The Florence Town Council voted to deny the resolution allowing the incorporation of San Tan Valley to reach the ballots in November at the July 6 Florence Town Council meeting. The Town of Florence was requested to consider the resolution because the Town of Florence boundary is within 6 miles of the proposed San Tan Valley boundary, as prescribed by Arizona Revised Statutes.
The Town Council carefully weighed the issues and voted against the resolution. One of the key reasons for the denial of the resolution, as vocalized by the Town Council, was the significant financial impact to the Town of Florence if the incorporation was successful. Estimates provided by the Arizona League of Cities and Towns estimated that the Town of Florence would lose almost $1 million annually in state shared revenues, if an area with 80,000 residents incorporated in Pinal County. The total cost to the nine cities and towns in Pinal County, which represents 187,000 people, is estimated at $6 million annually.
Vice-Mayor Tom Smith commented, “I believe it is important for the Town to be a good neighbor. We respect the members of the committee and good people of San Tan Valley and I honestly believe they should have the ability to vote on whether or not incorporation is the best thing for that area. With that said, I could not vote for this resolution knowing that it would have a devastating effect on the community I represent and love.”
Mayor Kilvinger commented, “The news story on ABC15 about the July 6th Town Council meeting has caused quite a stir. The way in which my interview was edited by ABC15 has caused people to think that I called the people of San Tan Valley bad people or bad neighbors. This is not the case. We have requested that ABC15 post the entire interview on their website so that people can understand what was being said. Make no mistake about it, I do not think that the people of San Tan Valley are bad people or bad neighbors. I was simply making the point that it was a difficult decision to make because I don’t want 80,000 people mad at me or the other council members for making the decision that we made. We were placed in a very difficult position.”
“I would like to extend a hand in friendship to our neighbors in the San Tan Valley area. I propose that the committee, cities and towns, county, and other interested parties sit at the table and find the middle ground”, said Mayor Kilvinger. I don’t know what the solution is, but if we can band together, we should have little problem carving a path that would allow the area to vote yes or no on the incorporation question. Given the economic climate and the way the state laws read, it just wasn’t prudent for the Town of Florence to approve the resolution at this time. However, I have no doubt that a compromise is attainable if we work together”.