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The Truth About Vail Incorporation

Get the truth about Vail incorporation.Those who oppose Vail Incorporation are presenting arguments against Vail Incorporation that are without substance and heavy on fear mongering. 

Watch a video explaining the facts

If you want the facts, consider the following:

Citizens for Vail Incorporation Proposal:  What has been done?

  • Three years studying multiple options of self-governance in open public meetings by countless volunteers;
  • A Feasibility study which documents our assumptions and provides comparative data from other cities/towns showing we are not just feasible but that we are missing out
  • Reached out to experts from government and the private sector on the matter;

What research has our opposition completed? 

  • They have not cited the source for any of their claims.

Consider their claims versus facts:

CLAIM:  Taxes will go up
FACTOpponents state that taxes will go up but they have no evidence supporting their claim.  In fact, of the last 15 incorporations in Arizona, NONE have implemented a primary property tax.  The Vail Incorporation feasibility analysis DID NOT assume any property tax either.  Why doesn’t the Town of Vail need a property tax is a better question: 

  1.  It’s because we already pay property taxes for fire protection, library services, and schools.  These taxing districts remain independent of incorporation.  For example, there are four fire districts in Marana and two in Oro Valley.  This is a well-established model. 
  2. As more of Pima County incorporates or is annexed, our Pima County property taxes should go DOWN, not up because Pima County won’t have to provide urban type of municipal services. 
  3. There are other sources of revenue that were NOT included in the feasibility analysis including development impact fees, RTA, HURF, LTAF, 12.6, 2.6, block grants, fees, fines, etc.  These were not included in part to be ultra conservative and in part because there is a process to attract these funds and it takes time. 

Risk of additional taxes is not historically accurate.  Claims of higher taxes are not supported with any references.  The real risk is continuing to pay taxes to other entities and expecting that they will indirectly benefit us. 

CLAIM:  Business development is enticed by population, not incorporation
FACTActually, it’s both population and incorporation.  Businesses will open when there is sufficient economic base and supported infrastructure in place.  Towns can enact regulations that make it business friendly.   Finally, according to the Chamber of Commerce, businesses prefer to locate in cities and towns over unincorporated areas because of the consistency of infrastructure, better public safety, and incentives.

CLAIM:  Vail will not have Emergency Funds
FACT:  Assuming Proposition 403 passes, from November 5, 2013 to June 30, 2014, Vail will receive almost $200,000/month in state shared revenues BEFORE Vail must start to provide its own services.  This will give Vail a chance to build an emergency fund and to help the town get established. 

In addition, the feasibility analysis included insurance and liability premiums to protect the Town of Vail against accidents and lawsuits.  All municipalities carry similar insurance.

CLAIM:  Marana, Oro Valley, and Sahuarita faced insolvency
FACTClaims that our neighboring towns faced insolvency is not supported with any factual documentation.  Towns are required to balance their budget on an annual basis and if revenue does not exist, expenditures must be cut. 

Arizona state law requires cities and towns to provide a balanced budget.  By statute, an Arizona city or town cannot budget to spend more than they receive.  Insolvency is a gross exaggeration because insolvency means there are more liabilities than assets.  NO ARIZONA CITY or TOWN has ever filed bankruptcy or been insolvent. 

CLAIM:  Vail can’t afford Parks and Libraries
FACT:  Parks are funded by development impact fees – the question we should ask is why haven’t these fees been spent on parks yet?  It is anticipated that the Town will adopt impact fees as well and will be required to spend them on three items – public safety, parks, and roads.  Source: ARS 9-463.05

All Pima County property owners pay into the Pima County library district.  As such, Pima County is responsible for libraries.  This doesn’t change with incorporation.  Our closest library is on Golf Links and Harrison in the City of Tucson but we do get the Bookmobile in Vail.  Marana, Oro Valley, and Sahuarita all have libraries paid for by Pima County.  A new Town will have more leverage to get one located here.

