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Wed, Aug. 05

Incorporation petition filed

A petition seeking to put the question of incorporation before Tusayan voters has been submitted to Coconino County officials, who expect the county commissioner to set the date on Tuesday.

According to Best Western Squire Inn General Manager Greg Bryan, who is helping to lead the effort, they expect the question to be on the Sept. 2 primary ballot. He said they collected 32 signatures; 14 were needed to meet the signature requirement of 10 percent registered voters. It will need a simple majority to pass.

Bryan said they will call a series of informational meetings around May and through the summer.

They convened a focus group of about 10 residents last week to get a feel for how residents might want the community to take shape. Housing was a top priority.

"People want to be able to have housing separate from their employment," he said.

If they incorporate, they expect to receive a gift of private land of between 300 and 400 acres in forest inholdings. They would not seek land through the Forest Service's Townsite Act. Bryan said there would be limitations on who would be able to buy and build.

"It would be made as a gift to the city with the caveat that it would not be available for second homes," he said.

He encouraged interested residents to research other functioning municipalities and regulations for ideas on forming a housing authority, zoning board and other services.

If the measure passes, a city council would be appointed by the County Board of Supervisors. They would have until July 1, 2009, to establish ordinances and have a government in place.

The decisions will include whether to establish local services or contract with the county to provide planning and zoning and police protection. Bryan said that there is no requirement to dissolve the existing fire and sanitary districts.

An alternative proposal, to create a special sales tax district is waiting until legislation is passed permitting it and would be on the ballot in the spring at the earliest. Like incorporation, it would also require a majority vote. Sponsored by State Rep. Andy Tobin, it would allow communities near national parks establish a special districts to levy sales taxes. Currently such districts are allowed but are limited to levying property tax. Clarinda Vail, of Red Feather Lodge, said that it has passed the House and was expected to leave the Senate Government Committee Monday. If it passes the Senate and is signed by the governor, it would take 180 days to take effect.

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