SAN TAN VALLEY — When Vote San Tan Valley released its proposed incorporation map boundaries, Ironwood Crossing resident Nancie Naylor wasn’t surprised that her neighborhood was included.
She knew this was coming, but she wanted no part of an incorporated San Tan Valley, and she knew most of her neighbors didn’t either. They had other plans, and were not happy that they had not been asked if they wanted to be included in the map.
Naylor is a board member of the Ironwood Crossing Annexation Committee, a group of seven residents that has been working since May to facilitate the annexation of their community into Queen Creek. Despite being included in Vote San Tan Valley’s incorporation map, they plan to continue with the process to join Queen Creek.
“Most of us thought we were buying in Queen Creek,” Naylor said, “We’ve been in Queen Creek’s plans since 2008.”
Most residents want those plans finalized. A poll was conducted as part of Queen Creek’s annexation procedure that had about 600 respondents, with 90 percent in favor of annexation.
Beth Riley, who is also on the annexation board, has been skeptical of the annexation effort from the get-go.
“Our basic feeling is they don’t have a chance of incorporating successfully,” Riley said.
She is skeptical that an incorporated San Tan could raise enough money to match Queen Creek’s current operating budget of $213 million, and Queen Creek is smaller than the proposed San Tan Valley.
While other sources of revenue have been proposed, “the problem is we haven’t seen any specific numbers,” Riley said. “It seems impossible that they won’t be raising taxes.”
The residents wonder why there still have been no concrete budget numbers released to show how the incorporation will be fiscally possible if Vote San Tan Valley actually has a viable plan of action.
Based on her calculations, Riley will save money as compared to what she currently pays by annexing into Queen Creek, as she won’t have to pay Rural Metro for emergency services. The only additional cost she would incur would be the Queen Creek public safety tax, which for her would be cheaper than Rural Metro’s fees. The public safety tax is calculated with 1.95 percent of every $100 of assessed limited property value, which is determined by Pinal County.
Above all, Naylor and Riley both doubt the capability of Vote San Tan Valley to pull it off and would prefer to be part an established town like Queen Creek.
“We understand they have concerns about being encroached upon,” Naylor said. “What they are trying to do is honorable and respectable, but they have a lot of naivety.”
Rey Torres, steering committee member at Vote San Tan Valley, said that the projected revenue based on the population count for the proposed incorporation boundaries would be released in a few days once it was finished by the county, and that a budget would be forthcoming.
“We’re not putting out any numbers that might be false or misleading until we get that data from the county,” Torres said.
The incorporation plan currently does not prohibit Ironwood Crossing from annexing into Queen Creek. Vote San Tan Valley was aware that Ironwood Crossing was trying to annex, but they were forced to add it in anyway due to regulations that prohibit them from drawing in county islands. If Ironwood Crossing annexes, then there is no island, but it will need to do so before San Tan Valley is incorporated.
The Ironwood Crossing Annexation committee is waiting on Queen Creek to give the go-ahead to start the petition, then the committee will need to get 50 percent plus one signature from property owners within the annexation boundaries. Then the annexation must be approved by a simple majority of the Town Council.
To subscribe to the print edition of San Tan Valley Sentinel, call 520-423-8685.