Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Guest View-Don Cox: "The Chartered City of Oro Valley"

Ten years ago, LOVE suggested that Oro Valley explore "Charter City" status. Oro Valley is most certainly qualified to become one. There is a process to do so. Unfortunately, our suggestion was overlooked at a time when the state mandated a change in our election dates, resulting in the loss of our unique and highly fitting March (primary) and May (final) election cycle.

Today, Don Cox, a town resident, shares his perspective on why Oro Valley should consider becoming a Charter City.
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For some time I have been looking at the pros and cons of Oro Valley becoming a Charter City as opposed to its current legal classification as a Town. That’s a distinction that I suspect few residents know or understand. In the 26+ years I have been a resident I don’t recall any ‘official’ conversation about it. There are several articles out there explaining the differences and I won’t go into any specific details at this point, but it behooves those who are interested to take a look at the benefits.

I, for one, believe the change would serves us well. Oro Valley has matured from a small ‘burb’ to a major influence, not only in Pima County, but our influence is felt around the State. It’s time we ‘chart’ our own course and rid ourselves of the State leashes.
According to a published report (Wikipedia – List of Municipal Communities) there are 47 chartered cities in AZ. They range in population from 3202 (Williams) to Phoenix (1608139) You become a chartered city through a voting process initiated by the Town Council. A charter (blueprint for management) is created and the public votes on it.
One of the options open to a charter city is that they get to choose their election dates. Currently we are mandated by the state to hold our elections in August and November. As you well know a large percentage of our population is elsewhere on the first Tuesday in August. And unless they request an ‘absentee ballot’ they miss the primary election. As you also well know, the Oro Valley Town Council candidates have been elected in the August primary in most if not all of the last ten elections. The alternative election dates are March and May, which are far better suited for our population.
Specific questions about becoming a charter city should probably be directed to the Town Clerks office. The Arizona Cities and Towns website has a lot of info also.
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