Annexations by Northwest area fire districts are blooming this spring as quickly as desert flowers. The Northwest Fire District has four annexations in progress, Mountain Vista Fire District has one, and Golder Ranch Fire District has the largest annexation of them all.

Northwest Fire is offering annexation petitions in four areas that currently don’t have fire district coverage. Annexation areas include Silverbell, Marana Estates, Camino de Oeste II and Blue Bonnet.

Carla Reece, Northwest Fire’s administration service manager and annexation coordinator, said the Silverbell annexation is a small area of four parcels on the west side of Silverbell Road in the Twin Peaks area. Total assessed value of the parcels is $123,785.

In order for an annexation petition to succeed, a fire district must get 50 percent plus one of the property owners approval, and have 50 percent plus one dollar of the total assessed value of the properties represented.

In the case of the Silverbell annexation, three property owners must agree to annexation with $61,894 in property value.

The Marana Estates annexation lies east of Interstate 10 in the Marana Road area, consisting of 31 parcels of houses built in the 1930s and 1940s, with a total assessed value of $288,854, Reece said.  Seventeen property owners representing $144,428 in assessed value must sign the petition in order for it to succeed.

The Camino de Oeste II annexation, in the southwest quadrant where Camino de Manana and Camino de Oeste meet, covers 25 properties with a total assessed value of $920,647. Fourteen property owners, representing $460,325 in assessed value, must sign the petition to have it succeed.

The Silverbell, Marana Estates and Camino de Oeste II annexations have March 27, 2013 deadlines.

Northwest Fire’s fourth annexation in the area, Blue Bonnet, is in the Blue Bonnet and Linda Vista Road area, primarily on the west side of Blue Bonnet Road. It encompasses 28 parcels, mostly of residents in that area who have approached Northwest Fire for annexation, Reece said. The total assessed valuation of the properties is $835,832. Fifteen property owners, representing $417,917 in assessed value, is needed for the annexation to succeed.

Northwest Fire plans to hold a public hearing on the annexation in May.

Reece noted that since last year’s Camino de Manana annexation failed, Northwest Fire had made 23 single parcel annexations of properties in that area, which are adjacent to the fire district.

Reec said Northwest Fire is also assisting Rillito residents who want dedicated fire protection to form a new annexation initiative. Previous annexation efforts in Rillito fell short of needed signature counts.

Northwest Fire District’s tax rate is $2.41 per $100 of secondary assessed value.

Mountain Vista Fire District is seeking to annex 548 parcels with a total assessed valuation of $11,005,615 in the Camino de Manana area, according to hief Ed Wilkerson.

Wilkerson noted the annexation area takes in a large number of the properties covered by last year’s unsuccessful Northwest Fire annexation, excepting properties in Northwest Fire’s Blue Bonnet, Camino de Oeste II and single parcel annexation areas.

“We first moved forward with an annexation nearly the same as Northwest Fire did last year,” Wilkerson said. “But, when Northwest Fire laid down its two smaller annexations (Blue Bonnet and Camino de Oeste II), we withdrew our effort, redrew boundaries to carve out the Northwest Fire areas, refiled the petition with Pima County and held a public hearing April 3.”

Wilkerson said that of the 70 people who attended the public hearing, more than 40 were from the annexation neighborhood and 19 property owners signed the petition that evening. He noted that 275 property owners representing $5,502,809 in assessed property value must sign the petition in order for it to be successful.

Mountain Vista Fire District is offering residents in the annexation area a one-year subscription service to cover them for fire protection while the annexation process proceeds. The subscription cost is the fire district’s tax rate of $1.299 per $100 in secondary assessed value, plus 10 percent, Wilkerson said.

“We think Mountain Vista, like Northwest Fire, is doing the right thing in trying to give people an option for fire coverage,” Wilkerson noted. “This is not a competition between Mountain Vista and Northwest Fire. Northwest Fire is a fine fire service organization, as is Mountain Vista, and at the end of the day people will have a choice for some type of organized fire protection in their community.”

Golder Ranch Fire District’s Catalina Foothills annexation takes in seven square miles, of which about five and a half square miles are already developed, said Golder Ranch’s community services division chief John Sullivan. The area runs from Hardy Road east of Oracle Road to Skyline Drive, south of Orange Grove Road and east to Campbell Avenue, including La Encantada on the northwest corner of the Campbell Avenue and Skyline Drive intersection.

There are approximately 3,000 parcels in the annexation area, Sullivan pointed out, with a total assessed valuation of $127,372,523.

Some of the neighborhoods included in the proposed annexation are Shadow Hills, Rancho Sin Vacas, Catalina Foothills Estates No. 9, Cobo Catalina Hills, Pima Canyon Estates and Santa Catalina Estates.

Sullivan said he expects Golder Ranch to begin circulating annexation petitions in July, but for the time being the fire district is talking with members of the community through neighborhood meetings and other public gatherings.

“Annexation is about the people, so before we approach them with a petition form, we want them to have adequate information to make an informed decision,” Sullivan said. “Every month we’re meeting with different folks, seeking to address their needs and answer their questions.”

Currently the area is served by Rural-Metro through subscription service, Sullivan pointed out. Annexing into the Golder Ranch Fire District, he said, would give the entire community its own emergency services provider. Property owners would pay for the service through taxes, he added.

Golder Ranch Fire District’s tax rate is $1.59 per $100 secondary assessed value.

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