2nd town hall in Foothills set for Thursday
Given the overwhelming response by Foothills-area residents to a meeting in February to explore interest in possible annexation or incorporation, another town hall is being held this week to continue the discussion.
The meeting will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 11545 E. 40th St. in the Friel Center.
The Foothills Fire and Rescue Committee is sponsoring the town hall. Topics up for discussion include adequate fire and ambulance services for the area as well as possible annexation, incorporation or maintaining the status quo and the question: Where do we go from here?
Guest speakers will be Yuma City Administrator Greg Wilkinson and Russ Clark, Yuma County supervisor for the area that includes the Foothills. There will be opportunity for community input and questions from the audience.
During the February meeting, there was discussion about possible annexation by the city of Yuma. That's a subject many Foothills-area residents have been adamantly opposed to in the past. But it's gaining support with the recent announcement that residents face a possible 188 percent increase in their sewer rates from the private provider of the service, observed Bob Tallman, who led the meeting.
Another option on the table is the Foothills possibly incorporating to form a legal self-governing body. Benefits of incorporating would include eligibility for share revenue and the ability to form special districts to provide for various services, Tallman said.
However, by state law, an area within six miles of an existing city would need that city's approval to incorporate. Yuma's eastern city limit is right at the edge of the area defined as the Foothills.
The Foothills Fire and Rescue Committee originally formed to address concerns about fire and emergency services. There's been improvement in those concerns through meetings with Rural/Metro, Tallman said, adding that those services “no longer are a big bone of contention.”
The application by Far West Water and Sewer for the large hike in sewer rates, however, has Foothills residents up in arms.
And even if the new rate is based on the Arizona Corporation Commission's suggested 156-percent increase, residents of the densely populated unincorporated area east of Yuma would be paying $55.70 a month to Far West for sewer services.
In contrast, city of Yuma residents pay $32.48 a month for the service.
For more information about the meeting, call 503-4417.