Big Park Council hears presentations on jail sales tax, Red Rock trail maintenance

Tom Graham, President, Big Park Regional Coordination Council

Tom Graham, President, Big Park Regional Coordination Council

The Big Park Regional Coordinating Council’s January meeting was also it’s Annual Meeting.

The Agenda included two groups presenting important issues that affect our Community. The first issue was about continuing the ¼ cent sales tax that raises nearly half of the funds required to operate the Yavapai County Jail. The second issue was how to solve the need for more maintenance of the Red Rock trails in this part of the Coconino National Forest, the Greater Sedona Area.

YAVAPAI COUNTY JAIL DISTRICT SALES TAX

The Yavapai County Jail District was created roughly 20 years ago by Yavapai County voters, with the purpose of providing fund-raising options for operation of the jail. Those funds come from two main sources – a Jail District ¼ cent sales tax and the County General Fund. The sales tax, which must be used for jail purposes, provides about half the $18 million necessary to operate the jail. The other half comes from the County General Fund, which is, primarily, County property taxes.

The case for continuation of the ¼ cent sales tax (one cent on your $4 coffee) was made by our Yavapai County Supervisor, Randy Garrison, and Captain Jeff Newnum, Commandant of the Jail. The speakers were clear that a Jail District-dedicated sales tax takes the burden off cities and towns in the County. Without the funds provided by the sales tax, the County’s General Fund would have to finance the operation of the jail by raising your property taxes. Captain Newnum described the many programs that are vital in addressing recidivism, while reducing jail populations, cutting jail operating costs and increasing efficiency.

It is difficult to fully make the case to continue this ¼ cent tax in this limited space. There will be a Special Election by mail this spring to approve the continuation of the ¼ cent tax until June 30, 2040. Ballots will be mailed by April 23 and the deadline to mail your ballot is May 15. For more information go to www.yavapaijail.com.

RED ROCK TRAILS FUNDING

The urgent need for Red Rock trail-maintenance-funding brought Jennifer Burns, President of the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund, to speak. Assisted by Forrest Saville, head of construction & trail maintenance in the Red Rock Ranger District, they announced the recent formation of an ad hoc group named the Red Rock Trails Sustainable Funding Work Group.

The group’s stated visions: “The Community will financially assist the U.S. Forest Service to sustain an inspiring, safe and environmentally healthy trail system.” And “to generate long-term, sustainable funding sources for maintenance of the red rock trails near Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek.”

For more information go to www.redrocktrailfund.com.

The Big Park Council unanimously endorsed the Work Group Statement and now joins a coalition of community-leaders, trail advocates, governmental entities and representatives of local organizations to support our Community’s trails.


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