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					ANNEXATION OF COUNTY AREAS Frequently Asked Questions ANNEXATION PROCESS & ZONING
Q 1. A: Why aren’t I already a resident of Gilbert with my children in Gilbert Schools and a Gilbert mailing address? In Arizona, school districts boundaries can be different than municipal boundaries, and there are four public school districts serving the Gilbert Planning Area (Mesa, Gilbert, Higley & Chandler). The Post Office is a federal agency, and they name post offices and identify service areas by their standards which change over time as a result of growth. The Zip Code boundaries and names are determined solely by the Post Office. Arizona law allowed for municipalities to identify planning areas for their future boundaries using strip annexation which Gilbert did in January, 1975. Property inside those planning areas remained within Maricopa County, and could only be annexed in to Gilbert when the property owners wished to be annexed. So while you may believe you are a Gilbert resident, you are not until the area you live in annexes into Gilbert. Q 2. A: How do you annex? By street, block or subdivision? Annexation is completed by subdivision or as large an area as possible. Annexation is a property-owner initiated process. Gilbert can not initiate annexation. We will assist in the annexation process, once requested by the residents. The process is defined in state law, and must be followed. Annexation requires that property owners sign a petition. Annexation can only be completed when a majority of the property owners and the majority of the area property limited(primary) valuation have signed. Full information on annexing and the process to be followed is available from the Planning Department (480-503-6742) or on the website at www.ci.gilbert.az.us. There is no fee for annexation or zoning of existing single family residential property. Can you have an annexation agreement? No. “Conditional” agreements or annexation agreements to get around state, county, or local ordinances are not allowed by law. How is zoning changed in the County as compared to Gilbert? County and Gilbert zoning processes are similar. The County uses a Planning and Zoning Commission similar to Gilbert’s and final approval is by the County Board of Supervisors. Gilbert has an application and review process for zoning changes which includes the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Council. What current County ordinances/uses will be grandfathered under the annexation? What assurances do County residents have that non-conforming uses will not be overturned in the future? State law defines which preexisting, legal, non-conforming uses can continue until the use is changed or expanded. This use “follows the land” so unless the land use is substantially altered or abandoned by the owner the legal use can continue. Remember though, this only applies to legal uses. If a use is illegal in the County, it is likely illegal in Gilbert as well, and can not be “grandfathered”. Will Gilbert zoning and land use be placed upon the property once it is annexed? Yes. Staff will work with the neighborhood at the beginning of annexation and recommend an appropriate municipal zoning classification for an area. The zoning and annexation will be processed at the same time to avoid any confusion or complications. A zoning district will be chosen which best matches the area being annexed. As an example, an acre lot community would be zoned as SF-35 (Single Family Residential use – 35,000 square foot lot minimum). The Land Development Code is available on line at www.ci.gilbert.az.us so you can see what uses are allowed in every zoning district, and the classifications that are available. Will County zoning and land use be transferred with land when we annex into Gilbert? No. By state law Gilbert must convert the County zoning to an appropriate Gilbert zoning classification within six months of annexation. Gilbert tries to accomplish annexation and zoning at the same time to avoid undue delays and confusion.
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Upon annexation, how soon do Gilbert services begin? Services become available 30 days after adoption of an annexation ordinance by the Council. This is a mandatory waiting period by state law.

BUILDING/PROPERTY CODES
Q 1. A: What type of enforcement for code violations (weeds, junk, disabled vehicles, etc.) can we expect? Gilbert makes every effort to insure the health and safety of its residents from potential fire hazards, nuisances, etc. by means of field inspections. The primary reporting for code violations is citizen complaints. When a resident calls in a complaint in reference to a neighbor’s property, an inspection is conducted. These complaints are handled on a case-by-case basis and every attempt is made to solve the problem short of issuing a citation. Can we continue to use electric fences? No. The use of electric fences in residential areas is prohibited by County and Gilbert ordinances. I understand Gilbert requires block fences between properties? No. Gilbert does not require block wall fences between single family residential properties. If you are looking for examples, look at Agritopia near Higley and Greenfield. Gilbert does require block wall separation fences between different zoning districts – like between commercial and residential, or between industrial and residential or between industrial and residential uses. Will additional fences be required around swimming pools? No. An existing complying fence does not have to be changed. Gilbert requires a 5 foot barrier. The County recently adopted new more restrictive requirements on pool barriers, but that does not affect existing pools. Will there be rules on dust control? Rules regarding dust control are County-wide and enforced by the County. Will changes need to be made concerning the height of fences and setback of buildings? No. County and Gilbert codes are the same. Can we continue to park trailers and RVs on the street? Gilbert does not allow trucks in excess of one ton, tractors, semi trailers, trailers, or buses to park on streets in residential areas except to load or unload the vehicle. Can we park trailers, RVs and lawnmowers or tractors in our front yard? Yes. Recreational vehicles such as boats, trailers, and small tractors may be parked on a residential lot on the driveway or in additional parking spaces. This can also be in the side yard, with an improved surface adjacent to the driveway as well. This may be subject to HOA restrictions. Gilbert can not enforce HOA requirements on residential property Will we have to form a Home Owners Association upon annexation? No.