CLAIM:  Pima County will provide better roads
FACT:  Last year, Vail residents paid $688k in taxes for road maintenance but only received $417k in services (including Pima County overhead).  The three years before that, Pima County spent even less—less than $200k each year.  The major road improvements that have occurred such as the repaving of Camino Loma Alta were funded through impact fees.  Future impact fees would be under the auspices of Vail.  The County has such a huge backlog of failing roads that Vail will continue to be a “donor” community for many years to come.  Pima County has NO money for road maintenance.  With incorporation, Vail will have MORE road maintenance money, at least $688k per year (not including other funding sources) and with lower costs.

Colossal Cave road was scheduled for a major renovation in 2000.  In the past 13 years, Pima County has diverted funds away from Colossal Cave road and it is now listed as an “unfunded reserve” project in the regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).  That means it is also unfunded for at least five more years!  Every time you drive on Colossal Cave road, ask yourself if you are happy with the condition of that failing road.  If Pima County has so much money, why haven’t they fixed Colossal Cave road.

CLAIM:  Vail will get less police service than we currently get
FACT:  Today the Sheriff’s 665 square mile Rincon District is patrolled by 12 officers based on a 7x24 coverage model.  The feasibility analysis assumes 12 officers for 35 square miles instead.  That’s BETTER coverage for LESS cost!  Obviously, police protection is a function of need, so as our needs go up, we can contract more officers as needed.  If Pima County doesn’t want to provide these services to us under contract, Vail can contract with other service providers.

CLAIM:  Using the Green Valley model governance is better
FACT:  This concept was floated to Vail residents in a 2011 town hall meeting.  Out of the five options of governance, the Green Valley model came out next to last earning only 6% of the vote.  First, the Green Valley Coordinating Council is funded by through surcharge on their HOA dues.  This IS, in essence, a property tax.  Second, it requires a lot of volunteers which works for them because of the large number of retirees.  Vail doesn’t have the same demographics.  Third, the Green Valley model doesn’t guarantee any specific outcome. Fourth, the Vail Community Action Board (VCAB) already functions somewhat like Green Valley.  The VCAB has endorsed Vail Incorporation.  Fifth, the Green Valley model doesn’t come with money.  Incorporation guarantees state shared revenues estimated to be $3.5 m in 2014. 

Ironically, the CLAIM no to taxes yet the Green Valley model implements the HOA surcharge which is essentially a property tax!  Do you want to pay higher HOA fees with no guaranteed return?

CLAIM:  Experienced government is better than inexperienced government.
FACT:  The US Congress is a very experienced governing body and we’d all probably agree it’s not working so well right now.  Experience doesn’t guarantee success.  In fact, it’s more likely to mean bloat and inefficiency.  Just ask a home builder where they’d rather build a home – in unincorporated Pima County or in Sahuarita?  They will tell you it’s much easier to build in small towns like Sahuarita.

Small, local government is more efficient than a bureaucracy 25 miles away.  Vail would need to hire an experienced town manager and town clerk to help it move along the learning curve, but there are groups that specialize in startup municipal management that can help Vail move forward very quickly and very professionally.

CLAIM:  The Pima County Fairgrounds wanted out and that hurts Vail.
FACT:  The incorporation committee met with the Pima County fairgrounds board multiple times and ultimately came to a mutual understanding that including the fairgrounds would be of marginal benefit to either entity.

Initially, the proposed boundaries included the fairgrounds because under state law, Vail cannot create an unincorporated island.  However, Pima County is legally allowed to create an island which is an action they ultimately took.

CLAIM:  We are already represented by the Pima County board of supervisors.
FACT:  Vail is in Pima County District 4 represented by Ray Carroll.  He is only one voice on the Board, so, his ability to push through an agenda, even if he wanted to in our behalf is quite limited.  Additionally, our interests are not always aligned with Summerhaven or Green Valley.  They are over 25 miles away and composed of a completely different demographic. 

Under local Vail government, we’d have seven representatives all of whom live in Vail rather than one representative who lives in Tucson and is responsible for a large part of the County. 

You may still be asking, "Is more government the answer?" Read a recent article regarding incorporating Vail on

We urge voters to study these issues carefully and not base their decision on what "could" go wrong.