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The city’s commissions and committees were left virtually unscathed after Sedona City Council poked and prodded Tuesday, July 28, while disbanding two task forces.

After hearing from each of the seven volunteer groups on their goals, how their goals fit council priorities, how often they meet and how much staff time they consume, council agreed to disband the Creekwalk Task Force and the Youth Task Force.

Both task forces fall under Parks & Recreation, and after hearing recommendations from Administrative Services Director Andi Welsh, council agreed they could be eliminated on a staff level and meet on an as-needed basis.

city-commissions-7-31The city had a hard time getting interest from Sedona’s youth to meet for a task force, Welsh said, and the idea for a creekwalk was shot down by council May 26, making monthly meetings a moot point.

The Water Conservation Advisory Committee, chaired by Anita MacFarlane, volunteered to reduce monthly meetings to quarterly meetings, which met council’s approval.

The Arts & Culture Commission, Board of Adjustment, Historic Preservation Commission, Housing Commission, Parks & Recreation Commission and Planning & Zoning were left as is, with encouraging comments from council.

Councilman Cliff Hamilton did however question if the city didn’t already have a Housing Commission, tasked with the heavy burden of workforce housing, would it start one today.

“I’d say the Housing Commission uses more staff time than all other committees put together,” he said. “The issue we need to look at seriously is the whole business of crusading as opposed to advising.”

Since the issue of workforce housing seems to be a regional issue, maybe the city would look at being involved in a regional effort if it was starting from scratch, Hamilton said.

The Housing Commission sprung from a grassroots effort by people who were looking at the housing situation in Sedona, the group’s Chairwoman Linda Martinez said. It’s true that the solution can’t be found entirely in Sedona, but to ignore it altogether sends the wrong message, she said.

Mayor Rob Adams, who served as the Housing Commission’s council liaison for two years before becoming mayor, defended the group’s use of staff time since it has “the most difficult workload and the largest obstacles to overcome.”

“We’re inventing the wheel — we’re not reinventing it — and that takes more time,” Adams said of deciphering the need for workforce housing in and around Sedona and fulfilling that need. “I think it’s a worthwhile investment.”

Although the chairs of some boards took a defensive stance, council assured everyone that looking at all commissions, committees and task forces wasn’t an exercise to chop the volunteers, but rather to streamline government and make sure these volunteer groups were working on council priorities.

“I think it’s good to review boards periodically,” City Manager Tim Ernster said. “Is the number of members the correct size? Are the meetings too often, not often enough?”

Volunteer boards are a great resource to council, Ernster said, because they allow for more residents to participate in decision making.

The purpose was to make sure the boards’ work plans aligned with council’s and to make sure they’re working effectively, he said.

“I suggest we hold a priority-setting retreat in the fall,” he said. “It may be an opportune time to decide if their workloads fit with your priorities,” he told council.

Alison Ecklund can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 125, or e-mail aecklund@larsonnewspapers.com

The city’s commissions and committees were left virtually unscathed after Sedona City Council poked and prodded Tuesday, July 28, while disbanding two task forces.

After hearing from each of the seven volunteer groups on their goals, how their goals fit council priorities, how often they meet and how much staff time they consume, council agreed to disband the Creekwalk Task Force and the Youth Task Force.

Both task forces fall under Parks & Recreation, and after hearing recommendations from Administrative Services Director Andi Welsh, council agreed they could be eliminated on a staff level and meet on an as-needed basis.

city-commissions-7-31The city had a hard time getting interest from Sedona’s youth to meet for a task force, Welsh said, and the idea for a creekwalk was shot down by council May 26, making monthly meetings a moot point.

The Water Conservation Advisory Committee, chaired by Anita MacFarlane, volunteered to reduce monthly meetings to quarterly meetings, which met council’s approval.

The Arts & Culture Commission, Board of Adjustment, Historic Preservation Commission, Housing Commission, Parks & Recreation Commission and Planning & Zoning were left as is, with encouraging comments from council.

Councilman Cliff Hamilton did however question if the city didn’t already have a Housing Commission, tasked with the heavy burden of workforce housing, would it start one today.

“I’d say the Housing Commission uses more staff time than all other committees put together,” he said. “The issue we need to look at seriously is the whole business of crusading as opposed to advising.”

Since the issue of workforce housing seems to be a regional issue, maybe the city would look at being involved in a regional effort if it was starting from scratch, Hamilton said.

The Housing Commission sprung from a grassroots effort by people who were looking at the housing situation in Sedona, the group’s Chairwoman Linda Martinez said. It’s true that the solution can’t be found entirely in Sedona, but to ignore it altogether sends the wrong message, she said.

Mayor Rob Adams, who served as the Housing Commission’s council liaison for two years before becoming mayor, defended the group’s use of staff time since it has “the most difficult workload and the largest obstacles to overcome.”

“We’re inventing the wheel — we’re not reinventing it — and that takes more time,” Adams said of deciphering the need for workforce housing in and around Sedona and fulfilling that need. “I think it’s a worthwhile investment.”

Although the chairs of some boards took a defensive stance, council assured everyone that looking at all commissions, committees and task forces wasn’t an exercise to chop the volunteers, but rather to streamline government and make sure these volunteer groups were working on council priorities.

“I think it’s good to review boards periodically,” City Manager Tim Ernster said. “Is the number of members the correct size? Are the meetings too often, not often enough?”

Volunteer boards are a great resource to council, Ernster said, because they allow for more residents to participate in decision making.

The purpose was to make sure the boards’ work plans aligned with council’s and to make sure they’re working effectively, he said.

“I suggest we hold a priority-setting retreat in the fall,” he said. “It may be an opportune time to decide if their workloads fit with your priorities,” he told council.

Alison Ecklund can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 125, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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