Tue, Feb. 25

Committee discusses annexation vs. incorporation<br>

Bill Bookwalter, Marybeth Carlile and Alan Buckley discussed their recent findings on annexation and incorporation before the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council last month.

The committee of three was charged with researching and compiling a non-biased report on the subject. The decision followed a move by about 13 people last summer to look into the possibility of annexing the Village of Oak Creek into Sedona. Although not well received at the time, the council agreed to research the matter for future reference.

Bookwalter summarized the services and advantages to annexation in a short presentation to council members.

He said additional services VOC would gain would include police protection (five officers and one squad car), public works (roads); planning and zoning, building inspections, legal services, administration and municipal courts. He said it would require less transition, less duplication and provide a full range of services fairly quickly.

Tax dollars would, however, go to Sedona. Included in the mix is state revenue sharing (about 28 percent is highway user funds), which he estimated would be about $1.7 million annually.

If annexed, Sedona would begin collecting a 3-percent local sales tax; there would be an additional 3-percent bed tax for hotels and motels; a franchise tax for water, electricity and natural gas would be extended to VOC; impact fees for new construction at $4,172 per single family residence would be charged. He projected over $4.7 million annually would go to Sedona in additional tax revenue generated in the Village.

Representation on the Sedona City Council would be proportionate to the geographical location of the population, he said.

Although many have voiced concern about the huge sewer debt that Sedona has incurred and its impact on the VOC in annexed, he said Sedona is using one-half of its local sales tax to repay the debt.

Carlile, speaking out on incorporation, said that is a complex way to go, but does provide two big advantages: to keep "the seat of power in the Village" and the revenues generated in the Village "would stay" in the Village.

She cautioned that it’s "not easy" to incorporate, however it can be costly and can require a long learning curve.

There are different ways to financially sustain incorporation, she said, including additional local sales tax, bed taxes, franchise taxes, impact fees and business license and permit fees. Revenue sharing would trickle down from the state, if incorporated.

Carlile said that in order to be incorporated, the town is required to have four officers: a clerk, magistrate, engineer and marshal.

She suggested it’s possible to engage in contractual or intergovernmental agreements when getting started. All streets would become the town’s responsibility and the process to incorporate must be initiated by local registered voters.

For a copy of the "Annexation, Incorporation AD HOC Committee Report, send $2 to: Big Park Regional Coordinating Council, PO Box 20248, Sedona, 86341.

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