Sedona Metropolis Council seems again in any respect that occurred in 2020
For most, 2020 is a year they’d rather forget. But now that the New Year has arrived, there may be hope for optimism, even among those on Sedona City Council.
Each of the seven current council members, as well as the two who chose not to vote for re-election this year, were asked to provide their personal views on 2020 and the struggles that have come about and, in some cases, the achievements of Council and City.
■ Mayor Sandy Moriarty: “The year 2020 will go down in history as unique and challenging in many ways. It has been a year of great casualties due to a pandemic the likes of which we have never seen in our lives. It has forced us to think differently about our lives, to change our behavior and habits, and to teach us lessons that we may not otherwise have learned. Challenges often bring innovation and other unexpected consequences, and there are always silver linings.
“Due to the pandemic, when we were going to set up our annual budget, we obviously expected a significant loss of revenue, but it seems that after the order to stay at home was canceled, everyone wanted to come to Sedona to escape the density of big cities and take advantage of it the many outdoor activities that are offered here. Some also wanted to live in a smaller town, so property prices and rents have increased. Since we have planned and budgeted conservatively and have greater reserves than many cities, we did not have to lay off any employees and hope that we can continue to work on schedule and without serious budget cuts in 2021, while continuing to take a conservative approach.
“With vaccines on the horizon by mid-2021 for most who want them on a volunteer basis, and frontline workers receiving them now, we should do well by the end of next year.”
■ Vice Mayor Scott Jablow: “Every year during my tenure on the city council it has been a challenge in some ways. 2020 dwarfed everyone else. Of course, the pandemic created the greatest hardship for our residents and businesses.
“While some might think we’re just a small retirement town, many of our residents are also local business owners who built their businesses from the ground up to cater to tourists, our main economic driver. With the sharp drop in tourism, several businesses, some of which have been around for decades, have closed their doors. It’s sad to know that we’ve lost two very long-established restaurants and even an ATV company. hopefully we won’t lose any others. “
■ Councilor Tom Lamkin: “In 2020 Sedona had to overcome many challenges, large and small. Some of them are pretty constant, like citizens’ concerns about traffic, the impact on tourism, short term rentals, noise, pool hours, and others. The city council continues to monitor, evaluate and act in a way that serves the people in the best possible way, while having a tax responsibility to maximize the resources available to it.
“In 2020, a new problem emerged in the form of a pandemic affecting all areas of Sedona. It has been a year of political change at the local, state and national levels. It was a year when social injustice and racism were recognized. For many it was a year of unprecedented unemployment and financial crisis. It has been a year that unfortunately has caused great divisions in the hearts of the Sedona people and created a rift in the spiritual fabric of our community. For many it was a year of separation, illness and death. It has been a year of problems that the Council cannot address because while guidelines defining socially desirable behavior can be adopted, they cannot change hearts. It cannot eliminate racism. It cannot eradicate pandemics. “
■ Councilor Bill Chisholm: “The biggest challenge we faced in 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic. This issue impacted not only the public health and safety of our community, but also our business owners, employees, annual small grant distributions, and the positions of city workers. Over the year, we have sought to respond to “then current” science-based information in order to minimize the negative impact of COVID-19 on the various segments of our community within our legal powers.
“During this election year, members of our community have exercised their initial adjustment rights on a variety of issues, including: B. Political party agendas, civil liberty concerns, public health concerns and views on climate change, to name a few. From my point of view, these were carried out in a civil and peaceful manner. I am grateful that our community is one where we can have heated debates without the criminal behavior that has plagued several other US cities.
“We have made significant progress with our Sedona In Motion program by completing the Uptown Improvement Initiative, enabling several major land acquisitions, and approving additional multi-purpose path segments within the city.”
