We hope all of you had a joyous Holiday Season, received the gifts you wanted, caught up on some rest, some relaxation, some fun, with lots of family thrown in the mix. Happy New Year from your District 4 Supervisor’s Office!
With 2023 in the rear view mirror, now is a great time to embrace our New Year optimism and perhaps start imagining about how the Greater Vail Area could develop a more comprehensive form of community governance, representation, and influence.
We have two very successful examples of local representation and engagement that we can draw from in District 4. The first successful example of community involvement and communication is our own Southeast Regional Council. Lucretia Free has developed this mechanism to include individual working groups defined by pertinent topics, affecting our community that meet regularly to gather input, information and ideas. Each quarter, all of the working groups come together as one for a regional SERC meeting. During these quarterly meetings, the working groups hear directly from public officials – city, county, state, and federal – who attend and collaborate with the SERC leadership and the working groups on local issues and concerns. It is important to note that the meetings are open to all area residents. SERC has been extremely successful and has captured the eyes, ears, and interest of all levels of officials, elected and appointed.
The second successful example of another form of community involvement and communication is the Green Valley Council. This entity started fifty years ago with just a handful of HOAs as members. Today, it boasts membership of more than eighty HOAs, has an executive committee, a president and officers, paid staff, membership dues, and a Pima County subsidy. The GVC is comprised primarily of HOAs (most count several hundred-plus rooftops) that elect members to the Executive Committee which meets monthly.
The GVC also includes important “community partners” that attend and participate in all meetings, with no voting capabilities. These community partners include the Green Valley-Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce, the Green Valley Fire District, the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, the District 4 Office and others.
The GVC is a vibrant and robust volunteer-oriented body that also has working groups designated to address pertinent issues, hold seminars, and organize events in the Green Valley community on a regular basis. It also provides community-wide services and acts as a resource of area information and problem solving. The GVC’s working groups and activities have aided Pima County so efficiently and effectively that the GVC receives an annual subsidy from the County totaling over $80,000 in support. The County feels that if it had to send employees and other resources to provide for the Green Valley community what the GVC provides, it would cost County taxpayers much more.
Creating a hybrid of SERC and GVC to serve the Greater Vail area could be interesting. Like Green Valley, the Greater Vail area has numerous “community partners”. However, our Southeast Region does not have the HOA factor that Green Valley does, which makes representation easy and fair for Green Valley but remains a challenge for our Vail area. How would we elect representative membership to a “Council”? How would we select Officers and an Executive Committee? Would we want to assess membership dues and what would they be based on? What would the membership boundaries be and would it include those in the City of Tucson, such as Rita Ranch, or out-lying communities like Corona de Tucson?
These are questions that I believe can be worked out effectively together. Perhaps “membership zones” could be formulated based on areas of similar zoning and acreage. Perhaps creating “ward-like” districts based on population density. There are many positive pathways for us to explore as a community.
There is great opportunity in such an effort that could include paid full-time staff and County financial support. I know we have the will, creativity, and motivation to come up with a plan to provide the Rincon Valley, the Southeast Region, the Greater Vail area or whatever or however we wish to designate our area with the leadership and local governance you desire.
I urge community members to step forward and gather to investigate options and dig deep into the possibilities that will ensure that the Vail-Corona de Tucson area remains “The jewel in the crown of Pima County”.
And you know I love being your Supervisor.
Pima County Supervisor Steve Christy, District 4
33 N. Stone Avenue, Floor 11
Tucson, AZ 85701