Talk of needing to replace a pair of stations within the Sedona Fire District — and improvements to another — have been batted around for more than a decade-and-a-half.

But now, a citizens’ advisory committee has been formed to look at all options of generating funding for these improvements, which includes a general obligation bond. Their first of nearly a dozen meetings was held on Tuesday, March 7, at SFD Station 1 in West Sedona.

Arizona Public Service and a group of stakeholders from throughout the state reached an agreement last month in regard to the company’s first proposed rate hike in five years.

The agreement, which will go before the Arizona Corporation Commission for approval this summer, includes not only the rate hike but solar power agreements and fees for those who choose to use an analog meter as opposed to the APS-preferred smart meter.

The vote to disband the Sedona Main Street Program earlier this year left some wondering who would oversee one of its signature events — the St. Patrick’s Parade. In stepped the Sedona Parks and Recreation Department, which agreed to take over the event set for Saturday, March 11.

The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Jordan Historical Park, travels south on Jordan Road and ends at Mesquite Avenue.

Over the next few months a group of citizens will meet nearly a dozen times to determine whether or not they recommend a bond be issued to cover the costs for upgrades to Sedona Fire District stations and equipment.

SFD’s governing board established a citizens’ advisory committee to explore funding options for infrastructure and capital projects including the possibility of a general obligation bond.

There’s an Arizona State Senate bill before the legislature that if passed, could result in customers seeing a 7 percent increase in their monthly city wastewater treatment fees.
Senate Bill 1430, which was introduced by Sen. Warren Petersen [R-District 12, Chandler/Gilbert], seeks to preempt cities from charging wastewater service fees for vacant parcels that are not connected to the system.

According to City Attorney Robert Pickels, Sedona has been charging such a “stand-by” fee since 2011 as a means of equitably distributing the costs for maintenance and depreciation amongst all customers, connected or otherwise. He said the bill would result in a loss of $400,000 annually and the need to increase rates to all other customers by approximately 7.3 percent.

As the number of visitors to Arizona continues to rise, so does the number of people seeking a slightly different lodging experience.

Last week, Airbnb, the largest company of its kind, announced hosts in Arizona using its platform earned a combined $50.9 million in supplemental income last year while welcoming 329,000 visitors — a 152 percent jump from the previous year. In that same time, the number of Airbnb hosts in Arizona grew to 7,600 — a 61 percent increase over the year before.

In 2016, Sedona saw 29,000 guest arrivals, which brought in more than $4.6 million for local homeowners.

The Arizona State Legislature and city governments don’t always see eye to eye — and this year is no exception.

During the Feb. 14, Sedona City Council meeting, City Attorney Robert Pickels gave an update on some of the bills before state legislators that may impact Sedona. To date, more than 1,050 bills have been introduced.

One of the items was House Bill 2116, which was introduced by Rep. Bob Thorpe [R-District 6] and co-sponsored by Rep. Brenda Barton [R-District 6]. It came at the request of the city of Sedona to clarify the zoning area within which property owners adjacent to an area subject to a rezoning application may protest. An amendment will be offered in the Senate which will include the subject property in the definition of a zoning area.

Motorists driving in Uptown this weekend should be prepared to see a few changes.

The city announced this week that the Public Works and Sedona Police departments are coordinating to ensure business access and traffic safety on State Route 89A through the Uptown area for Presidents Day. This is part of the ongoing transportation master plan to find ways to help traffic flows, especially during busy weekends or periods of the year.

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