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Sedona Council Asked: Your Consequences for Using False Data and Ignoring State Statute?

Sedona AZ (December 14, 2017) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

Subject: ARS 9-511.01 Water and wastewater business; rates; procedures; responsibility for payment

Hello Mayor Moriarty and City Councilors:

Decided during the 11/29/2017 Council Meeting was that sewer rate increases were for six years.

The Assistant City Manager and the Financial Services Director wrote on Page 13 of the Proposed Budget FY 2016-17 about nine years of sewer rate increases via their City Manager’s Office Memo dated April 21, 2016.

The statement I refer to says: “The 2013-2014 rate study, adopted by Council, included an annual 4% increase to all the City’s sewer rates through FY20 with a 3% increase in FY21 through FY23.

As I have written the Council before on a few occasions or more, the annual sewer rate increases were for FOUR YEARS (FY 2015-FY 2018). I was living in Sedona in 2014, I know about the rate increases, and I was opposed to them.

City of Sedona Council Chamber

Please refer to May 27, 2014 Council Mtg Motion:

Motion: After 1st reading, Councilor Ward moved to approve Ordinance No. 2014-06, amending Title 13, Division of the Sedona City Code (Wastewater), and approving the changes in the rates and rate structure all as set forth in the exhibits attached to said ordinance. Seconded by Councilor Litrell. Vote: Motion carried with six (6) in favor and one (1) opposed. Councilor Martinez opposed.

May 27, 2014, ORDINANCE NO. 2014-05 EXHIBIT A: WASTEWATER FEE SCHEDULE 2014-2018, Annual Rate-Based Revenue Increase: 4% FY 14-15, 4% FY 15-16, 4% FY 16-17, 4% FY 17-18.

March 17, 2014, NOTICE OF INTENTION TO INCREASE WASTEWATER RATES OR RATE COMPONENTS, FEES, OR SERVICE CHARGES statement: “Adjustment of wastewater rates for the different customer account billing classifications as set forth in Table 28 of the Report (Attached hereto). These adjustments will be based on an initial cost-of-service adjustment to the current rate for each classification, plus a uniform increase of 4% to all unit rates for the new rates and fees effective in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014-15 on July 1, 2014. Thereafter, these rates and fees will be increased by 4% per year at the beginning of each year on July 1. These annual increases will continue for the next three years through FY 2017-18, as indicated in Table 28 of the Report (attached hereto).”

Former Sedona City Councilman Mike Ward

TABLE 28, RECOMMENDED MONTHLY SERVICE RATES, includes a Retroactive Cost of Service Adjustment for FY 2013-14 (Current Year 1) and an Annual Rate-based Revenue Increase of 4% for FY 14-15, FY 15-16, FY 16-17 and FY 17-18 (Year 2 through Year 5).

January 15, 2014, 2013 WASTEWATER SYSTEM RATE STUDY UPDATE CITY COUNCIL HEARING — JANUARY 15, 2014 DISCUSSION OF DRAFT REPORTS SUMMARY INFORMATION meeting handout (2nd Page): “A.i. Approve the Financial Plan Recommendations for a 4% per year increase in rate-based revenues for FY 2014-15 through FY 2017-18;”

January 15, 2014 Action Minutes: “Council agreed by majority consensus to approve the financial plan recommendations for a 4% per year increase in rate-based revenues for FY 2014-15 through FY 2017-18;”

Former Sedona City Councilwoman Barbara Litrell

January 15, 2014 ACTION ITEM LIST statement of legal actions taken at the Special City Council Meeting: “Council agreed by majority consensus to approve the financial plan recommendations for a 4% per year increase in rate-based revenues for FY 2014-15 through FY 2017-18;”

State statutes establish the public notice and public hearing process.

ARS 9-511.01 requires adoption of a Notice of Intention to Increase Wastewater Rates at a regular Council meeting and setting a date for a Public Hearing not less than 30 days after adoption of the Notice of Intention.

I point this out because I was very shocked and very troubled when I read Cherie Wright’s City Manager’s Office Memo RE: “City Council FY 2019 Budget Retreat” scheduled for tomorrow.

Wasn’t it decided [inaccurately] during the November 29th Council Meeting that the sewer rate increases were 4% for each of six years? WOW, three rate increases of 3% per year are coming down the pike under Wastewater Fund Rates and Subsidies on Page 41 of the 12-14-17 Complete Packet.

Check out Ms. Wright’s note on Page 41. “Note: Rate increases were adopted by Council through FY 2019-20 [NO, they were not]. The remaining rate increases [of 3%] and all of the subsidy percentages are based on recommendations in the 2014 Rate Study approved by Council.”