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Q 10. What restrictions will I be subject to if I operate a business on my property? A: You will be required to register as a business as part of Gilbert’s federally mandated business registration program for wastewater monitoring. The annual registration fee is $15. The land development code has restrictions on uses and commercial vehicles stored in residential areas which will apply, except to legal nonconforming uses present at the time of annexation. You may also check the Land Development Code, which is available on line at www.ci.gilbert.az.us to see what home based businesses are allowed in each of the residential land use classifications. Q 11. Can I park my commercial vehicle on my property? A: Maricopa County limits are for one commercial vehicle that must be stored in an enclosed garage. Any vehicle more than 5 tons GVW is prohibited in a rural or residential zoning district. Gilbert allows only 1 vehicle larger than 5 tons GVW on parcels one acre or larger. The vehicle must be parked behind the main building on the lot
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and screened from view from the street or adjacent property by a solid fence or landscaping. Commercial vehicles may not be parked in the front yard or side street side yard for corner lots. Q 12. Will there be changes that affect my animals? A: County codes currently allow for keeping only horses on all properties other than a farm (2 or more contiguous acres) as defined in the Maricopa County Zoning Code. Gilbert allows livestock (cattle, ox, horse, mule, donkey, sheep and goats) based upon a minimum 15,000 square foot lot. Gilbert requires 10,000 square feet of lot for each large animal, and 5,000 square feet each for smaller livestock. You will be allowed to keep the number of horses you have at the time of annexation, given County standards for your zoning district. If you have other farm animals such as cattle, sheep, etc. and have more than 2 acres of property, you will be allowed to keep the type and number of those animals that you have at the time of annexation given County standards. Q 13. Are there any restrictions on the types of animals on my property? A: An individual is prohibited from keeping swine, alligators, and poisonous reptiles on their property. Under County codes, a property area above 2 acres is required in order to keep sheep and other livestock. As noted earlier, on properties less than two acres in size, Gilbert Codes allow more types of animals and livestock, subject to the size of the area available for the number and mixture of animals being kept on the property. Q 14. Can I continue to burn trash and weeds on my property if I annex? A: No. It is illegal to burn trash in Maricopa County unless it is in a licensed and permitted incinerator. Weed burning must be done with a Maricopa County permit. The same Maricopa County rules apply inside Gilbert. Recreational outdoor burning is allowed, so long as Maricopa County Air Pollution has not issued an advisory prohibiting use of fireplaces.

GENERAL
Q 1. A: Will we have to change our address or the name of our street? Yes, your house number will change, but so long as the street name is not duplicated it does not have to change. So long as there is no conflict with another street name in Gilbert, you can choose to keep the same street name or number. This is done to ensure timely response to 9-1-1 emergency service calls. Gilbert will notify the Post Office, County, and other major utility service providers of any changes in address as a result of annexation. Will I have to change the location of my mailbox? No. The U.S. Postal Service controls mailbox locations. You may have to change the house number on your box. Will I have to make changes to the way water drains from my land? No. Most acre lots require on-site retention of water on the property. It is illegal to drain water from your property onto public property or neighboring land. Do we have to put in capital improvements such as sidewalks, streetlights and paved roads? Can Gilbert force us to do capital improvements? No. If we want to make capital improvements, what is the process? If residents desire to have capital improvements constructed, Gilbert will work with you to develop a special improvement district that allows the residents to share in the costs constructing the improvements. Special improvement districts require a majority of the proposed district real property owners to approve by petition before work is started. The costs are then repaid over time by the owners. What is the quality of service we can expect? A scientific survey conducted for Gilbert by Arizona Opinion in the Fall of 2004 found that 9 of 10 residents express satisfaction with their choice of Gilbert as a place to live and the quality of services. Will there be any changes in cable TV services? No. Although Gilbert has some regulatory authority with local cable companies, cable service decisions are made by local companies for service areas, channel offerings, prices, etc. What fees can be raised?
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All Gilbert fees are uniformly applied and must be approved through the Council after public input. Fees have not been different for annexed areas or non-annexed parts of the community to date. What about mosquito control? Gilbert and Maricopa County provide fogging for mosquitoes. Gilbert’s program is in addition to the County program, and applies to all areas receiving flood irrigation. There is no additional cost to the area.

