The Seven Ranches Domestic Water Improvement District and the City of Maricopa have announced an agreement in which the city will take over operational management of the water system under the continued leadership of the Seven Ranches district board of directors.
The agreement, which went into effect Jan. 19, calls for the district board to continue to set the annual budget, tax rate and any changes in water rates, along with notifications of its ability to serve any new development. The city has agreed to provide incentives and protections to current users of the system that will go into effect once the district is dissolved and the city assumes operational control and governance of the water system.
That transition is slated to happen in two years, unless both parties agree to an earlier takeover date.
Seven Ranches currently purchases its water from the Maricopa Consolidated Domestic Water Improvement District.
When the city takeover of the district takes effect, the city assume responsibility for setting the budget, tax rates, water rates, and determining whether the district has the capacity to serve proposed new developments within its’ borders.
The primary incentive for the takeover is the elimination of the taxing district that carries a tax rate of 5.9466 mills, or about 0.6 percent, which is higher than the collective tax millage rate for the City of Maricopa when both the primary and secondary tax rates are combined, meaning district users will be getting a rate reduction as part of the deal.
City Manager Rick Horst said the new structure will allow for local control of the water use in the district while keeping rates reasonable.
“If new developments come in before the transfer, the District will make the determination of their ability to serve that particular development,” Horst said. “This will allow for the continuation of lower rates and ultimately remove the high tax rate completely.”
In a statement, the city thanked the Seven Ranches board chairman for his work with the district.
“The city extends its gratitude to Tom Chapa, Board Chair, who has worked extensively with the district residents to strike a balance to meet the present economic and fire protection needs of the community. Chapa has served on the board for well over a decade with no compensation based on his love for the community and has spent many hours of his time, and in some cases, his own funds, to ensure the water security of area residents.”