Page 41 also has a chart that lists five years of unadopted Rate Increases, FY19 through FY23. The major heading of Forecast Assumptions that Wastewater Fund Rates and Subsidies comes under is on Page 36.

As the Council can see from the above bullets these five years of assumed increases were not included in the 2014 public notice and public hearing process required by ARS 9-511.01. Obviously, the Council approved the 2014 Rate Study, however, NOT all so-called recommendations.

Since when is the City Financial Services’ Director incestuously involved (my opinion) with annual WW rate increases? And didn’t I hear stated during the November 29th Council Meeting that the Wastewater Fund Long-Range Forecast was accurate? This is not something I would buy.

In my opinion, the City is out of control and running amok and City management is doing nothing.

Why shouldn’t there be real consequences for using false data in annual budget proposals and budget forecasts, ignoring a state statute, misleading people and betraying the public trust?

Sincerely,

Jean Jenks
Sedona, AZ

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10 Comments

  1. Barraca Casa Grande says:

    Always interesting in the wild badlands up north. Crazy hombres there. Enjoyed a visit 2 years back driving to Williams with grandkids, drove to Bell Rock , walked round before heading back to freeway. Cold in winter not fun and will stay down here.

  2. Larry Sedona says:

    Silence is defining people, remember that when elections roll around because history teaches us corrupt people stay silent.

  3. Tony T says:

    We obviously need new people on the majority of the city council. The state won’t help. I’ve tried.

    We can change things for the better.

  4. Linda Bally says:

    to say that age or experience gives others the right to step on the beliefs and emotions of others is incorrect, and to accept w/o question the actions of governing officials is childish

  5. @tony T says:

    Tony what do you mean when you say” the state won’t help”?

    Is it because nothing illegal is going on.?

    Is it because they share an idea that is different then yours and you don’t like it?
    You’ve been spouting your crusade agaisnt …,,.well let’s see ..

    Sedona government
    Sedona Fire
    Sedona police
    Tourists
    The chamber of commerce
    Traffic
    Cell phones
    Wi fi
    Cell towers
    Sedona employees
    Home rule

    Come on man…..what else do you Dislike

    Seems to me the problem lies within you…fault finding is a practice in negativity

  6. Two types of people says:

    Two types of people live in Sedona. It’s a great place to visit, during the week, when it’s not a holiday – traffic issues, you know.

    The first – those who move there and leave 5-8 years later, thoroughly disgusted.

    The second – those who move there and hate it, but just moan, groan and complain, until they die, doing everything they can in the meanwhile, to keep everyone else, as miserable as the are. And it continues like this, for generations.

  7. Another @TonyT says:

    You say from above: “We obviously need new people on the majority of the city council. The state won’t help. I’ve tried.”
    Wow, talk about speaking volumes. So the State won’t help, you’ve tried. Yes you did and it got you no where. Because the State Attorney General thought you were loopy. Why don’t you just say that YOU think we need new people not WE. I would appreciate you NOT speaking for me because I consider myself to be among the WE.

    Until I read the comments from the other @TonyT I never put 2 and 2 together but now that I saw the long list of things that Tony T hates:

    Sedona government
    Sedona Fire
    Sedona police
    Tourists
    The chamber of commerce
    Traffic
    Cell phones
    Wi fi
    Cell towers
    Sedona employees
    Home rule

    it all makes sense. For someone to have that much hate in his body he should really consider going someplace that he feels has less stress.

  8. @Two types of people says:

    You forgot the most important one. Those that take from the city government for their private enterprise.

    The Population Factor for Sedona is very low = 1.4546. That is because there is NO room for anyone but the takers.

    Cottonwood rate is 2.7974
    Gilbert’s rate is 56.4544
    A good comparison is Sedona vs Gilbert
    In 1978 Sedona had 7,050 population Gilbert 4,250
    Now Gilbert is 239,931 and Seedona is 10,255

    Looking at the Quality Seedona doesn’t have much to offer, nor do they like anyone but the cronies stealing taxpayers money IMO

  9. @Two types of people says:

    You left out the third type.

    #3 – those who move to Sedona knowing it’s a scenic, small town, but once here want to change it to the big city they moved away from. Why aren’t THEY the ones to leave? Go figure.

  10. Anonymous says:

    @@two types of people

    The 3rd type are trying to increase Arizona’s contribution to the federal reserve.
    Since AZ uses more tax money from other states then it contributes.. there tired of being “takers” like the complainers here on SE.

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