ROADS
Q 1. A: Will Gilbert improve the roads beyond what presently exists if they are dedicated to Gilbert? No. Gilbert will maintain public roads in the condition they were in at the time of annexation. If your area wants to improve the roads, Gilbert will help form a Special Assessment Improvement District to help design and pay for the improved roads. You will have to repay that special assessment over time, in addition to your property taxes.

Q 2. Will Gilbert maintain easements and private roads. No. Gilbert cannot use public funds to maintain private roads. Q 3. Will Gilbert assume ownership and maintenance of private roads if we ask. Yes. However, you will have to pay to have them brought up to a minimum public standard at your own cost before they are converted to public use and maintained using public funds, and everyone must agree to the conversion and payment of costs. Will all streets be dedicated? All public roadways will be transferred from the County to Gilbert through annexation. If roads are private (on easements or private deed agreements) then they remain private after annexation.. Does Gilbert have the appropriate equipment to maintain gravel roads and will it maintain County gravel roads to the same level of quality the County does? Yes. Gilbert has the appropriate equipment to maintain public gravel roads, and will maintain to the same quality. Gilbert can not maintain private easements. Will we have to put in streetlights, curb, gutter and sidewalk? No. The Council has indicated that we will take all publicly dedicated property in the “as is” condition, and maintain it in the “as is” condition. Council has requested staff to check on fire hydrants and determine cost of installing hydrants where none exist. Fire hydrants are likely to be installed at no cost over time from the Water Fund which gets its money from water rates paid by all water customers.

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SCHOOLS
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Do we have to change school districts?
No. Gilbert is served by four school districts – Gilbert Unified, Higley Unified, Mesa Unified and Chandler Unified. School district boundaries are different than municipal boundaries, so if you are in the Chandler District, you stay in the Chandler District, even though you may annex to Gilbert. The Districts have separate governing boards and staff to run their respective district. What is the school property tax? The Gilbert Unified School District has a 2005 tax rate of $6.9983 per $100 assessed valuation. The Higley Unified School District has a 2005 tax rate of $5.4483. Chandler Unified 2005 tax rate is $6.3334. The tax rate for schools is the same whether or not you are annexed. Each district sets its rate as part of its annual budget process.

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WATER AND SEWER
Q 1. A: Will we be required to connect to the Gilbert sewer system? No. The County Health Department regulates wastewater disposal compliance and may require a septic system user to hook up to a sewer system if the system is available. Continued use of a septic system is up to Maricopa County. Can I still have irrigation? Yes. Gilbert does not provide or regulate flood irrigation. Your irrigation provider remains the same (Salt River Project, Roosevelt Water Conservation District, etc.) Do I have to sign over my irrigation or water rights? No. Is there any risk of Gilbert taking over water rights in the future? No. What is the basis and source for water in the future? Gilbert has one of the best water management and conservation plans in the state, which has resulted in a 100year assured water supply for future development. Gilbert’s resources include groundwater, surface water (Salt and Verde River, Colorado River CAP water), water rights secured by negotiations with Indian communities, and reclaimed water. Maricopa County is in an Active Management Area, and is regulated by the Arizona Department of Water Resources as to uses of all water. What percentage of water in ditches belongs to Gilbert? Can Gilbert take over water in times of extended drought or need? Water located in ditches is not owned by Gilbert. The water is owned and managed by Salt River Project, Roosevelt Water Conservation District or other Irrigation Districts. We are on a private well. Do we have to connect to Gilbert water? No. However, as water quality regulations increase, it may become more affordable to be on the Gilbert water system. To determine if you can connect to the water system, and the costs of doing so, please contact Lonnie Frost, Public Works Director, at 480-503-6842. This would also include the need to create public utility easements for new lines. Once you connect to Gilbert water, the private well needs to be disconnected from the home. You can continue to use the well for irrigation or other non-drinking uses once connected to Gilbert. What if we want to connect to Gilbert Water and Sewer? The connection to water and sewer can be accomplished through an improvement district funding which will allow for the engineering and construction to be repaid for over time. Repayment is by the property owners within the connection area. The District is formed upon the approval of the majority of the property owners in the area and will extend water and sewer lines from the nearest point to the neighborhood.

