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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : letters September 26, 2016

9/22/2012 1:05:00 PM
Letter: Time running out to vote for annexation


The Verde Santa Fe (VSF) annexation voting period is almost over. There is less than two weeks left to vote for VSF annexation into the City of Cottonwood. If you are a new VSF resident (Turnberry, La Privada, Amante, Dorado, etc) or if you just have not voted yet, I urge you to seriously consider voting for Cottonwood annexation.

I am not a member of the VSF residents for annexation committee but I have taken the time to consider the pros and cons of annexation. In my opinion, the pros of annexation are huge.

First, we would have a police presence. Currently, any VSF reported crimes are handled and investigated by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department. The difference in response time is significant. The response time for Yavapai County is about 20 minutes. If a potential major crime occurred such as a missing person, I would much rather have the Cottonwood police investigate it than the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department. Also VSF has had several burglaries in recent years and to my knowledge they were not even investigated.

Second, there is the property tax benefit. If VSF is annexed into Cottonwood, VSF homeowners will see a large reduction of their property taxes. On my 2012 property tax bill that I just received, my $1,967 bill would be reduced by $532 (this is a 27 percent reduction in annual property taxes). The City of Cottonwood does not have a City property tax. So if annexed, no additional property taxes will be added to VSF tax bills. Only property tax reductions will occur.

Furthermore, VSF residents pay $40/month in sewer fees. Cottonwood sewer fees are about $17/month. There is a very real possibility the City of Cottonwood could help reduce VSF residents’ monthly sewer fees by purchasing the sewer plant.

The ambulance service is another issue that I have heard discussed a lot. VSF residents get “free” ambulance service if they have no insurance or get a portion of it “free” if their insurance only covers a portion of the bill. If annexed, each resident will have to pay for their own ambulance service. Nothing is really ever free. The cost of this service is currently paid for by our property taxes, which fund the Verde Valley Fire District. I personally have health insurance and am a proponent of everyone paying for their own service. Right now, if you have never used the ambulance service or if you have health insurance that paid for your ambulance bill, you are paying for other residents to use it for “free.”

Every time you shop in Cottonwood, you are paying Cottonwood City sales tax. As Cottonwood residents, we would have a voting voice in City issues on how this money is spent.

The cost of street repairs and maintenance for gated communities is paid for through HOA dues. If annexed, the City of Cottonwood would be responsible for all costs to upkeep our streets. In the coming years, this will be a significant expense for the HOA if annexation does not occur.

There is less than two weeks left to vote for annexation. If you would like to vote for annexation or would like more information, you can call the Cottonwood Community Development Office at 634-5505.

Beth Fangman

Verde Santa Fe Resident


Related Stories:
• Editorial: Win or lose, annexation is always a fair process
• Letter: What about a debate?
• Letter: Annexation no guarantee of improvement
• Letter: Just the facts, please, on annexation

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Article comment by: Committee To Keep VSF in Cornville

More publicity for the pro annexation effort.
After the City Manager told us firmly in public meeting that the annexation effort would be funded by the Committee, the city has at least twice mailed petitions on City letterhead and envelopes to out of town homeowners.
The City Manager further advised that he didn't expect annexation to result in additional costs to the city. He specified that there would be no new employees, no new vehicles. So how many services do you think he plans to provide to VSF with the same staff, the same vehicles and no additional cost. We would either get nothing or there would be increases which, of course, we'd have to be part of paying for. You can't have it both ways: better services with no cost?
Since we have at least these two instances where we were directly told lies, how can we believe any of the claims for better anything?
Do you believe in the Easter Bunny, too?

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Article comment by: scare tactics really??

If the facts scare you, maybe you better decide which is scarier, the City of Cottonwood or the truth. Sounds to me like you have no idea why some in VSF want to annex and why most don't

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: J Spur

Dont we all just love all this fine information that some can make up to scare us aware from annexing. Point is we are already part of Cottonwood so why not get involved in the future of our community. Stop letting the scare tactics make us do things that will only hurt us in future.

