When I began running for the office of mayor over a year ago I pledged that if elected I would try to use all of the assets in our area to make our region the strongest and best it could be. We have so much more natural beauty and attractions here than the cities to the west, yet we seem to lack that certain something that links us all together.
Well, I’ve now been in office for a little over one month and I started to reach out to our neighbors to the east in the Gold Canyon area. The plan was to go on a series of speaking engagements at various HOAs and associations laying out the possibility of merging our assets without Gold Canyon losing its mystique and identity. Both communities would gain shared assets from the alliance and they would also gain regional representation. I spoke first at the Gold Canyon Republicans club and received some great feedback and historical background. The folks there seemed interested and could sense that there was no ill intent on mine or Apache Junction’s part.
I felt it necessary to inform the other members of council what I was doing so I asked that it be put on a work session for discussion. Being that we are in the good-old USA, all such meetings must be made public to avoid open meeting law violations, just as it should be. Both of our local papers picked up the agenda and published it in their respective publications labeling item No. 3, “Discussion on annexing Gold Canyon and surrounding areas,” even though there was and is no proposed plan for annexing these areas. There are also many county islands within the city and areas to the north that may want to join us someday. After a discussion we could then decide how and if we ever wanted to approach these situations.
It seems some folks read as far as the “A” word and Gold Canyon and that was enough for them. They were then given some misinformation that council’s discussion would be a vote to do something. Very very far from the truth as I’ve outlined above. When I discussed this I was using the word merger and was simply looking for ways to cooperate better than in the past. If anyone would care to research they would see that no municipality can annex parcels that are inhabited without the residents’ consent. Thus, in fact, if Gold Canyon ever wanted to join us in any official way they would have to annex themselves. I wanted the rest of our city council to be aware of this and many other facts.
The ensuing meeting was joined by over 100 residents who apparently didn’t know the intent of the discussion. The meeting that followed was very informative for all who listened and the whole situation seems to be clearer for folks involved. I still hope to visit all of these areas and see how we might be of mutual assistance even if we never officially link up. I want to hear from these folks and what their ideas might be. We must still construct our dog park at Silly Mountain; how might we fund this? Dinosaur Mountain Park is at risk of losing its easement; how can we ensure it stays accessible?
The city council and myself were elected most of all to look after the best interests of Apache Junction and its residents, and the folks who live to the east of us up against the mountain and to the north by the Goldfields play an important part in our lives. We share the fire district, the chamber of commerce, our kids go to school together in the same school district and many of us work together. The very paper that you’re reading this in is referred to as “Apache Junction/Gold Canyon,” so let’s start thinking regionally instead of isolating ourselves.
Going forward I want to hear from you. If you live in the city of Apache Junction and there are currently no city-sponsored meetings in your neighborhood, let’s have one. If you have ideas that you think have been overlooked, let’s hear them. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can see what’s been in front of us all along. Contact me through Al Bravo, the city’s public information officer, at 480-474-5080, by my e-mail, AJIsports@msn.com, or stop by my shop and say hello.
Thanks for the opportunity to communicate with you.
Mayor Jeff Serdy
City of Apache Junction
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