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SOLID WASTE
Q 1. A: Q 2. A: Will we have to bag our garbage? Yes. The County requires garbage to be bagged and tied to prevent leakage of liquid wastes and to minimize fly and rodent infestation. Recyclable items do not need to be bagged. Can we elect to keep our private garbage carrier and not be charged by Gilbert? No. The Code of Gilbert requires residential properties to be served and charged for solid waste services, with a few exceptions. In most instances, Town residential garbage charges are less expensive and provide a higher level of service than private haulers. Do we have to recycle? It is up to the individual to recycle. Gilbert’s service includes a twice-weekly collection, one pick-up for recyclables and one pick-up for garbage. Gilbert studies show that 60% of residential garbage is recyclable material, so we
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encourage the practice of recycling to conserve limited landfill space. Right now it costs Gilbert less to recycle than to bury the garbage. Q 4. A: Q 5. A: Can I use a 6-cubic yard (metal) or other containers for my garbage? Yes. You will be classified as a commercial customer and be required to pay those service fees for the type, size and number of containers used. Are there fees for Gilbert residents to use the landfill? Gilbert residents are allowed to dispose of 2,000 pounds of trash each month, without charge, at the Salt River Landfill. A pick-up load of trash is roughly equal to 2,000 pounds. Additional use of the landfill requires payment of fees to the landfill operator. How do the fees Gilbert charges for garbage collection compare to what I pay now? As an example: garbage collection fees are $14.05 per month for a single 90-gallon refuse container and a single 90-gallon recycling container, picked up weekly and a once a month bulk waste pickup service. More containers and various sizes of containers are available at additional cost. A private hauler quoted a price of $45.30 every three months ($15.10 per month) for twice a week, 90-gallon service without a bulk waste service. Can I dispose of livestock waste in the container? Yes. You are required by County Health Regulations to tie and bag the waste or treat it chemically before putting it in the container. There are also provisions to pre-treat the waste without bagging, but placement of unbagged or untreated animal waste in a container is a violation of County regulations.

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EMERGENCY SERVICES
Q 1. A: What has changed to require annexation for emergency services? Gilbert had a contract and mutual aid agreement since 1998 with Rural Metro to provide services to their subscribers in the County, and Gilbert was compensated for those services by Rural Metro. Rural Metro has decided not to provide subscription services after July 1, 2006, so there is no contract or mutual aid. I heard there was a state law requiring responses to 9-1-1 calls. Wouldn’t that require Gilbert to respond? No. State law ARS 9-500.23 grants the authority for a municipality to respond to county island calls if it so chooses by Resolution. Gilbert has specifically chosen to recognize its moral, legal, ethical and financial responsibility to provide emergency response services to those persons who have chosen to become part of Gilbert. ARS 11-251.12 requires the County with a population of more than 1,500,000 persons (not Gilbert) to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with a municipality to provide fire protection and emergency response services. The state law is silent on issues of payment and liability which has resulted in no municipality entering in to an Agreement with the County. What will be the response time for fire and emergency medical services? The average response time for Gilbert police emergency calls is 7.58 minutes and average fire emergency response time if 4.42 minutes. Both of these response times are better than Sheriff and Rural Metro services. Gilbert has developed our response plans to assume that all areas within the Gilbert Planning Area will ultimately annex to our community. Council has further directed that Fire emergency response should be in a 4 minute response, and Police should be at a 1.1 officer per 1,000 population by 2009 as service standards. What about my mortgage payment and home insurance? Gilbert notified the state insurance commissioner and the state real estate office over a year ago of the possible error in assuming that Gilbert municipal police and fire services are available to a property just because it had a Gilbert mailing address. Hopefully these regulators have notified insurance companies, real estate agents and underwriters of the faulty assumption to assure accurate and full disclosure to buyers and clients. You have a responsibility to make certain your agent knows that you are not in the annexed area of Gilbert to avoid possible problems with your insurance coverage.

