By Steve Christy

In Vail, there is a subject of serious discussion that simmers just below the surface. It pops up periodically, and it appears that it is popping up with greater frequency of late. That subject is “Vail incorporation“.

Over the course of my first term, various community members asked me what my views were on the subject. The questions are becoming more frequent, and more pointed, namely, “Do I support or not support Vail incorporation?

Back in 2013, our Vail community went through this issue and Vail incorporation failed at the ballot box. I surmised that the question had been resolved. That incorporation election took place before I took office, and well before my first term began in 2017. It was not on my radar as a pressing issue during my first or second campaign and I had not – nor have I – given it much thought one way or the other during all this time. I had not studied or become familiarized with the incorporation question then and I haven’t now.

Up until now, my response has been that I will support the community in the manner of its own choosing, that it needs to be of its own “self-determination”. Now that the subject is bubbling up again, I have to respond much more directly to incorporation inquiries by saying, “I don’t know”. And that’s the truth of the matter.

I really do not know enough about the pros or cons of incorporation to take an educated position. I would hate to stand in the way of Vail incorporation if there are true and real benefits to the Vail community. Simultaneously, I would hate to encourage Vail incorporation only to find out afterwards that we made a mistake and incorporation has caused more problems than before or than anticipated. Further, I don’t know enough about the incorporation process or how incorporation happens or what it takes to incorporate to formulate an educated opinion.

Moreover, there are many unresolved questions. What is Vail and what are its boundaries? Where do Corona de Tucson, New Tucson, and Rita Ranch fit into the mix? Are they combined or separate entities? How do we see Vail and what do we want Vail to become? Who and why are those in favor of incorporation, those opposed? Do we want or need another layer of government? What about folks who moved to Vail to get away from a city-like setting? What about folks who want a distinct town feeling? And these questions just scratch the surface.

What costs would incorporation bring to Vail residents? What services would be provided or lost, gained or reduced, or enhanced? Who would take care of roads, trash, safety, and police? Simply put, what are the advantages and disadvantages of incorporation? What role does the City of Tucson or the Town of Sahuarita play, or trying to play, with Vail’s future?

One side or the other, Vail incorporation is a terrific subject for community discussion. I would propose that we have that discussion and engage our entire region in it. I would like the Vail leadership groups to instigate and organize a panel of experts who know and can represent both sides of this matter and give us all the answers we’re looking for. Our District 4 Office and the Southeast Regional Council can provide the communication and technical support in a town hall type of setting.

Ultimately, it’s up to Vail community leaders, organizations, and residents to start this process. I don’t know the answers to Vail incorporation and I keep being asked about it. I’m willing to learn all I can about incorporation with all of you, together as a community. Then we can make educated and reasonable decisions, together as a community.

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