The Sedona Fire District Board has directed its chief and staff to begin drafting a scenario for an environmental analysis to consider an alternative route from West Sedona to the Village of Oak Creek.
The Fire District has jumped into the alternative route debate to assure speedy response to emergencies.
The agenda for the Wednesday night board meeting called for allocating funds for the consulting process. But Chief Matt Schobert says, "we had the cart before the horse"
The board's Resolution #2005-11 instead seeks an outline for steps needed to move through the process and the possible partners.
There was one dissenter to the Board resolution, approved 3-1. Tom Wells believes that the endeavor is not part of the District's mission to manage emergency services though he had supported an earlier resolution.
Dec. 15, 2004, the Board approved a resolution to encourage Yavapai and Coconino Counties to work with the City of Sedona to begin the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis of an alternative route.
Wells explains that he "didn't vote for the (new) resolution because it is not up to the Fire District to make the route decision." He says, "I can't imagine that voting for the resolution to explore it will not end up costing quite a bit of money for the Fire District and for the taxpayers.
"If there is a bigger proponent of an alternative route than me I don't know who is, " he maintains. "But it is not up to the Fire District to determine where the route should be. I feel strongly about it, but at this point this is a decision that has to be made by the community."
Early this month, Sedona City Manager Eric Levitt said his council as a cost savings asked him to draft a scope of work for a NEPA analysis that is small and targeted and to explore consultants who are experienced in the process.
The federally mandated environmental analysis is required for any proposal on public land.