Pima County Logo
  • Improvement Districts

    A County improvement district is a special taxing district that the County Board of Supervisors may elect to establish upon petition by property owners within a specific area in unincorporated Pima County. The districts are created in unincorporated Pima County (areas located outside city or town limits) under Arizona Revised Statutes Title 48, Chapter 6, as a means of financing the construction or improvement of local public improvements, such as streets, sewer lines, drainage ways, etc.

    Special Assessment Property Search


    Currently, Pima County is not assessing any improvement districts in unincorporated Pima County.

    Types of Improvement Districts

    The types of districts that exist are:

    1. Improvement Districts

    Usually improving a road to County standards or improving other public infrastructure to County standards. Assessments are billed twice yearly and are due each June 1st and December 1st.

    Currently, Pima County is not assessing any improvement districts in unincorporated Pima County.

    2. Street Lighting Improvement Districts – Property tax levy.

    The street lighting improvement districts pay for the electricity costs as part of the County's annual real estate tax levy. Where a tax levy is involved, the information is found on the tax statement. Property tax statements for properties in these districts can be viewed at the Pima County Treasurer's website.

    The following are Pima County Street Lighting Improvement Districts:
    Peppertree Ranch Business Park Street Lighting Improvement District: T12S, R12E, S26 and S35 (Cortaro/I-10 area) (Lots 14 though 57)
    Orange Grove Valley No. 1 Street Lighting Improvement District: T13, R13, S5 (Orange Grove & Thornydale Rds.)
    Peach Valley Street Lighting Improvement District: T13, R13, S23 (Flowing Wells/Limberlost/Roger area.)
    Longview Estates #1 Street Lighting Improvement District: T14, R15, S17 (Kolb/Kenyon/Prudence)
    Longview Estates #2 Street Lighting Improvement District: T14, R15, S17 (Kolb/Kenyon/Prudence)
    Carriage Hills #1 Street Lighting Improvement District: T14, R15, S9 (Broadway/Pantano)
    Carriage Hills #3 Street Lighting Improvement District: T14, R15, S9 (Broadway/Pantano)
    Manana Grande "B" Street Lighting Improvement District: T14, R15, S20 (29th St/Prudence Rd.)
    Manana Grande "C" Street Lighting Improvement District: T14, R15, S20 (29th St/Prudence Rd.)
    Lakeside Street Lighting Improvement District No. 1: T14, R15, S28 (Pantano Rd/Stella Rd)
    Rolling Hills Street Lighting Improvement District: T14, R15, S21 and S22 (22nd /Camino Seco)
    Desert Steppes Street Lighting Improvement District: T14, R15, S16 (Sarnoff/22nd St) (Area A)
    Hermosa Hills Estates Street Lighting Improvement District: T14, R15, S15 (Harrison/22nd St.)
    Oaktree #1, 2 & 3 Street Lighting Improvement District: T15, R13, S3 (Midvale Park area)
    Cardinal Estates Street Lighting Improvement District: T15R13, S17 (Lots 1 through 111—all of Cardinal Estates) (Los Reales Rd/Cardinal Ave.)
    Salida Del Sol IV Street Lighting Improvement District: T15, R13, S16 (Valencia/Cardinal Ave. area)
    Midvale Park Commerce Center Street Lighting Improvement District: T15, R13, S15 (Valencia Rd.)
    Littletown Street Lighting Improvement District: T15, R14, S13 (I-10/Craycroft Rd.) (No. 1 and No. 2—all of Littletown)
    Mortimer Addition Street Lighting Improvement District: T15, R14, S4 (Alvernon Way/Benson Highway/Palo Verde Blvd.)

    Phases of Improvement Districts

    The following are the stages of an improvement district:

    Pre-Petition Phase

    To form an improvement district, property owners shall submit to the Improvement District Office a written request for the establishment of the district. This request must include: 1) the type of district; 2) the specific boundaries of the district; 3) a description of the proposed improvement; 4) and an indication of the support for the district within the boundaries. If the request does not meet the County's minimum specifications and/or adequate support is not indicated, the requestor will be notified.

    Minimum specifications for a road improvement district must meet the following requirements for a road to be accepted and maintained by Pima County. These requirements are: 1) proper dedication to County of adequate rights-of-way; 2) roadway construction meets the County's minimum standards for paved roads; and 3) the road must connect to an existing paved road currently maintained by the County or another jurisdiction.

    Once all of the information is received, the Improvement District Office will perform a preliminary review of the feasibility of financing the improvement. The request is reviewed to determine if the costs of the improvements appear supportable by the properties that will be benefited and later assessed for the proposed improvements. If the result of the feasibility review is favorable, the request for roadways will be submitted to Pima County's Department of Transportation for further evaluation and recommendation.

    Petition Phase

    If the district appears financially feasible, the initiator will be provided with a list of the property owners in the proposed district and with a petition to establish the district and to incur expenses. A petition to establish the district must be filed with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors. The petition to establish the district must be signed by either (1) a simple majority of the owners of real property with the proposed district, or (2) the owners of 51% of the land area within the proposed district. Most districts are formed under the first provision with the signatures of a majority of the owners affected.

    At the same time as the petition to establish, a petition to incur expenses is also circulated. The petition to incur expenses authorizes the board of an improvement district to begin expending funds to design and construct the proposed improvement. The petition to incur expenses must be signed by the owners of a majority of the frontage along the improvement.

    After a petition is filed with the Clerk of the Board, a public hearing is set to consider the petition. Notice of the hearing is published in the newspaper and mailed to all persons owning land within the proposed district. At the hearing, the Board of Supervisors determines whether to form the district as petitioned.

