Efficiency and results the Sedona way

August 3, 2018


Mountain panorama in Sedona, Arizona

Now that we know more about how baseless last week’s misinformation campaign against the City and Chamber truly is, it’s time to refocus on the real Sedona: people, businesses and municipal government working together every day, helping those in need and making Sedona better. We are fortunate to have the resources and flexibility to live these values.

Mainly by tapping tourism-driven sales tax dollars, the City of Sedona will contribute more than $1 million in FY19 to help agencies provide food to the hungry, shelter lost animals, transport those unable to get around on their own, and offer recycling and library services that benefit everyone. Incredibly – and cost-effectively – these services are provided by Sedona’s excellent nonprofits rather than by city departments.

Community supports nonprofits providing food, transportation, recycling, animal services

In just-ended FY18, City support to nonprofits included:

• $170,000 to help the Sedona Community Center provide thousands of meals for hundreds of needy Sedonans. The nonprofit Sedona Community Center is practically unique. In most places, Community Centers are part of city government.
• $35,000 to Verde Valley Caregivers to provide 6,900 trips for 439 Sedona seniors and adults with disabilities, 83 percent of whom live alone and depend on the Caregivers for transportation.
• $50,000 to the Sedona Humane Society to care for 160 stray pets in need.
• $432,000 to fund the Sedona Public Library, 36 percent of the total budget, also financed by Coconino and Yavapai counties. The library sees 174,204 visits per year.
• $83,000 to Sedona Recycles to operate a multi-stream recycling center and four additional 24/7 drop off locations. Sedona Recycles is a fantastic environmental resource, and another service usually provided by city departments elsewhere.
• $161, 500 disbursed in 17 grants to provide social services and support community events.

All of these nonprofits rely on fundraising and other revenue, but City support is critical to their survival. In FY19, the Council voted to increase funding to each of them.

Tourist taxes support nonprofit services

Sedona can support these agencies because tourism generates about two-thirds of the sales taxes in the City’s General Fund. Other cities our size doesn’t have these resources. Their presence means Sedona does not have to fund new departments and hire new employees to do the work. As a Home Rule city, our elected representatives decide each year whether to continue public support and at what levels.

Efficiency, compassion, local control, and results. That’s been the Sedona way for decades.

Without Home Rule, our unique system will certainly collapse. NO on Home Rule means the state slashes our budget to less than 50 percent of today’s levels, necessitating drastic cuts. Although we will still collect sales tax revenues, NO means we will not be allowed to use it.

Plans for traffic improvements and managing tourism in ways that protect our community character and economy will also be wiped out.

A YES on Home Rule means preserving what is good and unique about Sedona while moving forward on traffic and tourism management.

Let’s keep our ability to govern ourselves efficiently and successfully. Vote YES on Home Rule.

–Jennifer Wesselhoff

Listen to what Jennifer Wesselhoff says about the City of Sedona on Non-Profit Funding: