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VAIL, Ariz. (KGUN) — For the first time in a decade, there’s a push to make Vail an incorporated town or city.
It’s a move that could be beneficial, but also complicated for the quickly-growing suburban community southeast of Tucson.
“A lot of people move out to Vail because they like the rural nature out here. And I love it too,” said Pima County Planning and Zoning Commission chair David Hook, who lives in Vail. “It’s a very rural. But when I was growing up in Phoenix, there were a lot of rural areas that are now cities and towns.”
Hook leads a committee called “Incorporate Vail, AZ?” The name, much like the idea itself, still has a question mark.
“It’s the voters of Vail that would make this decision,” Hook said. “It’s not my decision. It’s not the committee’s decision. We’ve got a great committee, great team. But ultimately it’s Vail that will make the decision.”
In fact, voters did make a decision in 2013. The same question was asked then, with about 55 percent of voters saying ‘No,’ keeping Vail unincorporated.
Now there’s a renewed incorporation effort.
Hook says if there’s enough support this fall, the goal would be to put the question on the ballot in Fall 2023.
While he says the end result doesn’t matter to him and he just wants voters to be informed, Hook personally believes the community would be better off incorporated, largely because it would have more autonomy.
“In 2013, I don’t think the temperature was right yet for people to vote to incorporate,” he recalled. “As Tucson continues to grow, Vail will either be their own community, or maybe get subsumed by Tucson. So we have to—Now’s the time to determine ‘Do we want to direct our own future, or do we want to be part of somebody else’s future?’”
As a city or town, Vail would also be entitled to money from the state of Arizona, such as a share of state sales tax revenue.
But it also opens the door to new taxes for those who live in Vail, like sales or property taxes.
“When you do become a town, there is a cost involved,” Hook said.
That cost goes toward establishing departments to handle utilities, roads and more.
Vail currently partners with Pima County Sheriff’s Department and Rincon Valley Fire. But as a town or city, it would have to decide whether to establish its own public safety departments.
“You have to have an attorney, you have to have an administration, you have to have a council, you have to have a mayor. All of those things. But that’s the bare minimum,” Hook advised.
For some, that could be a dealbreaker.
“People do not want another layer of government,” said Hook. “People don’t trust government. Government is a bad word today. And you tell people we’re gonna have another layer of government and people get scared about that.”
After already hosting hundreds in local meetings on the topic, there are six additional neighborhood discussions scheduled for September.
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