A Reader Submits His Thoughts On Incorporating San Tan Valley
By Mark Linder
Admittedly my fight against the incorporation started solely in the interest of preserving the rural areas in the north end of the proposed incorporation area. The incorporation effort came as an unpleasant surprise that we found out about on accident. One of our neighbors heard about a meeting for the incorporation and we thought we should attend. The meeting was actually a meeting of the steering committee where they were discussing the process of how to get signatures. We started asking questions and it was obvious that the committee did not want to share any answers. We asked to see a copy of the map and were told that it was not ready and they were not allowed to share it prior to filing. They filed the map the next day. We later found that statement regarding not being allowed to share it prior to filing to be completely false and there was nothing that prevented them from sharing the map. It is my belief that they did not want to share the map as they wanted to avoid having any communities request to be excluded from the incorporation. By filing the map the committee effectively eliminated all possibilities for neighborhoods to request to be excluded. That was where our mistrust of the committee started.
As we dug deeper we found that there were more questions than answers. In fact, there were no answers. Why was the map so big? Who did you speak with in each community? What is the budget? What services will be provided? We found committee members with strong aspirations of holding public office but have been unable to get elected elsewhere. We found other communities that either had no idea an incorporation was being attempted or thought that the same map was being used from the 2010 incorporation efforts.
As the committee went through the communities trying to get signatures we heard all sorts of false statements they were making – we would have a fire department; we would have our own police department; we would have a different water utility; we had commercial that was just waiting for the incorporation to pass so they could come in. There was lots of talk about all the services we would get, yet no one was able to produce a budget.
As of yet we still have not seen a budget*. A number of $30million has been discussed as the total that the area will have. A contract with PCSO for law enforcement and the amount that it will take to maintain the roads of the 68 square miles is more than that. So how will the city pay for the other services that were promised? Plus there are employees that the city must have, along with their benefits and retirement. City buildings. Road maintenance equipment. Where is the money going to come from?
Now instead of fighting for the rural communities, we are fighting for San Tan Valley. I believe that we do need a city here. We need a city that can provide those services. Running what would be the 10th largest city in Arizona on $30million is not going to get us there. We need to look at how successful incorporations are done. Incorporate a smaller area. Stabilize it. Work out your services. Start annexing to grow. That is a proven model that has worked time and time again and this is the model that we need to follow.
*Editors note: We received this letter before the budget was released. To see the budget, go to: