COMMUNITY NEWS –MEETING HIGHLIGHTS FOLLOW –
HAVE YOU ANSWERED* Deadline is Friday, February 25 *Many thanks to the 155 residents who have already responded to this important survey. If you haven’t responded yet – please do !!
THE WILDFIRE – HOME INSURANCE SURVEY YET?
The purpose of this survey is to assess whether insurance companies offering homeowner policies in the Village have recently cancelled or not renewed insurance policies, citing wildfire risk as a reason. A secondary concern is whether other insurers have cited wildfire risk as a reason for increasing annual insurance premiums.
The survey questions below should take no more than 10 minutes of your time, hopefully much less! This will help Big Park Council evaluate the overall impact of the recent RiskFactor.com “Extreme Risk” wildfire classification on our community.
You are encouraged to share this survey with your neighbors
Science Vortex Community BLOOD DRIVE Sunday, February 18, 2024 1:30-5:30pm 301 N. Willard St. Room 202 – Cottonwood Call for an appointment. Download the announcement for additional information.
The USFS is currently reviewing all of these comments and is considering modifications to their proposal to be released sometime in March.
Sedona Sister Cities Association2 1 24 Newsletter
Sedona Chamber of Commerce
Business Bulletin – 02 05 2024Local News – 02 02 2024
Verde Valley SchoolNewsletter – 2 6 24
Nominations Open for KSB Awards of Excellence
For over 50 years Keep Sedona Beautiful has honored individuals, businesses or organizations that have demonstrated outstanding contributions to our community. The 2024 awards will honor those who have most contributed to our mission to “To protect and sustain the scenic beauty and natural environment of Sedona and the Verde Valley.” Keep Sedona Beautiful Website
To find out more and/or to download the nomination form – Go directly to the
District 3 Supervisor Donna Michaels: 08 February 2024 – Video Report to the Big Park Council
President Susan Barber called the meeting to order at 9:00am and a quorum established. She noted that there were two public agency speakers scheduled, neither of whom were present. Supervisor Donna Michaels was called to testify at the legislature on sustainable water legislation, and Superintendent Tom Swaninger was having internet issues. Supervisor Michaels prepared a video for the Council and Board President Randy Hawley stepped in for Superintendent Swaninger.
Public Agency Speakers
Yavapai County Supervisor District 3, Donna Michaels (video format)Supervisor Michaels began her presentation by announcing that broadband is being brought to the Village of Oak Creek. The Yavapai County (YC) Board of Supervisors has approved Wecom Inc. as the outstanding bidder for this contract. Wecom Inc. is a family-owned business with an excellent reputation. Installation of broadband is scheduled to begin in September 2024 for completion in 2025. She then addressed the question of repurposing the Big Park School campus noting that in partnership with the school district YC can’t begin that process or consider it until the space study of the facility is completed. She expects some results at the end of this month, and then probably by spring, the county will be able to decide and begin the process. It is necessary for the entire YC Board of Supervisors to approve the proposal and Supervisor Michaels is advocating for that to happen. She looks forward to cementing the partnership with the School District in a way that increases the services that the county can bring to the Village and surrounding areas. Supervisor Michaels then focused on the opportunities to develop and expand regenerative agricultural practices. She noted that she has proposed a partnership with the Verde Valley School (VVS) to use their SEED property for this purpose. The VVS Board is considering her proposal to join regenerative agricultural practices across the Verde Valley. She noted that she is already working with the University of Arizona and Arizona First as well as local ranchers and farmers who want healthier food grown locally. Funding from the USDA is a possibility. Supervisor Michaels then noted that Arizona House Bill 2244 just passed regarding identification of ingredients in meat products. The bill is headed for a vote in the Senate. The proposed legislation is a response to lab-grown meats and also covers deceptive practices such as gluing pieces of meat together. Link to video presentation: https://youtu.be/URNEc4qzxFY . She also provided a link to the “Meat Glue” story. https://shop.in10sityfitnessunited.com/blogs/health/meat-glue Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District (SOCUSD) – Board President Randy HawleyPresident Susan Barber welcomed Randy Hawley who noted that Internet for the entire school district was down, and therefore Superintendent Tom Swaninger was unable to join the Zoom meeting. Randy began his presentation by noting that the SOCUSD has qualified as a Title One district noting that to qualify a district must have a minimum of 40% low-income students and SOCSD qualifies with over 70% of its students being low income. Along with this qualification comes Federal funds and the district has gone from a 1.5-million-dollar deficit to a balanced budget including operating reserves. They’ve been able to use some of the operating reserves to offer opportunities to students in the performing arts, athletics and clubs, as well as adding several Advanced Placement courses for college credit. There are a number of students who are dual enrollment in the high school and Yavapai College, so when they graduate high school, they’ll also be able to start college as a junior. He then acknowledged Red Rock High School senior, Lauren Pfaff, as one of the 36 state finalists for the Flinn Scholarship, which has a potential value of $130,000 for tuition, room and board and other college expenses. He then reminded the Council that Saturday is the Casino Night fundraiser at the high school, benefiting extracurricular activities at the high school and middle school. President Barber then called the business portion of the meeting to order at 9:12am and asked Secretary Mary Pope to call the roll.
