Legislation would clear way for tax district

Will soon move in Arizona House of Representatives

Legislation is expected to go forward soon in the state House of Representatives that would allow communities near national parks to create a special sales tax district.

Called a "National Park Support District," the legislation is being sponsored by Rep. Bill Konopnicki, Chairman of the Rural Affairs Committee. Advocating for it here are residents and business owners who fought against the move to incorporate Tusayan last summer.

While the language was still being worked out early this week, longtime resident Clarinda Vail said that some details will carry forward from last year's attempt at similar legislation under the name of a Community Facilities District.

If it becomes law, it will take a citizen petition with 10 percent of registered voters signing on, and require a majority vote to pass.

The tax could go up to 5 percent, and funds would be administered by a locally-elected board.

Other services would continue to be left to Coconino County such as planning and zoning, public safety and others.

The legislation also rescinds earlier legislation that permitted small communities near national parks to incorporate.

Vail cited several reasons for the move, saying the community is too small to avoid conflicts of interest.

Last summer, 80 percent of Tusayan's voters turn out to defeat a measure to incorporate the community. One of the benefits would have been the ability to levy a sales tax which would have raised more than $2 million annually.

Those who opposed the move said that even with the revenue, it would be too costly to maintain required town services.

"The prospect of incorporating sparked a substantial debate," said Vail. "Turnout was high. And the people have now spoken. It's time to move away from that divisive proposal with suspect motivations to a mechanism we should all be able to agree would be a positive for Tusayan."

For more information, contact Clarinda Vail at 638-0624.


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