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Will there be fees for fire service if we annex? No. In fact by annexing you should see a decrease in your homeowners and business insurance rates as Gilbert has an ISO rating of 4, and County areas a 9 due to Rural Metro being available. The worst rating (i.e. no services) is a 10. Contact your insurance agent to determine what your savings might be upon annexation. How are Gilbert police and fire services paid for? The operating costs of police and fire service are part of the General Fund, which relies on local sales tax (50%) and state shared revenue (30%) to pay for services. State shared revenue is based upon the population living in Gilbert, so you need to annex to have Gilbert receive state shared revenue for your family. That helps pay for police and fire, which combined are 55% of General Fund expenses The local sales tax comes from 37% retail sales, 35% from construction activities and the remaining 28% from utility taxes, property rentals, restaurants, etc. Does the ambulance service change? No. Gilbert has a contract with Southwest Ambulance, who also holds the certificate of need to serve County areas. The certificate requires 90% of the responses to be within 10 minutes. Southwest Ambulance does charge users for their services.

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TAXES & FINANCES
Q 1. A: What is the County property tax rate? Does it get replaced with one for Gilbert? The County property tax is currently $1.4611 per $100 assessed valuation and is paid by all property owners in the County. Gilbert’s property tax rate is $1.15 per $100 assessed valuation and is in addition to the County tax. Gilbert’s property tax is generally equivalent to about 12% of a residential property tax bill in annexed areas. For each $100,000 of Full Cash Value for your property, the Gilbert property tax will add $115.00 per year (about 31 cents per day) to your annual tax bill. What Gilbert’s property tax used for? Gilbert uses the property tax to repay principal and interest on voter approved bonds. These bonds pay for projects like road widening, the library, and parks and recreation facilities. The property tax is not used to pay for any services or operating and maintenance expenses. My property tax bill includes a Fire District levy. Aren’t I already paying for fire services? No. Every property owner in Maricopa County (whether in Gilbert or in the County) is required by State Law (ARS 48-807) to pay a Fire District Assistance Tax as set by the Board of Supervisors. That tax rate for 2005 is $0.0069 per $100. That tax is then distributed to the 14 Fire Districts in Maricopa County to help pay for their services. The Districts include, Aguila, Apache Junction, Buckeye Valley, Circle City/Morristown, Daisy Mountain, Harquahala Valley, Laveen, Rio Verde, Sun City, Sun City West, Sun Lakes, Tonopah Valley, Wickenburg and Wittman. Gilbert receives none of these taxes. What is the valuation process for our property? Will our property be re-valued if we annex? The County Assessor’s Office determines value of property and improvements for all of Maricopa County. Annexation does not create a re-valuation of property. This has been confirmed with Assessor Keith Russell that the same valuation models are used whether you are inside or outside of Gilbert. What is the bonding capacity of Gilbert and are there any legal restrictions? Gilbert has a voter approved bonding authority of $11.759 million for streets and parks and recreation. Future bond authorizations require voter approval. The State Constitution limits the amount of debt that can be issued, and Gilbert is within those limits. Discuss/explain the ad valorem tax rate. “Ad valorem” means added value. Improvements add value to the land the amount it is valued by the Assessor for tax purposes. As the value of your property changes, it changes the amount you pay in taxes, depending upon what happens to the tax rates.

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What is the financial stability of Gilbert? Can it prove it has the tax base to support its expenditures in ten years? Gilbert is required by law to operate within the limits of its revenues and currently does so with sufficient reserves and a positive bond rating. In the event Gilbert could not meet operating expenditures, it would be required to reduce expenditures or increase revenues. Based on Gilbert’s rate of economic development it is more likely to be in a better financial position in ten years than it is today. Gilbert’s General Operating fund relies upon the local sales tax, state shared revenue (which is distributed based upon population so your annexing into Gilbert will increase this revenue source) and charges for services. The General operating fund pays for police, fire, parks and recreation, community development and administrative services. Our overall financial management has resulted in improved bond ratings over the past ten years. Both our Budget Document and Annual Financial Report are recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association as meeting the highest national standards. Are there any additional taxes as a result of having a business located in the proposed annexation area? A business activity may be subject to Gilbert’s 1.5% privilege (sales) tax. Also, the rental of commercial property will be taxed and the rental of residential property may be subject to the rental tax.

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