Sedona AZ (September 29, 2017) – The following is a
letter to the
SedonaEye.com Editor

ARIZONA LIBERTY has just released the final video in
its current series of 15 videos analyzing the Sedona
Fire District’s management, operations, finances and,
most importantly, the bond issue.

The video series provides Fire District voters with a
detailed look, based on publicly available information,
at how their tax dollars have been and are being
spent.  In addition, the videos provide details of
capital projects that are included in the bond issue.

Fire District taxpayers have received their 2017
county tax statements.  In checking with residents,
this year’s Fire District property taxes are
approximately 9% higher than 2016 and more than
double those paid in 2011.  Fire District taxes are
about 27% of the total tax bill and are more than
School District taxes.

From 2011 through 2017, the Fire District’s “covered
area” and “population protected” have not
increased.  During the same period, while consumer
prices (CPI) have increased only 7%, the Fire District’
s operations employees (excluding administrative
staff) have increased 13%; personnel expenses
(salaries and benefits) have increased 31% and total
expenses have increased 47%.  More than 15 times of
your taxes ($78 million) are spent for personnel
expenses than for capital outlays ($5 million),
excluding the more than $2 million spent to build the
Chapel Area Station #6.

Now, in addition to its Governing Board-approved
$17 million annual operating budget, the Fire District
wants the taxpayers to vote for an $18 million bond
issue. The $18 million(plus an estimated $3 million of
interest) will finance projects, including almost $9
million to demolish and rebuild the Uptown Sedona
Station #4 and relocate the Oak Creek Canyon Station
#5 inside the Slide Rock State Park.

If approved, bond proceeds will also be used to build
a new dedicated maintenance facility; build additional
parking; repair heating, ventilation, and air-
conditioning systems; and renovate kitchens, work
spaces, day room areas and training rooms.  Much of
this could have been completed using annual
operating budget monies instead of continually
paying higher salaries and benefits.

None of the $21 million (bond plus interest) spending
will make Sedona residents safer and none of the
District’s fire stations are “crumbling.”  Let’s not
forget that the Governing Board’s vote was not
unanimous in favor of going forward with the bond
issue, but rather a 3-2 vote, not an overwhelming
endorsement of spending of “other people’s
money.”  And, finally, in a June 14th editorial, the Red
Rock News stated, “this newspaper will not support
an $18 million bond.”  We, the taxpayers, must
manage our expenses and so should the Fire
District.  

Therefore, ARIZONA LIBERTY is
recommending taxpayers
VOTE NO on the bond issue.  

You have received your paper, mail-in ballot.  Before you
vote, please review our video by clicking at the link
below and make an informed decision:
Video - Click on the film
strip for the Plan
WHY THE FIRE DISTRICT BOND ISSUE VOTE
SHOULD BE A NO
Why is "Safer Sedona" the Fire District Board and
management (Chief Kazian) promoting a $17.9 million
tax mechanism in place to raise whatever money is
necessary for both WANTS and NEEDS projects, or
real bid costs.

The fact that there are $3 MILLION according to the
Chief's own estimates of "Soft costs &
contingencies" tells anyone who has ever built a
building or done a remodel that these are not final
numbers, and certainly have not been negotiated.  
When you do a remodel, or a new build, commercial
or residential, you get a contract that has a
guaranteed price and the builder provides a surety
bond to make sure that the customer's cost do not
exceed bid.  This is not tough to do an if you cannot
get that surety, then you have the wrong contractor
and architect (remember an architect earns 10% of
build/remodel price) so he is not drawing a plan to
save you money.  He's doing his job for his
business.  You better have someone who knows
what they are doing when talking to these people.

But why are we borrowing $18 million, at 9% for 20
years.  The payback on that is $36 Million, $18 million
in interest.  How many engines does interest buy - 0.  
Will it be that much, in all good conscience - no, it will
be less.  
BUT IF YOU VOTE YES YOU HAVE GIVEN
THE ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY TO THE DISTRICT
BOARD AND HE CHIEF TO GO TO THE MAX IF TIMES
GET BAD - AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO
ABOUT IT.  DO YOU TRUST GOVERNMENT TO DO
THE RIGHT THING WITH
YOUR MONEY?

Looking at existing bonds, the interest could run
around $3 million of TAXPAYER money based on all
the variables.  What does $3 million in interest  buy.  
Nothing.  That is TAXPAYER MONEY BUYING
NOTHING. Mr taxpayer, does that sound like a good
deal?  Safer Sedona seems to think it is.

The Chief says that the draws against the $18 million
bond will take place over 6 years. We already have a
mix of the mil rate and he assessed vale of homes to
generate between $20.9 million and $34 million
SURPLUS over operating budget over the same
period of time.

The money is coming from the taxpayer anyway, why
are we blowing a bunch of $$ on interest and putting
these decisions in the hands of people who got us
into this mess?
DOES THAT SOUND LOGICAL?

You CANNOT give the people who created the
problem a pile of money $18 million, PLUS interest
and let them tell you "Trust Us".  

YOU - the public, MUST get involved in this process.  
We have sat idly buy and let people who are NOT
qualified to:

  1. Set up budgets
  2. Prioritize Wants vs Needs
  3. Manage Contracts
  4. Be Responsible to the Taxpayers
  5. Develop a long term Plan that makes sense
Curious?  You should be.  It is easy, and yes, it is
going to cost the taxpayers to fix the mess, but long
term, it will cost YOU the taxpayers LESS.  But not
under current leadership.
We DON'T NEED A $17.9 Million BOND TO DO
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AND MAINTENANCE.
We ALREADY can RAISE what is needed
INTEREST FREE!  SEE HOW
HERE
VOTE NO on the BOND ISSUE
And when the time comes, it's right around
the corner, 2018 - Vote
YES
for New Management
You WILL have new choices.