At last month’s meeting, we ranked 58 capital projects for the City’s five-year plan. The Budget Oversight Commission’s recommendations go before the City Council who makes the final decision on how to instruct city management to proceed with (or without) those projects.
Since that meeting, several new capital project requests came in. Below is an unofficial summary of those requests and the Budget Oversight Commission’s recommendations to the City Council, to be communicated both through Assistant City Manager Alison Zelms, officially, as well as through City Council Liaison to the Commission Councilor Mark DiNunzio.
Bicycle Friendly Implementation
The city’s volunteer bicycling coordinator asked for $188,500 over five years, with $88,500 to be spent in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1, namely fiscal year (FY) 2011-2012. The scope would include bike racks, primarily on city-owned properties, signage to guide cyclists to bike-friendly rounds, striping to connect streets to the main striped corridors in place or soon-to-be in place. There was also mention of acquiring easements, which without further details, could not possibly be approved. (The city will soon own easements on 89A in West Sedona. Businesses would happily grant bike rack space. So where would easements be needed?)
While I was willing to grant them $35,000 for the upcoming fiscal year to install bicycle parking security racks and signage, and begin their study on what else is needed, other commissioners felt the timing is premature. That judgment was made on:
- not hearing a presentation
- not seeing a written plan
- not seeing a map of what additional striping could connect routes, primarily concerning the crumbling street shoulders we now have and the observation that a bicycle stripe was once painted over ‘dirt’ on Soldiers Pass Rd.
The commission recommended City Council ask for a better plan and bring the project back in the future.
Uptown Walking Paths
The Sedona Main Street Program has been turned down for state grants for two years running on this proposal to improve signage to encourage tourists to walk up to three guided paths, particularly to get them from the Pink Jeep Plaza down to Tlaquepaque. Realizing the Sedona Road Runner is on its way out, and recognizing posting view-spot signs naming the mountains and guiding people along the streets is “the kind of thing cities do,” the Commission believes the time is right to encourage people to travel by foot, especially the gap between Pink Jeep and L’Auberge which seems to be sort of a ‘no-person’s land’ or ‘dead zone’ in tying the city together bipedally. We recommend the City Council approve this funding.
By far the most expensive request to come before the Commission, this request for $8.5 million to bury utility lines along 89A in West Sedona was passed by the Commission with little discussion. I recall a former Councilor’s remorse that we didn’t bury all of the lines along SR 179 during that project. (There’s a very large cable crossing low overhead near Copper Cliffs, if I remember correctly.)
Just as quickly, the Commission followed that this project would not be implemented soon, only that it should be entered into the five-year plan so that the City Council and other relevant entities be thinking about it and planning for it.
City Hall Drainage
“911: What’s your emergency?
“Oh, could I put you on hold, please? A foot and a half of water just came up through the floor into our Police Department, and if we don’t protect the wiring, our entire dispatch system will go down. Is that all right? Can you hold while I move cables onto the top of our desks?”
This is not excerpted from logs, but during the Sedona flood about a year and a half ago, water rushed in through the floor to a depth of about two feet. Previous attempts to repair the breach have failed. Thus a request for $10K for design in FY 2011-12 and $200K for repair in 2012-13 was roundly approved to be recommend to Council.
The city magistrate believes our judicial facilities do not provide enough protection for the outbursts and rage that sometimes accompany traffic tickets, restraining orders, and other matters dealt with in Sedona. While there was some favorable temper toward perhaps recommending a portable security screening device, no Commissioner was in favor of approving $500K for a new building. The $27,500 requested for a feasibility study for the location of the new building was instead directed to be applied to inquiring about combining facilities/services with, e.g., the Cottonwood Municipal Court. Lots of questions. Awaiting answers.
The city has collected $216,392 in lieu fees – fees developers pay in order to avoid having to build affordable housing units. The Housing Commission asked that the City Council grant permission to spend $200K of that amount to purchase some ‘killer deal’ property which it would then transfer to a not-for-profit experienced in building and managing affordable housing, e.g. Habitat for Humanity or Both Hands.
I’m not personally in favor of a city being in the affordable housing (or development-inspiring) business, but the other Commissioners had no questions and voted to recommend this to Council.
See http://thesedonacitizen.com/affordable-housing for more.
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This report is a summary of my perceptions with a couple personal viewpoints tossed in. It is not an official report of the decisions of the Budget Oversight Commission. Even if it were, all recommendations go to City Council to be voted or not. – Lin Ennis
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Other topics covered in the March 16 meting will be addressed elsewhere.