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Sedona City Council capped the budget for Fiscal Year 2007-08 at $60,597,694 on May 22.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

Sedona City Council capped the budget for Fiscal Year 2007-08 at $60,597,694 on May 22.

Council went back and forth between the final cap and a lower cap that excluded money originally set aside for West Sedona School.

“The school system is a separate entity,” Councilman Rob Adams said. “Why should we be contributing to its capital fund?”

Sedona-Oak Creek School District’s capital fund, Mayor Pud Colquitt pointed out, is larger than the city’s capital fund.

Council tentatively set aside $23,200 earlier in May for West Sedona School to buy new computers and other technology equipment.

Council first removed the funding from the budget and then put it back in after Councilman Ramon Gomez asked to have the item reconsidered at the end of council’s regular meeting.

Since council members said they planned to allocate funds for WSS, members have received negative feedback from the community.

“I have had no positive [feedback] whatsoever,” Colquitt said.

Councilwoman Nancy Scagnelli, who originally opposed giving the money to WSS, said she thought the decision would anger other schools.

“When you give to one school, it starts this whole thing in motion,” Scagnelli said.

Councilman John Bradshaw, a strong supporter of city aid to the school district, said he agreed singling out one school was a bad idea but feels the funding is important.

“I feel like this is one small thing we can do for our school district,” Bradshaw said.

Gomez said students, while too young to vote, are residents of Sedona and council needs to recognize their needs as well.

A motion to keep the funding for WSS this year and make it available for other schools next year failed 3-4. Adams, Colquitt, Scagnelli and Vice Mayor Jerry Frey voted against the motion.

Council then approved the lower-capped budget 5-2 with Frey and Bradshaw voting against it.

When council reconsidered the budget cap at the end of the meeting, school funding was discussed again.

A proposal to put the $23,200 back in the budget, but give it to the school district rather than WSS specifically, passed 4-3. Colquitt, Frey and Adams voted against the motion. The budget cap then went back up to $60,597,694.

Council will work out the details of the funding at a later date.

Other tentative budget highlights include:

n General fund budget increased by only 1.2 percent, which City Manger Eric Levitt told council is a very good rate of increase.

n Levitt projected a $700,000 decrease in local sales and bed taxes as a result of the Hwy. 179 Improvement Project.

n Sedona RoadRunner funding of $250,000 was put back into the capital fund after Levitt told council federal funding could be lost without it.

n The City Manager’s Office is still looking into additional funding options to pay for capital projects not currently included in the budget.

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