Friday, December 12, 2008

Sedona mulls mid-year budget; spares arts & historic preservation

[Source: Cyndy Hardy,] -- Sedona is weathering the economic storm better than many Arizona cities; but not without concern and not without tightening its belt. The Sedona City Council approved some reductions Tuesday that mainly affect unspent but budgeted expenditures. For now, city employees and some outside organizations that receive city grants avoided the chopping block. That could change early next year if the economy doesn’t improve.

In the best worst-case scenario, the city expects to tap the city’s approximately $10 million rainy day fund by about $500,000; which is about five percent of the general fund reserves, according to Interim City Manager Alison Zelms.  The council showed little resistance to the possibility considering the long-term economic forecast. “Having a reserve fund just to worship rather that to use is missing the point,” said Councilman Cliff Hamilton. “This is exactly what it’s there for.”

The current cuts affect the city’s general fund.  The City Council trimmed the general fund in October when it reduced the budget for the redevelopment plan by $300,000. At Tuesday’s meeting, the council added cuts for departmental non-salary expenditures that will reduce expenditures without cutting city staff. Most city departments historically spend between three and five percent below their annual budget. The council’s action increased that target to 10 percent below budget, including a 25-percent reduction in training and travel costs. The council froze spending of about $300,000 remaining in the contingency fund; hiring for unfilled positions; and filling new positions approved in this year’s budget including an environmental inspector, a part-time IT position, and two part-time parking attendants.

Since tourism is down, the council deferred $16,500 for a visitor intercept study that may prove more useful in the long run when the economy rebounds.  The City Council rejected a recommendation to cut city grants already budgeted to arts and historic preservation organizations.  “I think the concern is that many of the arts organizations have already budgeted and are anticipating for this money to come in.  To do it now seems a bit unfair,” said Mayor Rob Adams.  But the city may have to reduce its grants programs in the next fiscal year. The council advised them to plan accordingly.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Payson HP Commission looking for new members

[Source: Alexis Bechman, Payson Roundup] -- What’s a conservation commission to do when it can barely preserve itself? The staffers at the office of Tourism and Economic Vitality are scratching their heads trying to think of ways to attract more volunteers for the Historic Preservation and Conservation Commission.  “In order to have a meeting, it would be nice to have the vacancies filled,” said Cathy Boone, project manager for the office of Tourism and Economic Vitality.

The commission, which is scheduled to meet at least four times a year, hasn’t met in more than a year and has several open seats on the board.  The committee was scheduled to meet Monday afternoon, but the meeting was canceled after several members canceled, Boone said. Recruiting qualified members is proving almost as hard as reinventing Main Street.  “We are looking for anyone who has volunteered in the past, lives within town and has an interest in state preservation,” Boone said.  “Someone who knows about the history of the area.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Oro Valley heritage advocates recognized for good works

[Source: Lourdes Medrano, Arizona Daily Star] -- Oro Valley today will honor Dick Eggerding and Pat Spoerl as this year's outstanding volunteers.  They each will receive the town's annual Volunteer of the Year Award, given to a man and woman who distinguish themselves for their dedication to volunteer work in the community.  Spoerl and Eggerding have volunteered their time to many causes over the years, sometimes together.  They co-founded the Oro Valley Historical Society with the late Jim Kreigh.   They will receive the award in a 6 p.m. invitation-only reception at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, where town officials will recognize the work of about 400 volunteers.

Spoerl, a retired U.S. Forest Service archaeologist, is particularly known for her efforts to preserve Oro Valley's cultural resources.  Eggerding, who created the town's "Community of Excellence" logo, was instrumental in bringing public art, concerts and art festivals to the town through the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council, which he co-founded with Bob Weede.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Oro Valley seeks volunteers for HP Commission

[Source: Arizona Daily Star] -- Oro Valley is now accepting applications from residents to fill a two-year term on the town's Historic Preservation Commission.  The volunteer commission works to preserve historic buildings, districts, landmarks, structures, documents, photographs and other artifacts related to the development of the greater Oro Valley area.  The group meets at 6 p.m. the second Monday of every month at Town Hall, 11000 N. La CaƱada Drive.  Applications are available at Town Hall or online at by clicking on "Town Clerk" and "Boards & Commissions/Volunteers."  The deadline is Jan. 5 to apply for the position.