■ Councilor Jessica Williamson: “March 2020 confronted us with a global pandemic that we could neither wish away nor put aside. And 10 months later, we are in the middle of the predicted second wave that hit Arizona particularly hard. Steps taken to slow the spread and ensure our health system was not overwhelmed revealed unexpected divisions in the community over a public health emergency. The virus has been drawn into the destructive politics we live with and it went all too well with the passionate messages of the presidential election.
“The year was full of challenges related to COVID. We had to approve a budget for the coming fiscal year without knowing how much our income would be: the city relies on tourist dollars and it was unclear how tourism would affect it. The city had to retrofit its operations to comply with security protocols, and companies faced temporary closures and operational mandates that threatened their financial stability. “
■ City Councilor Holli Ploog: “We can be proud and grateful for the many kind and compassionate acts in Sedona that have contributed to the community spirit. Residents sewing masks and robes for healthcare and key workers without protective gear; extended volunteering; increased financial donations to local nonprofits; Range too isolated
Individuals; and children’s books at home when libraries were inaccessible. These are some examples of Sedona’s heart and generosity.
“One vulnerability that became more apparent during the pandemic when many educational institutions and businesses were operating remotely is the lack of reliable internet services in some parts of our region.
“Students with internet access have the greatest chance of reaching their full potential, while students with little or no access are left behind. The lack of accessible and affordable internet service should not be an obstacle to learning or achieving economic progress. “
n Councilor Kathy Kinsella: “Despite the difficulties there were bright spots. The most amazing of these is the spirit of volunteering and support that shines through. Our congregation met and made masks and dresses, supported food insecurity programs, and reached out to each other to provide all kinds of help wherever it was needed.
“One of the particular hurdles we faced in these pandemic times was communication. We struggled with when and how to meet in person and with the limitations of technology that allowed us to meet and have discussions virtually. Keeping communications open and lively was vital in 2020, whether it be personal contact between family, friends, and neighbors, and the technology that allowed business to continue, or communications between citizens and government. “
■ Former Vice Mayor John Martinez: “In terms of investing $ 250,000 in a traffic study conducted by Sedona In Motion, the first and most important project in the eyes of many was the completion of the Uptown Sedona Roadway Improvement, which added a southbound lane to keep traffic out the canyon. Further discussions and measures for SIM were the acquisition of real estate for the parking structure in Uptown as well as various payment options for its use, the purchase of real estate for the expansion of the forest road and for the traffic junction. Also the shared use path on the Thunder Mountain / Sanborn Roadway.
“Approve a resolution and ordinance to amend the text of the Sedona Land Development Code. Proposed text changes include typographical and clerical corrections, changes for clarity, removal of layoffs, and other material changes to better reflect the intent of the LDC and the goals of the Sedona Community Plan.
City discussion with Sedona Police and Sedona Fire District over updates to Sedona Emergency Plan. The hiring of a new city attorney, Kurt Christianson, replaces the resignation of Robert Pickels. In addition, the first of many meetings in the future of a climate protection plan for the city of Sedona. “
■ Former Alderman John Currivan: “When we look back on this COVID-dominated chapter in Sedona’s history, we will of course remember the masks, the social distancing – and who can forget the shortage of paper products? The consequences, however, were more profound and far-reaching. On top of the medical implications, we’ve seen businesses shut down and it’s not clear how many will reopen. For those who are open, some owners have described difficulties first laying off workers and then trying to get them back on. The impact of all of this on our local economy has yet to be fully determined.
“The pandemic also dictated how the city council could meet. Between April and August we held 10 sessions on Zoom and not in council chambers in the town hall. The impact of this format on our meetings has been unfortunate. Virtual meetings lack the dynamism of personal interaction. Additionally, we missed the valuable input we usually get when the public takes the time to attend council meetings, step on the podium and share their thoughts with us.
“I won’t be on the podium in the New Year, but Sedona’s future is still very important to me. Given the known and unknown challenges that 2021 could bring, it will not matter how our council members meet virtually or in person, but whether they continue to govern with care. “