Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Green Valley Fire Governing Board Approves Boundary Change

The Green Valley Fire District governing board voted unanimously May 4 to add northern Sahuarita to the district’s boundaries, marking the final step in the district’s annexation efforts. There is a 30-day waiting period, set in state law, before GVFD will provide service to the annexed area.

GVFD currently serves the southern half of Sahuarita, as well as the entire Green Valley area. The district sought to annex the northern half of Sahuarita in order to provide fire protection to the entire region, which enhances public safety planning and coordination for the communities of Sahuarita and Green Valley.

GVFD has worked to annex northern Sahuarita for the past year, following the process set by Arizona law, which requires fire districts seeking to annex territory to collect a majority of the number of property owners’ signatures in the annexation area, as well as signatures representing the majority of the property value. Under the law, GVFD had one year from April 28, 2010 to obtain these signatures.

On April 29, the Pima County clerk of the board, who is required to review the annexation petitions submitted by GVFD and verify that the signatures are valid, announced that GVFD had exceeded the signature requirements. Following the clerk’s validation, the annexation was certified by the Pima County Board of Supervisors at their meeting on May 3.

The final step in the process was the GVFD governing board vote today, which officially changed the district’s boundaries to add northern Sahuarita. GVFD must now wait 30 days to begin providing fire service to the area. State law allows any third parties to challenge the annexation in court during this 30-day period.

GVFD is committed to ensuring the community’s safety and responding expediently during the transition phase. In order to transfer services in a seamless and efficient manner from the current provider, Rural Metro Corporation, GVFD has developed a comprehensive transition plan that outlines key dates and procedures for when GVFD would begin service in the area.

GVFD Chief Simon Davis said “For the past year, our firefighters and staff have worked alongside their fellow Sahuarita residents to collect petition signatures. It is extremely gratifying to be able to report to them today that their hard work has paid off. We look forward to providing Sahuarita with the highest quality fire and emergency medical response service and continuing to team up on positive community efforts.”

Regarding the potential for a legal challenge from Rural Metro Corporation, Davis added “it would be disappointing if Rural Metro files a lawsuit and further delays the annexation, especially after our petitions were carefully reviewed and validated by Pima County.”