discussion/possible action regarding future meeting/agenda items.

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