CONCHO VALLEY — A few residents in Concho Valley are exploring the possibilities for incorporation of the community.
Daniel Thompson, along with his son, Dan Thompson Jr., Steve Gordon and Christopher Fernandez, created an informal committee and began looking into Concho’s prospects for becoming an incorporated town last fall.
Thompson said he spoke to a representative of the Arizona League of Cities to get some information on the benefits of incorporation.
“Our whole goal is to find something good for the community, to draw people together,” Thompson said in a telephone interview.
The organizers have put together a website called “Incorporate Concho AZ.” On the website, the committee members state their interest in incorporation comes down to bringing tax dollars back to the community, and improving community facilities such as Concho Lake reservoir and area roads.
On the website, organizers propose a local 1.4 percent sales tax and a 1 percent hotel/motel tax, but no local property taxes.
Another reason the group wants to see incorporation of the community is that it increases the opportunity to bring new businesses to the area.
Gordon said the group spearheaded an effort to bring a Family Dollar store to Concho Valley.
After they learned the retailer planned to bail on plans to bring a store to their community due to a problem with securing a water supply for fire suppression, Gordon said his group acted. Gordon said he helped broker a deal whereby the Concho Fire District and Livco Water Company would split the cost of a fire hydrant the store needed.
“After negotiations with Family Dollar, we were able to get them to reopen the possibility of constructing a Family Dollar at the Cedar Lane and Concho Drive location if a fire hydrant is installed. That way, they do not have to install a 30,000 gallon water tank to support the fire suppression system requirement,” a letter on the group’s website states.
Gordon said the agreement to build a Family Dollar is on the company president’s desk “right now.”
“I’ve sent letters to 70 different businesses, Family Dollar is just the first to respond,” Gordon said.
But while incorporation organizers are enjoying some success with Family Dollar, they are finding a less enthusiastic reception for some of their ideas with their neighbors.
A proposed map for the incorporation included the area of Hunt, northwest of Concho Valley. Gordon said the map they used to create a proposed area for incorporation was an older map they obtained from the county. Thompson said they used the map as a starting place to get enough population to meet the legal requirements. According to Arizona law, a community must have 1,500 residents to incorporate.
According to census data, 2,683 people occupy the ZIP code (85924) area that includes Concho Valley; but that area forms a large rectangle that stretches north to the boundary with Petrified Forest and south to Stanford on its west side — an area much larger than would be feasible as an incorporated entity.
Thompson estimated the population of the Concho Valley area at about 900, which is why any incorporation must include an adjoining area to reach the required 1,500 residents.
At a public meeting Feb. 23 in Concho Valley, Thompson said what he and his committee members found was resistance and suspicion to the idea of incorporation. Residents of Hunt, in particular, expressed opposition to the idea, he said.
“A lot of people want government to leave them alone,” Thompson said.
Thompson said the he and his committee members see local representative government as a positive development.
“A lot of people don’t look at it that way,” he said.
Thompson feels there is some support for incorporation.
“It seems like if we were to take a vote right in Concho Valley, incorporation would win,” he said.
Young people, Thompson said, also support the notion of incorporation. But, “the young people don’t speak up like they should.”
He and Gordon said that they will continue to explore the possibilities for incorporation, but they both stress that if it is not feasible or people aren’t interested, that’s OK with them.
“Even if it isn’t feasible, we’re still for improving the community,” Gordon said.
“This is still kind of a fact-finding mission,” Thompson said.