Annexation and incorporation mean more revenue sharing for Pima County

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Pima County has long suffered from a lack of state revenue sharing for one simple reason: state revenue sharing goes to incorporated cities and towns.

Pima County has large areas of developed unincorporated land adjacent to the City of Tucson, which means that Pima County residents have long been subsidizing the state of Maricopa, nearly fully incorporated decades ago, with their tax dollars.

For as long as I have lived in Tucson, mayors of Tucson have promoted the concept of "mountain to mountain annexation" of the Tucson valley. This has always been met with opposition from the unincorporated areas adjacent to the City of Tucson, which has cost Pima County residents millions of dollars in state revenue sharing over the years for infrastructure investments.

The City of Tucson is not blameless. Back in the 1990s, Casas Adobes and Tortolita held incorporation votes, but state law at the time permitted an incorporated city to prevent incorporation within 10 miles of its city boundary. Tucson sued, and Casas Adobes and Tortolita lost in court. Again, this has cost Pima County residents millions of dollars in state revenue sharing over the years for infrastructure investments.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild brings a new vision to this state revenue sharing problem: he continues to support annexation to Tucson but also the city will not oppose incorporation of unincorporated areas adjacent to City of Tucson boundaries.

The "Town of Vail" has a grassroots movement to incorporate on the City of Tucson's eastern boundary (it is part of a larger region on Pima County development maps known as "New Tucson"). The Arizona Daily Star reports, Tucson supports Vail's bid to incorporate:

Tucson officially supports the residents of Vail, should they form Pima County's newest municipality later this summer.

The
City Council, once an ardent opponent of new municipal incorporations,
unanimously passed a resolution supporting the incorporation. The vote
cleared another obstacle on the path to incorporation for the
120-year-old Vail area because existing cities have the ability to block
new incorporations within six miles.

Vail supporters, who have been pushing for incorporation for three years, were pleased by the council's support.

"We're
really appreciative of Mayor (Jonathan) Rothschild and the council,"
said George Mower, president of the Citizens for Vail Committee.
"They've been very supportive. The county's been very supportive. …
Everyone has been very helpful."

The issue still has to be put on the ballot and approved by Vail voters.

Mower
said his group is close to collecting the 722 signatures necessary to
qualify for the ballot. He anticipates filing those within the next few
days.

Once filed, Mower said, it's in the hands of the people.

"We're going to go around and educate people on the issue," Mower said. "But it's up to them to decide."

If
approved, the newly minted town would fetch about $3.2 million in
state-shared revenue
, which would comprise most of the initial budget.

Any
other revenue sources, such as a sales tax or municipal property taxes,
would have to be decided once a mayor and council were seated. It's
likely the fledgling town would contract out for police service, road
maintenance and other services that are estimated to cost about $2.6
million per year. The Vail School District; fire protection; and water,
sewer and trash service would be unchanged.

City staff would be kept at the bare minimum. A part-time town
manager and a few other administrative positions would cost $138,000 a
year. It's expected the mayor and town council would be unpaid.

The proposed town of Vail would cover approximately 43 square miles and have an estimated population of 11,500.

There are more developed and valuable unincorporated areas of Pima County that should follow suit, including the Tanque Verde Valley and Sabino Canyon, the Foothills, Casas Adobes, etc. And there is Green Valley, which has steadfastly resisted incorporation. This is costing Pima County residents millions of dollars in state revenue sharing for infrastructure investments.

Why do you want to send your tax dollars to the state of Maricopa and to subsidize its infrastructure, while Pima County's infrastructure is crumbling due to a lack of funds? You have no right to complain about crappy roads when you are willing to waive bye-bye to your tax dollars to the state of Maricopa, to what end? Annexation and incorporation mean more revenue sharing for Pima County. Just do it.

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