- Why did you decide to run for Sedona City Council?
- I have always had a desire to “give back” to my community. On Long Island, I was a civic leader for 18 years where I fostered projects for the betterment of my community through partnerships with our elected officials. When I moved to Sedona, I participated in the first Citizens Academy and learned to appreciate how local Arizona governments are “open and transparent”, so unlike any government in New York.
- Why do you feel you're qualified for the job?
- After completing the City of Sedona Citizens Academy, I applied for and was accepted to serve on the Sedona Personnel Board and then soon after, the Planning & Zoning Commission. For the past 3 years, I have attended almost every City Council meeting and try to appreciate almost every aspect of our government. In 2012, I was elected to the Governing Board of the Sedona Fire District where I am very proud of the fact that I worked with the other Board members to support the much needed Fire Station #6 on State Route 179, coming in $50,000 under budget.Between my background as a civic leader in New York and my proven dedication here in Sedona, I feel that I can contribute to City Council in a positive way.
- What makes Sedona a special place for its residents?
- Most people would respond the amazing red rocks, and I agree with them, but I see many other attributes:
For instance, coming from a large town on Long Island, I appreciate all that Sedona has to offer such as the peace and tranquility of a small town and our clean and safe environment.
Because so many people in Sedona are “transplants” from other parts of the country, they bring different views and opinions which make for a diverse and interesting community. I think that by listening to and utilizing those opinions, together wewill make our city stronger and better for all.
- What are the three biggest issues facing Sedona today?
- Economic Development – Because Sedona’s general revenue is greatly dependent upon the City’s tourism industry, business recruitment, retention and expansion is an extremely important consideration, as I am not in favor of a property tax to support the general fund. Additionally, when addressing the business sector, the City must look at businesses that not only support tourism but the residents as well. The City should also work in cooperation with regional economic development efforts.
- Smart Development – with 3 potential new major hotels being proposed, a large chain pharmacy and other major projects on the horizon, it’s obvious that Sedona is once again becoming a desirable place fordevelopment. We need to start planning ahead so all of the projects can be tied together and enhance the community. All potential projects need to be the right fit for Sedona, provide needed benefitsfor our residents andvisitors. It is also important to encourage more efficient development patterns that allow for a wider variety of economic opportunity, better managed circulation,protection of limited resources and the preservation of the natural environment, thereby sustaining Sedona.
- Traffic – Anyone who lives or works in Sedona or visits our community knows that circulation is a critical issue. For a detailed summary of my thoughts, see the following question regarding “Traffic”.
- Traffic is one of the major complaints of both residents and tourists. Is there a solution?
- Having a solution, affording a solution and accepting a solution are all different discussions. At a Planning and Zoning Commission hearing on 7/1 we discussed recommending that City Council commission a vehicular/pedestrian circulation study of the entire city. The last study was conducted in 1996 (before the reconstruction of State Route 179) with some of the suggestions implemented and some not. As a city, we all can bounce different ideas around but, having a currentprofessional study completed based on current conditions and projections is the only way to really know possible solutions. At that time we’ll be able to assess the feasibility of those recommendations, including the costs involved to implement each recommendation. We then must decide if those recommendations fit the needs of our residents and businesses prioritize each recommendation and identify funding resources necessary to begin to implement them.
- If elected, do you have any pet projects or issues you'd like to see addressed by council?
- I really don’t have any personal “pet projects” of my own. I hope that at the end of my 4 year term on Council, I am able to work cooperatively with others to implement positive change. I look forward to my time on Council to serve as your representative and not as a way to move my personal agendas forward.
During my campaigning,while speaking with residents seeking their future vision of our city, someone suggested making a venue of the 200 available acres by the waste water treatment plant. That was an interesting thought. With a small investment for water & electric hookups and some landscaping we could have a fantastic outdoor event area. We could possibly rent the property to event planners forBluegrass & Jazz festivals,Music on the rocks, summer evening movies (old black & white westerns), equestrian events, hot air balloon festivals, Canine agility shows, night sky events, etc. The possibilities are endless because sound won’t be an issue as no one lives nearby to be bothered.
- Because of the ongoing sound/noise issues, musicians and patrons are often going to other communities for entertainment, thus the city loses those tax dollars. What can be done to prevent that from happening?
- We should be doing all that we can to keep our patrons in Sedona. I know that our Asst. City Manager has just begun working on a project with the property owner of the Old Market Place on ways to improve their outdoor area for better noise control.
- How do you balance an increase in tourism while providing a lifestyle residents want?
- The ideas provided by the Lodging Council to attract tourists during off months and week days is a good start. I enjoy the fact that every time a tourist spends money buying something in Sedona, they are helping to support our taxing system which avoids a chance of having us having a property tax.
- Should the city seek additional revenue sources? If so, any suggestions?
- Of course we should. I know that Yavapai collects millions of dollars in sales and property tax each year. In addition to offering many county services in Cottonwood, they also provide special projects within the city. I know that with the future repaving of Airport Road, the County will be paying ½ of the expense. In Coconino, they receive 2.2 million in sales tax and $600k in property tax. They offer county services in Flagstaff with no special funding for Sedona in recent memory. In a recent conversation that I had with Matt Ryan our County Supervisor, he was open to discussions about future special projects with Sedona.
Our newly adopted budget allows for the hire of a professional grant writer. This person, when hired, could be tasked with finding grant money that we never had access to in the past as supplemental funding sources for various projects.
This interview also ran in the Sedona Red Rock News.