Nurturing dreams of long-term growth and expansion, the Star Valley town council will discuss annexing 12 square miles of Forest Service land east of town. The annexation would increase the town size by 50 percent and possibly secure additional water sources.
Town Manager Tim Grier said annexing the land does not mean the town would own the land, but rather gives the town control over future uses.
“It will still be Forest Service land, but it puts us in the better position if there is a federal land exchange,” Grier said. “
In a draft of the general plan, the town discusses expanding east along Highway 260 with commercial businesses. If the town secures this land through annexation, the council would control the zoning and therefore future use.
Grier said this is forward thinking for the town and the land may not be used for some time.
“It puts us in a better position for trade and development and it help us to achieve some of the goals of the general plan,” he said.
Besides the possible benefit of commercial growth, the annexed land will push the town boundaries out, giving the town growing room and “there may be some benefit for future water needs,” Grier said.
In addition, if the Arizona Department of Transportation ever decided to create a bypass around the town, Star Valley would control the land where Highway 87 and 260 would converge.
If the council goes ahead with the annexation plans Tuesday, it would vote June 2 to permanently establish the town’s new boundaries.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council will discuss redirecting $90,000 in grant funds. The funds were supposed to get the federally funded Meals on Wheels program off the ground and running and direct them to housing rehabilitation.
The town was to start the Meals on Wheels program shortly, but after virtually no one signed up. Grier said it would benefit the town more to rehabilitate homes for low-income families.
According to the town, the Meals on Wheels was not started due to various concerns including the lack of interest in the program, with only 10 people on the waiting list, and the long-term fiscal impact.
“It is with regret that we would not use the money for the Meals on Wheels, but we have concerns on the maintenance fees and cost,” Grier said. “The money could be better spent on housing. But either programs are good, worthy programs just in different ways.”
If the council approves the resolution, $90,000 in community development block grant funds would go toward helping low to moderate income households repair or rehabilitate their homes.
In addition, to get the town and council up to speed on various town commissions, the council will hold a work-study session starting at 5 p.m. before the regular meeting at 6:30 p.m.
Chairperson Richard Pinkerton from the streets and roads, George Binney from the floodwater task force and Vern Leis with the water sewer commission will address the council and discuss their plans and goals.
“They are just going to give a snapshot of where they are and what they are proposing,” Grier said. “This will give them direction early on from the council and let them know if they are not going in the right direction.”
After the work-study session, Grier said he hopes the council will further discuss commission ideas at a June 17 council retreat at Kohl’s Ranch.
The retreat is designed as a chance for the council to discuss the town’s direction and prioritize goals.
“We are still a very new town and having that game plan is still a work in progress,” he said.