By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
In case you haven’t noticed, road construction and maintenance – or lack of it – is a growing problem in the U.S. Many of our roads have not been properly maintained for decades, especially neighborhood streets and less-traveled thoroughfares.
The problem is particularly acute in the state of Arizona, blamed in part on the fact that the state has the lowest gas tax in the nation. That, according to state officials, leaves Arizona’s state and local officials with insufficient funds to tackle all of its crumbling, pothole-filled roads in a timely manner.
In Pima County, the very last roads to be fixed are those County-dedicated streets located in homeowners’ associations. According the Green Valley News, a new County Improvement District (CID) has been formed – Green Valley Council (GVC). About half of HOAs in GVC CID are responsible for maintaining their own roads through HOA assessments, but the other half are supposed to be maintained by Pima County.
GVC was formed as an option for HOAs with County-maintained roads. The concept is simple but controversial. First, homeowners located in HOAs with County roads in need of repair must vote to participate in the CID. A 51% HOA member majority vote is required, and that, of course, means that the minority of up to 49% is forced into the CID – a tax district – against their will.
Homeowners have become pawns in a game of bait and switch. When they purchased their homes, they agreed to HOA assessments that did not include maintenance of private roads, and property taxes that would pay for maintaining and repairing County-dedicated local roads, among other things. Now they are being presented with the option of adding another layer of government and a separate tax.
Once homeowners fall within the working boundaries of GVC CID, if homeowners agree, Pima County will assess all homeowners for the cost of road maintenance. The County may also sell bonds to raise funds. In either case, homeowners are essentially agreeing to an additional property tax to pay for road repairs, in the hopes that Pima County will complete the work in the near future, rather than several years from now.
While some homeowners might be willing to pay Pima County extra tax dollars to fix HOA roads, a CID essentially tackles the problem in a piecemeal fashion. Participating HOAs would be agreeing to pay a premium for faster service. But HOAs that lack the financial resources will be unable to pay – some might say bribe – Pima County to move their community up to the top of the road repair list.
What’s even more disturbing is that, according to the article, “through a CID, repairs are apt to be more of a preventive nature than full rebuilds,” which implies that the County must eventually rebuild the roads at a later time. Does it make sense for HOA members to spend big money on a temporary solution? Isn’t this just a way for Pima County to buy itself more time, in hopes of rasing more tax revenue with inevitable tax increases?
Local HOAs consider paying for their own road repairs
Green Valley News
By Kitty Bottemiller firstname.lastname@example.org Sep 24, 2016
Two Green Valley HOAs have expressed interest in learning more about retaining their property values by fixing deteriorating county roads in their neighborhoods using their own money.
They’re the first to indicate to the Green Valley Council that they may consider fixing their road problems years sooner than Pima County could.
Three HOAs on the county’s north side have formed CIDs — county improvement districts — in which individual neighborhoods or a group of them would raise the funds to have the county supervise road work more quickly, GVC President Don Weaver said.