In the time it took for seven councilors to voice their agreement at Tuesday night's town council meeting, Star Valley became the largest town in Gila County.
The Star Valley council voted 7-0 to approve an ordinance that allowed for the annexation of 18 square miles of national forest land surrounding the town. The addition brings the new size of the town to 24 square miles, making it the largest town, in terms of incorporated geographical size.
The land will be valuable for future growth of the town, Town Manager Vito Tedeschi said. It will be used for industrial development, schools and affordable housing.
The council also unanimously voted to lease space for a Town Hall in a building on Highway 260 inside the Star Vale Mobile Home Park.
The town will lease the 2,100 square-foot building from owners Ray Lyons and Barbara Hartwell for a period of three years at a rate of $14,400 for the first two years and $23,400 for the third year.
A 1,300 square-foot garage is also available to the town government and may be utilized for a police department in the future.
Tedeschi said he hopes remodeling will be completed in time for town officials to move in on July 1.
The town will still conduct its council meetings at the Star Valley Baptist Church. All staff meetings and town business will take place at the new location.
"It's the day-to-day traffic out of here," Mayor Chuck Heron said. "That's what (church officials) are concerned with."
In other news, the council held a public hearing regarding the removal of a sales tax exemption from residential rental property.
The council mistakenly exempted a sales tax on rental property, including mobile homes, when the town's sales tax code was first adopted.
The council will hold a second reading on the ordinance at the next council meeting.
If the ordinance passes, a 2 percent sales tax will be applied to rental residential property. The revenue generated may likely be used specifically for the town's police services in the future.
The council also recognized the graduating seniors from the Star Valley School. About half of the graduating class was in attendance and received pins bearing the town logo from the council.