- Roll Call: Mary confirmed 16 member organizations present and 4 guests.
- Approval of Agenda: Susan then presented the draft meeting agenda asking for any discussion or revisions. Hearing none, Bob Marriott moved that the meeting agenda be approved as presented and Pat Robles seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
- President’s Report: Susan announced that a Big Park Council survey would be sent out this afternoon, regarding the home insurance consequences of classification of the area as extreme risk for wildfire by RiskFactor.com and other sources. She encouraged representatives to forward the survey to homeowners in their member organizations so that participation could be as broad as possible. She then noted that Keep Sedona Beautiful (KSB) is accepting nominations to honor those who have contributed to their mission to protect and sustain the scenic beauty and natural environment. She asked that subscribers read the KSB link for additional information and let Secretary Mary Pope know their thoughts regarding the nomination of someone for their work within the Big Park Council. BigParkCouncil.firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Secretary’s Report: Mary Pope asked if there were any changes to the Minutes of the January 11 Annual Meeting minutes. Hearing none, Bob Marriott moved that the minutes be accepted as written. Pat Robles seconded and the motion passed unanimously. She then extended a warm welcome to Chuck Marr, liaison to the Big Park Council appointed by the Sedona Village Rotary, noting that the missions of the two organizations are closely aligned. Chuck reminded the Council that there are three Rotary Clubs in the Sedona area and his is the Village Rotary begun six years ago and remains a very active service organization. He welcomed all to join their meetings, held the first and third Thursday of the month at 7:30am at the Village Library. Mary completed her report announcing that the 2024 Officers have been filed and the filing accepted by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
- Treasurer’s Report: Patty Reski reviewed the January 2024 Treasurer’s Report, thanking Dave Norton for formatting the report to be easier to read. She noted expenses included the small monthly MailChimp fee and a larger check being written to cover the first Earthrise invoice. Patty pointed out that under “income”, half of the Earthrise expense has been covered by the Sedona Village Partnership as agreed. She then noted that in January $3040 income has been received as annual assessments from nineteen of the twenty-three member organizations. She sent reminder letters to the four remaining organizations to submit their assessments before late charges are incurred as of March 1. Patty then noted that overall, the bottom-line bank account total is healthy. She clarified that a portion of that balance is set aside for future Earthrise invoices. Patty then explained that after extensive research last year, the new policies selected are much less expensive and no longer requires that a deductible amount be held in reserve. She and Susan Barber met at the bank and were able to update signature authorities and research keeping BPC surplus funds in a liquid CD earning 3% interest and remaining accessible without penalty. Patty then explained revisions proposed to the 2024 Budget by the budget committee (Joe Skidmore, Pat Robles, Bob Marriott, Dave Norton). The most significant being removal of the expense for in-person meeting room rental and addition of funding for outreach events. She noted that an acceptable meeting room has not been found of sufficient size with high-speed internet capabilities at a reasonable cost. Outreach events could be like the Holiday Mixer held in 2023, or broader to include partner organizations and government agencies that BPC works closely with. She also noted that some of these outreach expenses would be offset by additional income, as many expressed a willingness to contribute to the cost of the 2023 mixer. At this point, Representative Ben Lee offered the facilities of the Verde Valley School for in-person BPC meetings. The school has a schedule of rental fees with non-profit discounts that he’d like to discuss with the BPC Executive Board. All agreed this was a good idea to pursue. Patty then called for approval of the 2024 budget as revised. Dave Norton moved to accept the revised budget as submitted, seconded by Bob Marriott. There was some discussion regarding the solvency of the bank used by BPC, and Patty affirmed that she was watching that closely. It was noted that all funds are guaranteed by the FDIC up to $250,000 and BPC funds are protected. Motion carried unanimously. In closing, Patty mentioned that the 2023 IRS form 990 has been filed.
