Now that short-term vacation rentals are legal throughout Arizona, the largest third-party online home rental service is now making things a little easier.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, Gov. Doug Ducey and Airbnb announced an agreement between the online home sharing company and the Arizona Department of Revenue on the reporting and paying of taxes on behalf of Airbnb hosts. The agreement furthers the governor’s vision of embracing new, 21st century business models in the sharing economy that benefit all Arizonans.

In October, Sedona City Attorney Robert Pickels called Senate Bill 1487 one of the worst pieces of legislation he’d ever seen.

Two months later, his feelings haven’t changed.

On Dec. 14, more than 20 members of the city of Sedona staff and council members as well as council members from Cottonwood, Jerome, Camp Verde and Clarkdale met in Sedona City Hall. There, they talked on a variety of issues facing the 2017 state legislature with state Reps. Bob Thorpe [R] and Brenda Barton [R] as well as state Sen. Sylvia Allen [R]. All three represent the Verde Valley.

As the temperatures continue to drop — especially in the northern part of the state — APS officials want residents to know that they’re ramping up their efforts to ensure the lights and heat stay on.

Steve Gotfried and Alan Bunnell, members of APS’ communications team, came to Sedona on Dec. 7 as part of the company’s statewide media outreach. In an interview with the Sedona Red Rock News, they talked on a variety of issues that pertain to Sedona, including the proposed rate increase intervention, winter preparedness and an ongoing APS scam.

Get your last sentimental shots in now, because come January, the unofficial shooting area at the Old Dump in Clarkdale will close.

Due to high levels of lead, arsenic and antimony, the U.S. Forest Service has been mandated to close the area off Forest Road 493 to remove contaminated soil. These three contaminants are all used in manufacturing bullets. No other waste from the old dump — such as hazardous gases — was observed at critical levels. The roads will not be closed. The area is part of the Prescott National Forest. The non-discretionary action is the result of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act and a study taken under direction of Anne Fischer.

It’s been a month since members of the Village of Oakcreek Association voted against short-term vacation rentals. And so far, there’s been little feedback from either side of the issue.

On Nov. 10, the VOCA board met to discuss and announce the results of a ballot sent to each of their members regarding short-term vacation rentals. Until this summer, short-term rentals were banned in Yavapai County [similar to the ban in Sedona]. Senate Bill 1350 was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey, which overrode any county or city law. It’s to go into effect on Jan. 1.

However, homeowners associations were not included in the legislation and remain in a position to regulate themselves, one way or the other.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is making good on a promise to help prevent suicides off Midgley Bridge.

On Friday, Dec. 2, ADOT announced that in partnership with Sedona, the U.S. Forest Service and Coconino County, it will add protective fencing over the next few weeks to the bridge, located north of Sedona on State Route 89A.

Over the last few years, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has been at the forefront of the battle against criminalizing mental health conditions — and now, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, YCSO is getting a helping hand.

With the funds, the YCSO Mental Health Collaboration Program enters its planning and implementation stage. The ultimate goal of the program is to support law enforcement responses such as mental health courts, pre-trial services, diversion and alternative prosecution and sentencing programs, treatment accountability services, training for officers and reentry services to address mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

One man was killed in a three-car collision on Cornville Road near Verde Santa Fe at about 4 p.m. Nov. 23.

Justin Allen Goemaere, 31, of Cottonwood, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. He was riding in the front seat and not wearing a seat belt. Officials are conducting an autopsy.

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