Frequently Asked Questions for Developers
Improvement District Services, Inc.
3603 Crossings Drive, Prescott, AZ 86305
Phone (928) 443-9484
Toll-Free in AZ (800) 659-7149
Fax (928) 443-9486
Email Jennifer Bartos or Diana King
Our IDS staff has extensive experience working with all areas of district administration and operations. We provide administrative
services to special taxing districts that are necessary for a smooth and economical method of funding and management.
Through numerous contacts and meetings with property owners contemplating improvements we have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions. The following are summaries of questions and answers; a community meeting is always the best way to get information to the people involved. We are pleased to assist with issues relating to formation and district management.
Special taxing districts (commonly known as improvement districts) are formed under the Arizona Revised Statutes Title 48 and are an excellent avenue for property owners outside of municipalities to acquire or upgrade water and wastewater systems to improve their quality of life. Districts have the legal authority to distribute costs of improvements and operations among the properties that benefit. With a combined effort for funding, districts typically provide a more feasible way to establish improvements than can be obtained through individual investments. Other types of Districts may also be formed for improvements such as roads, street lights and fire protection. Contact Yavapai County for more information regarding formation and operation of these districts.
What is an improvement district?
Each level of government has specific purposes and duties. Improvements such as water and sewer typically fall under the responsibility of municipalities and not the County level of government. When subdivisions or communities outside of an incorporated area desire or require improvements the Arizona Revised Statutes allow for the formation of a special taxing district. Specific boundaries are established and the district is formed with the approval of 51% of the property owners. Once formed, the district operates as a political subdivision of the State of Arizona. A Board of Directors made up of property owners governs the functions of the district. The Board is initially appointed by the Board of Supervisors and thereafter elected by residents. Districts have the authority to impose taxes and assessments on the benefited properties, charge fees for service, acquire funding, adopt ordinances, contract for professional services (i.e.: engineers, attorneys, administrators), construct and operate the improvements, and in many ways function similar to a municipality or a county.
How is an improvement district formed?
Boundaries are established and petitions are circulated to the property owners within those boundaries. Once the signatures have been acquired and the petitions are submitted, the County Board of Supervisors has the final approval for the formation of an improvement district. Some counties provide assistance to residents during the formation. They will usually require a bond at the beginning of the process for the reimbursement of the county’s cost for personnel time and other related items.
What are the steps involved in the formation of an improvement district?
The following is a summary of the events that precede formation:
Establish boundaries and prepare a legal description.
Circulate petitions to collect signatures requesting establishment. Petitions shall be signed by a majority of the persons owning real property or by the owners of 51% or more of the real property within the proposed District boundaries.
Petitions with the required number of signatures are filed with the Board of Supervisors.
The Board of Supervisors sets a hearing date and the bond amount.
Protests can be filed with the Board of Supervisors up to the time of the hearing.
The hearing is held.
If the District formation is approved, the Board of Supervisors issues and records the Order of Establishment.
A volunteer Board of Directors is appointed.