Tucson City Council supports Vail incorporation in symbolic vote

2013-02-21T00:00:00Z Tucson City Council supports Vail incorporation in symbolic voteDarren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 21, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Tucson won't stand in the way should the residents of Vail vote to incorporate this summer.

The City Council unanimously approved a memorial Wednesday declaring Tucson's support for incorporation.

Right now, it's just symbolic - Vail residents still need to get an incorporation plan placed on the ballot in August and approve it. But they would need formal city action if the incorporation effort is successful.

"It's a signal that if we are asked for a resolution in the future, (the council) would be inclined to support it," said City Attorney Mike Rankin.

Council support was welcomed by the Vail residents who have been pushing for incorporation for the last three years.

"That was very positive," said Rob Samuelsen, a member of the Citizens for Vail. "Vail was christened a town (120) years ago. We've got a strong identity out there. We've been on maps for more than a century. ... So it's been a long time coming."

Now, the group must get 10 percent of registered voters in Vail to sign a petition for the measure to appear on the ballot.

Samuelsen said the group took out the petitions Wednesday and are collecting signatures.

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

Although Tucson's assent wasn't the final piece of the incorporation puzzle, it did remove a potential major hurdle.

Under Arizona law, Tucson could have blocked an incorporation so close to the city's boundaries.

But most members of the council view incorporation and annexation as beneficial to the region.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild praised the move as a way to capture more of the $1.4 billion in state shared revenue.

"We will get for the region $3.2 million in extra state shared revenue," Rothschild said. "That's services that we're already providing, whether it be at the county or city level, without any additional revenue."

Councilwoman Shirley Scott echoed those sentiments.

"We will all benefit," Scott said. "So I wish them well" in their efforts to incorporate.

The $3.2 million would comprise most of Vail's initial budget.

Any sales tax or municipal property taxes, or other fees, would have to be decided once a mayor and council were seated. The newly minted town would most likely contract out for police service, road maintenance and a few 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.

A part-time town manager and a few other administrative positions would cost $138,000 a year.

It's anticipated the mayor and Town Council would be unpaid.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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