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: Rollin Hook

It is shameful that regarding an issue as important as the annexation of Verde Santa Fe to the City of Cottonwood that a VSF resident would write a Letter to the Editor promoting annexation by falsehoods. This is exactly what resident Beth Fangman did in her Letter titled "Time running out to vote for annexation," which was publish in the September 23 issue of the Verde Independent.
First Falsehood: The Letter said, "If annexed the City of Cottonwood would be responsible for all costs to upkeep our streets." Not true for the gated sub-divisions. As discussed in the public meetings, a gated subdivision(s) would have to petition the City to take over responsibility to maintain and repair their streets. There is no guarantee that the City would agree to do this. The added financial burden on the City would be a significant consideration and the City could refuse the petition(s). The City would not consider VSF streets for maintenance and repair until the adjacent property owners have brought them up to acceptable standards. If the City agreed then the gates would have to be removed and the streets would become "public streets" and would no longer be private streets. Anyone resident and nonresident alike could travel these streets. Anyone has access and may bring problems not now found in gated subdivisions.
Second Falsehood: The Letter said, "The cost of this service (ambulance service) is currently paid for by our property taxes, which fund the Verde Valley Fire District." False! Tax revenues are not required to provide the ambulance service. The revenue received from the insured residents of the District and from nonresidents of the District, insured or not insured pays for the ambulance service.
A Third Unrealistic Assertion: The Letter asserts, "There is a very real possibility the City of Cottonwood could help reduce VSF resident's monthly sewer fees by purchasing the sewer plant." This is a farfetched speculation. The City has attempted to purchase VSF Wastewater Co. twice and their offers were refused. If VSF is annexed the City may intensify its effort to purchase this cash cow. The sewer rate for VSF residents may or may not initially decrease. Somebody has to pay for the purchase. And who is this somebody? They are the residents of Cottonwood including VSF if annexed. In the long run being in the City everyone's sewer rates will increase in the future. Why? The City's older sewer system infrastructure is the why. Its just old and getting older. The City of Cottonwood has said in writing (*): "Wastewater Issues The City of Cottonwood Wastewater Treatment Facility is slowly reaching its capacity and the infrastructure is getting more difficult to maintain. Also consider this. If the City purchases the sewer system they could impose an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of the effluent brine from water softeners. Some cities are now doing this.
(*) See:
Rollin Hook
VSF, Cornville

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: where have you been???

I still don't know why people that moved to VSF, in Cornville, and in the County want to be a part of Cottonwood. Why didn't you just move there in the first place. Those of us who did know where we were going to live, love it the way it is. Your points are not factual in the first place, and you left two divisions of VSF off your list. The Sheriff's dept does respond in 15-20 minutes and it it serious enough to be here sooner, they contact the Cottonwood Police to cover. Hasn't happened since I moved here. If someone is missing, you have to file a missing persons report and it would ber responded to in the same amount of time no matter who is covering. You talk about the sewer fees, The owners of the VSF sewer are not going to sell to Cottonwood, so you fees would remain the same even if you lived in Cottonwood. You are right, nothingis "free", the amount of money that you pay on your taxes to VVFD covers what the insurance company doesn't pay. You are lucky that you have your own insurance coverage, check with them and find out how much they would pay and how much you would pay. Bet it isn't as low as your property tax to VVFD. Your street would not be paved by the City if you live behind gates, That is private property and they said in all the meetings that were held, they would not be responsible for them. Check your facts. As far as spending money in Cottonwood, I shop in Sedonal, Camp Verde, Jerome, Clarkdale, Prescott and Flagstaff. I am also paying thier sales tax so lets drop that old song. Most of us don't want to annex, but in two that will finally be over and we will remain Cornville, COUNTY.

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Another layer of government to pay for

Make no mistake about it: if VSF is annexed, the city of Cottonwood can tax your property at any time.

Make no mistake about this either: if annexed the city will immediately institute a 3% sales tax in VSF.

That means any and all rental properties in VSF will have a new 3% cost, payable every month to Cottonwood city hall.

If you are a landlord, you have to pay it. If you are a tenant, your rent will probably go up by at least this amount. No way around it, and 3% is a significant chunk of change in this economy.

Plus, the County will still tax your property. That won't go away. You just add another layer.

It is categorically false to state that "if annexed, no additional property taxes will be added to VSF tax bills."

After the real estate bubble burst, the Cottonwood city council came precariously close to levying a property tax. This is all well documented.

On top of that, Cottonwood seems hell bent to annex the 10 square miles of state trust land. If and when that happens, as a city resident you will be liable for providing all city services out there. And if it's one thing we've learned, it's that growth never pays for itself. Current residents do.

Cottonwood cannot tax your property if VSF is not annexed. If VSF is not annexed, there will be no additional 3% sales tax

As the writer states, nothing is really free. Any which way you want to cut it, if you vote to annex you are voting to pay for another layer of government.

Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012
Article comment by: Not all of us live in feed the fear mentality and don't feel the need for

When we bought our home, we knew it was part of Cornville and accepted the consequences of living in a rural area. If you want to live in the city, why don't you move to Cottonwood, where Hummers rumble down the street, and leave VSF alone.

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