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Why San Tan Valley should be Afraid of Annexation

Why San Tan Valley should be Afraid of Annexation

Copper Basin and R-2 Zoning
I have heard the concerns from a couple of people who live in Magic Ranch at the Florence Town Hall meetings about their concerns with apartment zoning behind their home. Their main argument is that multifamily housing will hurt their property values. Upon review of the annexation map I learned that they are not the only ones affected. Florence wants to zone the land directly south of Copper Basin with a mega multifamily (R-2) zoning. If their practice comes to fruition the intersection of Hunt Highway and Arizona Farms will become the most congested area in the county as far as population.

Johnson Ranch and R-2 Zoning
Not only do the zoning concerns affect Copper Basin. Florence plans to zone two key sections immediately adjacent to Johnson Ranch near Bella Vista. They also are reflected as R-2 zoning which can be either duplexes or apartments. With the influx of R-2 zoning to our communities it concerns me that my own property value may be affected. If I choose to sell my home later who would want it if its next to an area zoned for apartment living?

Prison Town and Alleged Corruption
Many of you know that Florence has a reputation as a prison town however many of the citizens within the town also consider it a corruption town. All you have to do is ask anyone there who is not a fan of the mayor; that’s about half the town. I asked one resident if they don’t like the mayor why do they keep electing him. They explained that many of his supporters are family and friends he owes favors to. So when he was kicked out of office a few years ago those same supporters held a special election to vote him back in office.

A few months ago I was watching the news and a report regarding a federal lawsuit by two former detectives against the Town of Florence was the topic. Apparently the officers say they were wrongfully terminated from their jobs for questioning the whether their superior, a lieutenant, had destroyed evidence associated with a 2007 rape investigation. Also named in the lawsuits are Mayor Rankin, the police chief and other officials whom are believed to conspired to cover up the firing. Read article here

Racism
If there was ever a good reason not to be part of a community then racism has to be it. There are numerous articles that center on Mayor Rankin and his use of the “N” word when referring to black people. According to the Phoenix News Times, Rankin has even admitted to using the word on occasion. Phoenix News Times wrote an article in December 2013 entitled Tragic Consequences Follow Mayor Tom Rankin's Control of Politics and Police in Florence. The article depicts rouge leadership and an iron fist against anyone who opposes him. Rankin claims to not mind being part of the “good ole boys” and even attempts to justify his comments towards minorities. One thing for sure is if San Tan Valley ever becomes part of Florence, Mayor Rankin will have to go. Read article here

Lawsuits
It is troubling to ever hear of lawsuits against any municipality however for a town so small Florence has pending lawsuits ranging in the hundreds of millions. The funny thing is some of our neighbors south of us truly believe the largest lawsuit is behind them. A few months ago Florence settled a minuscule portion of their lawsuit with Florence Copper. They are the company who plans to mine for copper in Florence. However according to multiple experts the town official’s illegally confiscated their land. The town attempted to lowball Florence Copper with a $8.9M offer. Now the latest figures show Florence Copper came back with a $403M offer to Florence to settle. Let me say that again; to SETTLE. I am sure the town maintains municipality insurance of some sort however I am pretty sure it would not come close to covering $403M. I may not know everything however I do know I do want my tax dollars going to any lawsuits and this one looks like it could cost taxpayers hundreds of dollars a year Florence Copper: price for our property is $403 million.  Read article here

Taxes & User Fees
Another important reason not to be baited into the annexation argument is the amount of taxes we would be paying. I am not just talking about the regular property taxes. Imagine every existing service you enjoy today being taxes by the town. Now add what the town calls “User Fees” to the conversation. “User Fees”, more commonly known as Franchise Fees, is basically a surcharge that the town adds to your services and the things you order which is mandated to be collected by the vendor. So your current bills (natural gas, internet, phones, electricity, etc.) that are not services provided within the town will automatically add additional taxes to your monthly payment. In the end some homes with lower property values could potentially be paying more in “User Fees” than their actual taxes.

Conclusion
So from what I gather, annexations may not always be a bad thing. It primarily depends on the type of leadership you have representing you and whether you feel you can truly afford the new taxes and user fees. However, Florence’s tribulations with lawsuits, alleged racism and corruption adds a new dimension to the story. The Town of Florence wants to swoop in after the work has been done and claim the credit for all the growth that has happened to our community for the last ten years. And lets not forget who stopped us from having the option to becoming our own city a few years ago. Greed is a terrible thing. In essence, how can a town honestly move forward when the Town of Florence residents continuously re-elect leaders who are mentally stuck in the past?

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Saturday, 13 July 2024

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