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The sound of numbers crunching echoes throughout the state and reverberates off the red rocks as government agencies prepare their budgets for the next fiscal year.

Locally, the Sedona Fire District and city of Sedona held budget workshops in April and continue to revise their draft budgets prior to approval, both expected in June.

Sedona Red Rock News Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittie

Property tax funds the fire district, and the city relies on sales tax, which does not include a tax on groceries.

The city’s tentative fiscal year 2012-13 budget is approximately $2 million more than last year but surprisingly includes a decrease in funding for the entity tasked with bringing people to Sedona to buy things.

A large portion of sales tax generated within the city comes from tourism-based spending — souvenirs, hotels, restaurants.

The Sedona Chamber of Commerce works diligently all year to make sure more people visit, yet it can expect to receive $100,000 less in city support next year just as it rolls out its new promotional campaign.

In fiscal year 2011-12, the city gave the chamber $600,000. According to the city, $100,000 of the funding was listed as a one-time payment and not intended to be ongoing funding.

So, this year a committee made up of two Sedona City Council members and two Budget Steering Committee members decided not to give the chamber the additional $100,000.

If the city lowered its budget from the previous year, was faced with drastically decreasing revenues or didn’t feel the chamber really helped bring more people to Sedona, then I might somewhat understand.

However, the actual situation is the opposite.

The FY 2012-13 budget is anticipated to be higher than the FY 2001-12 budget, state-shared sales tax will likely be larger this year, and chamber staff busted its rear this year.

The chamber put together a new promotional campaign with help from volunteers and local businesses aimed at four different demographics, not to mention it purchased and hosted the Sedona Marathon.

New promotional materials won’t do much good if the chamber doesn’t have the money to place them, and runners won’t come to the marathon if it’s not the premiere event they would expect from Sedona.

By not giving the chamber the tools to do its job, the city is essentially hurting itself. When fewer people visit Sedona, it means fewer tax dollars for city services.

We need to recognize what feeds our local economy.

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  • TM

    Why in the world would the city of Sedona give the chamber of commerce any money at all? The chamber represents the businesses in the city. The businesses choose to be in the city, and the taxes they collect are for the city. The taxes are used for public services and projects, not to be given back to the businesses. If the businesses don't like it, they can move out. There are plenty of other businesses ready to take their places.<br /><br />In addition, many of the public services projects benefit the businesses already. Spend more money here and give less away.

  • Fair Capitalism

    I agree with the other poster 100%. Money from the City to the Chamber is gov't subsidized business. Whatever happened to sink or swim? The Chamber gets fees from it members to do it's job. We have plenty of visitors, numbers are up, traffic is up but they don't need to spend money because looking at rocks is free. Is our city really better off than it was in the 90's? I don't think so. Our quality of life is down. A lot of people won't come back here because of the traffic jams and noise. Sedona is no longer quaint, it is a schlocky, over commercialized tourist town. Maybe people realize they can come here and enjoy the beauty of the land and don't need to CONSUME stuff? Business is booming at Safeway and McDonald's! Are they Chamber members?

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