CREATION OF A FIRE DISTRICT
The Board of Supervisors receives an impact statement requesting formation of a district. Those preparing the statement may request help from the Board of Supervisors in the completion of the statement, which must conform with the requirements of A.R.S.§ 48-261(A)(1). Information regarding valuation, taxes, and property ownership, which are needed to prepare the impact statement, is available in the office of the County Assessor and at the State Department of Revenue. A bond should accompany the statement, in an amount sufficient to cover any assistance given by the Board of Supervisors, A.R.S.§ 48-261(C). The bond must cover the cost of expenses incurred by the County if the district is not created. If the district is created, the cost of publication of notices, mailing, and all other expenses incurred by the County shall be paid by the district. No bond is required if there are fewer than 100 qualified electors in the proposed district. If a proposed district is located in more than one county, the impact statement shall be submitted to the board of supervisors of the county in which the majority of the assessed valuation of the proposed district is located. The board of supervisors of any other counties in which a portion of the district is to be located shall provide information and assistance to the responsible board of supervisors.
The Board of Supervisors sets a hearing on the impact statement, to be held no less than 30 and no more than 60 days from receipt of the statement. The Board of Supervisors may require amendments to the statement. The impact statement shall include the following,
- A written legal description of the proposed boundaries. The legal description shall be written using accepted metes and boundaries.
- A detailed, accurate map of the proposed District.
- An estimate of the assessed valuation of the property located within the proposed district, based on the most recent records of the County Assessor.
- A list of all parcels located within the proposed district, identified by assessor's parcel number and including the names and addresses for each parcel which appears on the latest certified roll in the County Assessor's Office and Department of Revenue for centrally assessed properties.
- An estimate of the change in tax liability for a typical property located within the proposed district. Use a median tax rate and a maximum tax rate to show the financial impacts.
- An estimate of the revenues (minimum and maximum) that will be available to the district and the revenue sources; for example, taxes, assessments, grants, users fees. Describe the method used to calculate those revenues.
- A list of the benefits which will result from the formation of the proposed district.
- A list of the injuries which will result from the formation of the proposed district.
- The names and addresses and occupations of the members of the organized board. The organizing board shall consist of three individuals. Subsequent elected boards can consist of either 3 or 5 members depending upon the population of the district.
- A map which identifies the study area that was evaluated in order to set the boundaries of the proposed district and a written outline of the planning process used to establish the proposed district boundaries. (Meetings conducted, distribution of written information, door to door canvassing and reasons for setting boundaries.)
- An outline which describes the types of service under consideration by the proponents of the proposed district.
The Clerk of the Board mails a written notice of the statement and hearing to each owner of taxable property and to each qualified elector in the proposed district and posts notice in 3 conspicuous public places in the area of the proposed district and shall publish twice notice of the hearing. This shall be done no later than 10 days prior to the meeting.
At the hearing, the Board of Supervisors may determine that creation of the proposed district will promote public health, comfort, convenience, necessity or welfare and may approve the impact statement and authorize those who propose the district to circulate petitions. If the Board of Supervisors denies the request for permission to circulate petitions, another request may be filed six months after the date of denial.
The petitions which are circulated must conform to the requirements of A.R.S.§ 48-261(A)(6). Circulators have a responsible time in which to seek signatures. They should be encouraged to turn in completed petitions in a timely fashion to avoid danger of changes in property ownership, which can severely complicate the verification process. Prior to circulating petitions, it is recommended that you have your legal description and map reviewed by the Special Districts Department.
Petitions must be signed by:
- more than one-half of the property owners in the proposed district,
- by people owning more than one-half of the assessed valuation of the area in the proposed district
- more than one-half the qualified electors in the area of the proposed district.
The petitions are presented to the Board of Supervisors, upon receipt of which the Board of Supervisors sets a hearing on the petitions no less than 10 and no more than 30 days from the date of receipt. Prior to the hearing, the Board of Supervisors determines whether the petitions contain the required number of signatures.
If the petitions are valid, at the hearing, the Board of Supervisors approves an Order of Establishment of the district, which shall be completed no later than 10 days from the date of the hearings and which is filed with the County Recorder. The district is considered created 30 days after the Board of Supervisors votes to create it.
The Order of Establishment should contain the dates on which elections may called for this district, including the date of the first election, and the names of members of the organizing board of directors.
The Order should conform to the format required by the County Recorder for recording. The text of the Order must start two inches from the top of each page.
Although the law does not require that the Order of Establishment for the district be recorded, in order to assure that this action becomes a part of the permanent record of the history of the district, and in order to assure that the order is recorded, the Board of Supervisors will take responsibility for recording the order and for providing the district board of directors with a conformed copy of the instrument.
The district board of directors will take responsibility for notifying the Department of Revenue, the United States Department of Justice, the County Treasurer, Assessor, and Elections Department of the established district.
The decision of the Board of Supervisors is subject to judicial review under Title 12, Chapter 7, Article 6 (12-901 et seq.).
The first board of directors of the district, called the "organizing board of directors", shall consist of 3 people named in the impact statement and in the petitions. If there is a vacancy, the remaining members appoint the interim member. The organizing board elects a chairman and clerk from its members. Oaths of Office are completed, the district retains the original, and a copy is sent to the Board of Supervisors.
The organizing board provides the Board of Supervisors with a notice of posting of notices of meetings, in compliance with the Open Meeting Law, and posts a copy at the posting place.
The Board of Supervisors takes responsibility for providing each member of the organization board of summary of the Open Meeting Law.
The board of directors files with the Board of Supervisors a notice of the posting of meeting notices, in compliance with the Arizona Open Meeting Law. The Board of Supervisors returns to the district a copy of the notice, which now is certified by the Clerk of the Board. A copy of the certified notice is posted at the posting place.
- Impact statement is received by Board of Supervisors.
- Board of Supervisors sets hearing on impact statement, 30 to 60 days after receiving
- Clerk of the Board of Supervisors mails notice to property owners and qualified electors and publish notices. 10 days prior to meeting. Assessor's offices have 20 days to provide names of real property owners.
- Hearing is held.
- Board of Supervisors may approve circulation of petitions.
- Petitions are presented to Board of Supervisors.
- Board of Supervisors sets hearing.
- Board of Supervisors determines validity of petitions.
- Board of Supervisors holds hearing.
- If Board of Supervisors approves establishment of district, Order of Establishment is issued.
- Order is recorded and conformed copy sent to new governing body of district.
- Governing body notifies Department of Revenue, United States Department of Justice, County Assessor, Treasurer and Elections Department of establishment.
- Governing body elects chairman and clerk from its members, and completes Oaths of Office.
- Governing body files with Board of Supervisors notice of posting of meeting notices and pots copy at posting place.
- Board of Supervisors provides each member of governing body with summary of Open Meeting Law.