Every four years, voters in Arizona towns and cities must choose whether or not to approve "home rule" declaration. A yes vote exempts their town or city from a state mandated budget limit calculated on that city’s budget in 1979-80 and adjusted for population growth and a prescribed inflation factor. It does not consider growth in tourism or other budget-impacting factors.
The August vote on Home Rule is basically a voter referendum approving the city spending approximately $10M more than the city has ever spent, using its reserves to complete Uptown and ‘Y’ traffic projects. These projects address the traffic problems caused by excessive tourism 12 weeks out of the year and perhaps forever change Sedona’s small-town character. If Home Rule passes, future City Councils will be directed by this voter approval to follow through with the recommendations of the 2018 traffic study.
If Home Rule fails, in November voters will have the opportunity to pass a citizen initiative of a Permanent Base Adjustment placing a spending cap on the city of $36M, an amount slightly higher than previous city budgets. This budget cap would be in effect until the voters vote to change the base, an election that is only allowed in the fall of even numbered years.
If both measures fail, the state-prescribed limit for 2019-20 would be approximately $23.5M. Citizen failure to approve one of these two ballots will plunge the city into economic chaos requiring the city to twice go before the voters to approve One Time Budget Overrides to keep our city functioning.
As an exercise, click on this LINK and copy an Excel file I created to your computer and try to reduce the FY 2019 Sedona budget to $23.6M.
Those who know me or my voting record while serving on the Sedona City Council from 2010 to 2014 know I am quite fiscally conservative and not inclined to approve unnecessary or unwise expenditures. I believe, however, that approving the Home Rule option gives the City Council critical flexibility in setting the city’s annual budget. For those who would like to see a more restrictive approach to city budgeting, I suggest voting for me and other candidates who take a conservative approach to city spending.
Please think carefully before voting this fall.
For information on Home Rule, the Permanent Base Adjustment and the One Time Override, reference https://www.azauditor.gov/reports-publications/cities-and-towns/faqs/voter-approved-expenditure-limitations