The Incorporation Committee has released a Press Release in the effort to communicate with our area to let us know what progress has been made and where they are at with a budget and a plan.
SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. — It’s been three months since the Vote San Tan Valley Steering Committee filed to begin the process for incorporation. As part of that effort, the past months have been filled with community meetings, volunteer training, signature gathering, answering questions on social media, meetings with neighboring municipalities, and many late night phone calls.
Steering Committee member Julie Phillips, whose company did the survey work for the proposed map boundaries, sums it up this way: “We’re all volunteers, not professional politicians. It’s been a learning curve, that’s for sure!”
She and Steering Committee member Daren Schnepf, who are over the volunteers gathering petition signatures, report that almost half of the required 4,700 signatures have been collected. The 4,700 represents 10% of the registered voters within the proposed boundaries of a new San Tan Valley municipality. “But, of course, we’ll collect more to cover any signatures not accepted by the Pinal County Elections Department,” Phillips adds.
Also new this year is the introduction of a budget – one that starts small but supports a new municipality until it can grow. Jeanne Stockton chairs the budget committee, comprised of volunteers who have extensive experience with municipal budgets. The group looked at budgets from communities that have a similar population base and collected information regarding what Pinal County now pays for certain community needs.
“In addition to those items municipalities are required to provide, there is also money set aside for economic development and for a state lobbyist. Monies from the gas tax will cover road maintenance,” she reports.
As for property and sales tax concerns, Stockton points out that neither can be raised without the question being put on a ballot and residents voting whether or not to increase them. Due to previous legislation introduced by Arizona’s governor, sales taxes can’t go on a ballot until 2020, the next even numbered year following a vote on incorporation, expected in 2018.
Stockton reports that it took a longer time than expected to produce a budget, but the committee did not want to give guesstimates. She also stated, “The people of San Tan Valley were asked to stand aside for many years. First, it was to stand aside until the economy improved. Then it was to stand aside until our neighbors could feel more economically settled. So, now it’s our time to stand up for ourselves.”
Bryan K. McCoy, President of the San Tan Valley Chamber of Commerce and a Steering Committee member, says reaction from the business community has been positive. “It has been challenging trying to bring in new businesses. We have found the larger national chain stores prefer to deal with municipalities than counties. Most of the local businesses can see the advantages and are in favor of incorporating.”
Rey Torres, chairman of the PR and Community Engagement Committees, has seen the efforts of SC members bear fruit. Torres states, “We’ve actively engaged various HOAs, rural communities, and elected officials. We have also been warmly received by various neighboring municipalities and external business interests, which will all play a big part of the future success of our community. As part of our 2018 community engagement, we will continue to share details of our progress and address questions and concerns posed by community members.”
Last quarter members of the SC spoke at five meetings hosted by various clubs, the San Tan Valley Chamber of Commerce, or members of various HOA/community groups. In addition, they and other volunteers attended 2-4 events almost every Saturday to gather signatures.
Where do you stand when it comes to incorporating and what questions do you have regarding the effort and this committee? Comment below and let us know what you think.