The 6 mile rule refers to how communities are able to vote on whether or not they want to become a city/town. Years ago, when the 6 mile rule was created, it was a standard law that applied to all communities and counties across Arizona. The rule stated that if a community wished to put an initiative on the ballot, allowing their registered voters to vote YES or NO on whether they wish to become a city, permission by way of a resolution, must be given from any city/town within 6 miles of the community’s future boundary. That rule has allowed cities/towns, regardless of population size, veto power over the initiative, thereby preventing communities from having the right to vote on the issue.
Our community has been trying to vote on whether or not it wants to become a city since 2004, but the Town of Florence has blocked the vote with every attempt. The last effort to vote on whether or not to become a city was back in 2010, when all steps required by statute were followed. While resolutions were given by the Town of Queen Creek and the City of Mesa, the Town of Florence withheld their support and again blocked the initiative from going on the ballot. So here was a community of over 80,000, at that time, who had their right to vote blocked by a community of less than 10,000. (Apache Junction was also in opposition, however they were more than 6 miles away and therefore a resolution was not required.)
Then in 2011, a small community called Vail, in Pima County, lobbied for their representatives to change the 6 mile. Their bill became law. That law changed the 6 mile rule to allow communities with more than 15,000 people to move forward with a vote, without needing the resolution from neighboring cities, unless that community was in Pinal County. In 2013, the Right to Vote effort began and since then, we have been working with legislators to change the law to allow all counties to have the same right to vote on the type of government that governs them. That is what the Right to Vote effort is about. We are working to change the language so that the law will allow communities with over 15,000 (which is current law) to move forward with a vote and NOT need a resolution from any city/town that is SMALLER than the community looking to vote, which in my opinion is a better law than what currently sits on the books for the other counties as well.
The legislation does NOTHING at all to incorporate the area – it simply allows the residents/registered voters in San Tan Valley, the right to decide if they’d like to vote on whether or not they want to become a city.
If they decide they want to, then we will work to get the issue on the ballot without another outside community having the right to block it. Ironically Vail, AZ who had worked to change the legislation back in 2011, was able to put the issue on the ballot (because they were not in Pinal County) and their community voted it down. Vail is still an unincorporated community in Pima County, so changing the law in no way guarantees anything. It will however finally allow the residents in San Tan Valley the ability to decide their own future.
Currently there is a petition circulating that can be signed here: http://bit.ly/STVHB2088 - Anyone in Arizona, over the age of 18 can sign this petition. We are working to change an Arizona law, not a San Tan Valley law. The petition will continue to change as our bill progresses through the process so be sure to sign each time you are asked to.
This is not an easy task and the petition will be changed as we progress through this process. When needed, we will ask for residents in the state of Arizona (this is a state law not a San Tan Valley law) to sign the petition, call legislators, attend hearings, etc with the goal being to pass both Chambers and end up on the Governor’s desk for his signature.
If you’d like to stay up to date with what is going on, please feel free to sign up for our Right to Vote newsletter updates here: http://eepurl.com/5oaFP