State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Arizona > Title48 > 48-820

48-820. Election to merge fire districts; notice; hearing; approval; joint meeting; merged district board

A. Except as provided in subsection J of this section, the board of supervisors shall make an order calling for an election to decide whether to merge fire districts when a resolution for merger from each district is submitted to the board. The board of supervisors shall not make an order calling for an election to merge fire districts more frequently than once every two years. Whether or not the districts are merged, the fire districts shall reimburse the counties for the expenses of the election, including the cost of mailing any notices required pursuant to this section. If the proposed district is located in more than one county, the resolutions shall be submitted to the board of supervisors of the county in which the majority of the assessed valuation of the proposed district is located. The words appearing on the ballot shall be "(insert fire districts' names) merge as a fire district--yes" and "(insert fire districts' names) merge as fire district--no."

B. Within fourteen days after the election, the board of supervisors shall meet and canvass the returns, and if it is determined that a majority of the votes cast at the election in each of the affected districts is in favor of merging the fire districts, the board shall enter that fact on its minutes.

C. Except as prescribed in subsection D of this section, two or more fire districts may merge if the governing body of each affected fire district, by a majority vote of the members of each governing body, adopts a resolution declaring that a merger be considered and a public hearing be held to determine if a merger would be in the best interests of the district and would promote public health, comfort, convenience, necessity or welfare. After each district adopts such a resolution, the governing body by first class mail shall send written notice of the resolution, its purpose and notice of the day, hour and place of a hearing on the proposed merger to each owner of taxable property within the boundaries of the district. The notice shall contain the name and description of the boundaries of each district proposed to be merged and a detailed, accurate map of the area to be included in the merger. No new territory may be included as a result of the merger.

D. A noncontiguous county island fire district formed pursuant to section 48-851 shall not merge with a fire district formed pursuant to section 48-261.

E. The clerk of the governing body shall post notice in at least three conspicuous public places in the district and shall also publish notice twice in a daily newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the district is located, at least ten days before the public hearing. The clerk of each governing body affected by the proposed merger shall also mail notice and a copy of the resolution in support of the merger to the chairman of the board of supervisors of the county or counties in which the affected districts are located. The chairman of the board of supervisors shall order a review of the proposed merger and shall submit written comments to the governing body of each fire district located in that county within ten days after receipt of the notice.

F. At the hearing, the governing body of the district shall consider the comments of the board of supervisors, hear those persons who appear for or against the proposed merger and determine whether the proposed merger will promote public health, comfort, convenience, necessity or welfare. If, after the public hearing each of the governing bodies of the districts affected by the proposed merger adopt a resolution by a three-fourths vote that the merger will promote public health, comfort, convenience, necessity or welfare, each of the governing bodies of the districts affected by the proposed merger shall submit the resolutions to the board of supervisors.

G. Before considering any resolution of merger pursuant to this section, a governing body shall obtain written consent to the merger from any single taxpayer residing within each of the affected districts who owns thirty per cent or more of the net assessed valuation of the total net assessed valuation of the district. If written consent contemplated by this subsection is not obtained, then the provisions of subsections A and B apply, and the merger may only be accomplished by election.

H. If the proposal for merger is approved as provided by subsection B of this section, the governing body of the affected district with the largest population within thirty days shall call a joint meeting of the governing bodies of all of the affected districts. At the joint meeting, a majority of the members of the governing body of each affected district constitutes a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. The members of the governing body shall appoint a total of five persons from those currently serving on the governing bodies who shall complete their regular terms of office, except that no more than three of the persons appointed may serve terms that end in the same year. No more than three members shall be appointed from the same fire district board. Subsequent terms of office for district board members shall be filled by election of board members who shall be qualified electors of the merged district.

I. The appointed governing body shall immediately meet and organize itself and elect from its members a chairman and a clerk. The appointed board by resolution shall declare the districts merged and each affected district joined. The governing board by resolution shall declare the name of the newly merged fire district. The resolution and the names of the new board members for the newly organized district shall be sent to the board of supervisors, and the merger shall be deemed completed thirty days after the adoption of the resolution.

J. If the requirements of subsection G of this section are met and each of the governing body votes required by subsections C and F of this section are unanimous, subsections A and B of this section do not apply.