It’s a new year, and with it comes a new outlook for the organizers of the Sedona International Film Festival. That’s because 2017 is a year they’d rather forget.

“It was one of the most challenging years and most rewarding years all at the same time,” SIFF Executive Director Patrick Schweiss said. “At times, it seemed like the end of the world. But, we wrapped our heads around it, worked together and decided on a plan. The outpouring of love, gratitude and appreciation was overwhelming. It’s very humbling to know how much the community cares about us and doesn’t want to see us go away.”

Any time a person is elected or appointed to a governing board, their attendance at meetings is a high priority.

So it came as no surprise that that was a sticking point for the Sedona City Council on Jan. 9, when discussing proposed changes to the
Planning and Zoning Commission’s operating rules and procedures.

Council discussed the proposed changes and gave direction to staff on what it would like to see added or omitted. But there was no consensus on the number of unexcused meetings a commissioner could miss before he or she may be removed.

It can be difficult for city officials to know what its residents think about their town and how it’s run. The vocal minority on any given issue is usually the voice that’s heard the most.

That’s where a survey can even the playing field.

Recently, 505 Sedona residents answered an array of questions as part of the National Citizen Survey, which focused on the livability of Sedona. A survey report states that the phrase “livable community” is used to evoke a place that is not simply habitable, but that is desirable. It’s not only where people live, but where they want to live.

For more than 20 years, the practice of operating shortterm rentals within the Sedona city limits was against city code.

That all changed just over a year ago when Gov. Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1350, which allows short-term rentals throughout the state. While it had been going on here for years, the bill officially made it legal on Jan. 1, 2017.

Soon, those making purchases in Sedona will see a slightly higher amount on their bill. But if all goes as planned, it will be for a worthy cause.

On Tuesday, Jan. 9, the Sedona City Council voted 6-1 to approve a new half-cent sales tax. This money will be used to cover an estimated $35 million in traffic mitigation construction over the next decade. However, if the projects are completed before then, council has the right to eliminate the tax.

At times the two-hour meeting between representatives from the Arizona Water Company and residents became heated due to a proposed 1.5 million gallon water tank near the Mystic Hills subdivision.

Around 60 people turned out on Jan. 10, at the Sedona United Methodist Church for the first public meeting to discuss the project since last March. Several of those nearby residents who spoke said they are not opposed to the project, just its location. The tank would be installed on vacant land owned by the company at the intersection of State Route 179 and West Mallard Drive.

“New year, new me” may be a rallying motto to inspire resolutions, but for the Sedona-Oak Creek School District, it’s new year, more of the same.

At its first Governing Board meeting of the year Tuesday, Jan. 9, one of the first orders of business was to vote in a president and vice president for 2018. In unanimous votes, the board re-elected current President Randy Hawley and Vice President Heather Hermen to those posts.

Sedona-Oak Creek School District’s strategic planning committee hit the ground running in its return from the holiday break, with a spate of meetings among subcommittees and a general meeting Tuesday, Jan. 16.

The committee has refocused its strategic planning mission statement, which is now, “To become a leader in K-12 education; to set goals and define strategies that will elevate student success preparing all to successfully live and thrive in our exponentially changing world.”

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