Maricopa County officials vote against Rio Verde Foothills tax district for water

Sep 1, 2022, 1:03 PM
(KTAR News Photo/Jeremy Schnell)...
(KTAR News Photo/Jeremy Schnell)
(KTAR News Photo/Jeremy Schnell)

PHOENIX – The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted this week against creating a taxing district to manage water supplies in a rural community east of Scottsdale.

Tuesday’s unanimous vote leaves Rio Verde Foothills with four months to find a way to replace the pending loss of its primary water supply.

Residents of the unincorporated community have been relying heavily on water that gets trucked in and stored in holding tanks, with the city of Scottsdale the main provider.

But Scottsdale will stop delivering water outside city limits at the end of December. Scottsdale announced the move in November 2021 as part its drought management plan, giving Rio Verde Foothills more than a year to prepare.

One proposed solution was the creation of a Domestic Water Improvement District, which requires county authorization. If it had been approved, the district would have taxed residents and charged fees to those who signed up for water service.

Rio Verde Foothills is made up of 4,200 land parcels north of McDowell Mountain Region Park. The county said only 550 parcels, nearly 40% of which are vacant, supported the water district plan.

“I believe supporters of that option want to do what’s right for their community,” Thomas Galvin, the county supervisor for District 2, which includes Rio Verde Foothills, said in a press release.

“However, I do not believe that option promotes the convenience, necessity and welfare for the whole community. There are alternatives that benefit everyone.”

Galvin said the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities in the state, has agreed to get involved.

“We already know at least one supplier is interested in working with the ACC to provide standpipe water service to RVF residents,” he said.

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Maricopa County officials vote against Rio Verde Foothills tax district for water