- Audit Report: Pat Robles reported that the Audit Committee (Pat Robles, Colleen Hinds, Joe Skidmore) met on January 14 to audit the BPC financial paperwork and books. All was found to be accurate and very well organized and documented. Pat complimented Treasurer, Patty Reski on her exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail. The 2023 Audit is complete.
- Unfinished Business:
- Approval of 2023 Standing Committee members: Susan lead the discussion, and one change to Membership was noted. The Membership Committee is seeking additional members. In response to a question, Susan clarified that standing committee members require Council approval, committee advisors do not. Bob Marriott will confirm that Phil Feiner remains a member of the Planning & Zoning committee. Carolyn Fisher moved that the 2024 Standing Committee members be approved as amended. Bob Marriott seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
- USFS Public Commentary on the Turkey Creek Proposal: Mary Morris reminded the Council that it authorized her to submit a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) to the USFS for the public comments on this proposal. Before filing the FOIA, she reached out to the USFS Supervisor in charge, and he provided the 265 comments directly without necessitating the need to file the FOIA. Mary noted that the comments were very good and raised a lot of questions. She noted that a PDF of these comments was sent to the Council by Mary Pope along with other meeting materials. Completion of the USFS review is expected sometime in March. (Link to PDF of public comments) Mary then noted that experienced local District Ranger Amy Tinderholt is leaving for an opportunity within the national recreation planning group, effective February 25. Alex Schlueter will replace her temporarily while the USFS does a national search for a new District Ranger. This process takes 3-4 months. Public Comments PDF
- New Business NOTICE of proposed bylaw revisions: Mary Pope reported that Council members received documentation of the proposed revisions in their meeting materials. The documentation explains the background for each proposal and includes a marked-up section that is being revised, as well as a clean copy of the proposed revision. She then summarized the 4 proposed changes noting that all but one of the changes bring the bylaws into alignment with current practices. The remaining change expands the ability of the Executive Board (EB) to appoint an impartial alternate meeting chair, should all of them wish to participate in discussions, and provides flexibility within the EB to chair the meeting in the absence of the President. There were no questions on the proposals. Final discussion and a vote on the proposed changes will take place at the March 14 meeting. NOTICE of proposed bylaw revision
- Committee Reports:
- Planning & Zoning (P&Z): Bob Marriott reported that Nancy Maple has been working with the YC Office of Development Services on a way to track and review upcoming permits. Nancy has developed a very good series of training slides as the cumbersome YC Citizen Serve process will be simpler to keep track of if several individuals share the load. Bob estimated that with training, it would take an individual three hours to become comfortable with the County system. Don Groves has volunteered to help, and Bob asked for an additional four volunteers to review YC notices and determine if additional research is needed for an individual notice/request for permit. He used the Patel property on the corner of Jacks Canyon Rd and SR 179 as an example of a project with multiple notices, most of which are simple administrative approvals, but which must be monitored for any changes proposed. June appears to be a critical time for this project. Dave Norton volunteered to join the committee. Bob Marriott will give him a call. Ben Lee volunteered to be an advisor to the committee.
- Membership: John Wichert reported that he would like to reinstitute coffee with the Big Park Council as the weather improves. He’ll be asking Council members to join the sessions noting that last year they had eight members of public join the first one-hour coffee and it was very worthwhile.
- Art in the Roundabouts (AiR): Rolf Funk began his presentation by thanking Supervisor Michaels for her attendance at their last meeting. He expressed admiration for committee members noting that the committee is meeting with the BPC EB on the 29 of February for a group study session.
- Announcements: Carolyn Fisher announced that the Love Your Library fund raising campaign is currently going on and encouraged donations.
- Adjourn: Meeting adjourned at 10:07 am
Reminder – The next Big Park Council Meeting is March 14 at 9am via ZOOM