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THE MAYOR'S CORNER <br />As we approach the Town's 40th anniversary, I would like to use this <br />opportunity to reflect on a few of our accomplishments over the years, and to <br />thank the many residents who have volunteered their valuable time to serve our <br />community. We have all worked to protect the vision of our founding fathers <br />of "a low-density, semi-rural, residential community which celebrates its open <br />Sonoran Desert Valley setting. 11 It was former mayor Jack Huntress who said, <br />"Representative government and citizen involvement are the foundations of <br />good government II Over the past 40 years the Town has been extremely fortu- <br />nate to have many highly qualified and outstanding citizens involved in the <br />governing of our Town . It is because of these volunteers that the Town is still <br />a unique desert paradise where residents are proud to offer their service. <br />One might ask, "What were the reasons for incorporating such a small <br />Town?" The main reason was concern regarding annexation by one of our two <br />neighboring cities, Phoenix or Scottsdale . We would have been under their <br />zoning ordinances , which would change the density of one house per acre and <br />allow many types of commercial enterprises to enter the Town Therefore, a <br />provision the Town's founders incorporated into our General Plan was one <br />house per acre zoning, with a minimum square footage for a home built on the <br />property. Another provision in the Town code is that the elected officials, as <br />well as Council appointees to the Town's committees, would be Town volun- <br />teers. In addition to the seven volunteer Council Members, there are currently <br />67 residents who volunteer their services to the Town. Very important to us all <br />is the fact that Town government has been able to operate without imposing a property tax. <br />In 1961 , incorporation was not easily achieved. Faced with the prospect of conforming to lenient zoning standards if <br />annexed by Phoenix or Scottsdale, the Town's founders organized a special committee charged with incorporating the Town. <br />Town leaders codified their vision of a semi -rural community, exclusively zoned for one-acre single family housing, with a <br />firm resistance against commercial encroachment This notion was challenged in court In fact, the case of the Town's incor- <br />poration went before the Superior Court, then to the Supreme Court, and in 1969 back to the Superior Court An attorney and <br />long time resident, Philip vonAmmon, was lead counsel in successfully defending the Town against numerous lawsuits attack- <br />ing the validity of its incorporation. Along with his wife , Baroara, who served as mayor from 1975 to 1980, the vonAmmons <br />continued to work tirelessly to protect our Town's interests . <br />There is no question that the Town has grown since incorporation, both in area and population. The original land area <br />incorporated in 1961 was a mere 2.69 square miles, which increased to 13.3 square miles in 1970, and is currently at 16.5 <br />square miles . The Town's population was approximately 2 ,000, increasing to 11,176 in 1980, and is currently at 13,664. Be- <br />cause of the commitment of the volunteers elected to Town Council, and appointed to the Planning Commission and special <br />General Plan study committees, we have been able to keep our density at one house per acre. <br />While maintaining strict zoning regulations and one acre lot sizes, Town government has been able to function effec- <br />tively without imposing a property tax on the residents. Although expenses have increased over the years, so have revenues. <br />In 1970 , the Town's operating budget was $261,000 . Today, the Town operates on a budget of$13 .8 million for operating ex- <br />penses . Additionally, as of June 30, 2000, the Town has accumulated $8 .9 million in its Capital Projects Accumulation Fund to <br />pay for capital improvements throughout the Town. <br />Forty years of good government has been the result of committed leaders and voluntary community service. Since <br />1961, there have been hundreds of well-qualified residents who were elected to serve as council members, or who sat on the <br />Town's boards, commissions , committees , or as judges in our Municipal Court There have also been numerous police volun- <br />teers. These individuals have been able to maintain the quality oflife envisioned by the founders of the Town . I want to per- <br />sonally extend our sincere thanks to all for a job well done, and to reiterate that "representative government and citizen involve- <br />ment ... " is truly the essence of our Town government. <br />Edward Lowry, Mayor