    Design Phase

    Once an improvement district is formed, the Board of Supervisors becomes the Board of Directors of the new district. The Board of Directors must appoint a district engineer and may contract for services of bond counsel and financial consultant.

    An engineer is selected to prepare construction plans and to determine a cost estimate for the improvements.

    After the plans are completed, the Board of Directors must adopt the resolution of intention for the improvements based on the plans, specifications and cost estimate. Notice of the proposed work and the estimated total assessment is mailed to all property owners within the district. The property owners may object to or protest the proposed work. A public hearing is set by the Board of Directors to consider those objections.

    The Board of Directors may then pass and adopt the resolution ordering the work. A notice inviting proposals for construction of the improvements must be published and posted. The proposals for the work are submitted to the Clerk of the Board and are opened at a public meeting of the Board of Directors. Notice of the award must be published after the Board of Directors awards the work. The construction contract is signed after the protest period ends and after all protests have been resolved at a public hearing.

    The assessment diagram, prepared by the district engineer, must be approved by the Board of Directors. When the assessment is recorded, the 30 day cash collection period begins and the assessment lien is placed on all the properties in the district. Notice of the public hearing on the assessment is published and mailed to all property owners. The Board of Directors may then pass and adopt the resolution approving the assessment.

    Bond Phase

    The Board of Directors authorizes the issuance of the district's bonds. Bond counsel, financial consultant and staff prepare the bond documents and hold the bond closing. The bond proceeds are placed in the construction fund.

    Construction Phase

    When the necessary construction funds are in place, the superintendent of streets will issue a notice to proceed to the construction contractor. After the improvement has been constructed according to the resolution of intention, the superintendent of streets will notify the Board of Directors and mail notice to the property owners advising them that the construction has been completed.

    A public hearing will be held by the Board of Directors if any protests regarding the construction are filed within one year of the completion of the construction. Notice of the public hearing is mailed and published.

    Assessment Collection Phase

    After the construction is complete and the notice of completion is filed, the semi-annual assessment collections will begin for those property owners who did not pay the assessment in the cash collection period. Principal payment is due each year in December, and interest is due each year in December and June. The collection period generally runs for five to ten years, but the collection period may vary from district to district.

    For more information, please contact the Improvement District Office, Pima County Finance and Risk Management Department, 33 N. Stone, Mailstop BAB6-407; Tucson, Arizona, 85701; email ImprovementDistrict@Pima.gov; or call (520) 724-8579.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What is an improvement district?

    A County improvement district is a special taxing district that the County Board of Supervisors may elect to establish upon petition by property owners within a specific area. The districts are created under Arizona Revised Statutes Title 48, Chapter 6, as a means of financing the construction or improvement of local public improvements, such as streets, sewer lines, drainage ways, etc. An improvement district is formed basically to provide a means of financing the improvements either by imposing a special assessment on each property or by levying real property taxes to pay for the improvements or maintenance. The costs of the improvements are charged to the property owners within the district based upon the benefit derived from the improvements. For an improvement district to be formed, it should include land subject to the assessment or tax that has a value sufficient to be collateral for bonds to be sold to investors.

    After the improvement district is established, the proposed improvements are designed and the costs are determined. The property owners either pay their share of the costs in cash or bonds are issued by the district to finance the costs of the improvements. The properties within the district that have not paid are assessed the principal and interest costs of the bonds over a period of years. These bonds are secured by a lien on the property and improvements of all parcels within the district. If a property owner fails to pay the assessments when due, the district will sell the lien at public auction to satisfy the debt service requirements of the improvement district bonds.

    2. What do you need to start the process?

    We need a written request that includes:
    1. Type of district (see the types of districts tab)
    2. Specific boundaries of the district
    3. A description of the proposed improvement
    4. An indication of the support for the district within the boundaries.

    3. Why can't I get a petition immediately?

    Before we reach the petition process, we need an indication of support for the improvement. A committee of interested property owners will need to survey all property owners of the potential improvement district for an indication of support of the project and a willingness to pay for the improvement. Arizona Revised Statutes Title 48, Chapter 6, required at least 51% of the property owners sign a petition for establishment and a majority of the property owners fronting the improvement sign the petition to incur expenses. Also, before the petition process is started, a feasibility study is done to see if the proposed district is financially feasible.

    4. What will be the cost of the project? How much will it cost me?

    The cost of the project will not be determined until after the district is established and the proposed improvements are designed.

    5. If I didn't sign the petitions, do I still have to pay for the improvements?

    Yes, all properties within the boundaries of the improvement district will be assessed to pay for the improvement. Every part of the improvement district proceedings, including the assessment, is completed in accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 48, Chapter 6.

    6. When are improvement district assessments billed?

    Statements are mailed at least thirty days before the due date per Arizona Revised Statutes §48-938.

    7. When are the improvement district assessments due?

    Payments are due each December 1 for the principal and ½ of the interest. June 1 is the due date for the other half of interest per Arizona Revised Statutes §48-937.

    8. What happens if I don't pay the assessment?

    The property owners either pay their share of the costs of the improvements in cash or bonds are issued by the district to finance the costs of the improvements. The properties within the district that have not paid are assessed the principal and interest costs of the bonds over a period of years, usually for a five or ten year period. These bonds are secured by a lien on the property and improvements of all parcels within the district. Payments are due each December 1 (principal and ½ interest) and June 1 (for the other ½ interest). If a payment is not made by the due date, a 5% penalty is added. If a property owner fails to pay the assessments when due, the district will sell the assessment lien at public auction to satisfy the debt service requirements of the improvement district bonds. There is a one year right of redemption after the assessment lien sale. (Arizona Revised Statutes §48-938 - §48-945.)

    9. What are the phases of an improvement district?

    The following are the stages of an improvement district (see the phases of districts tab):
    • Pre-Petition Phase
    • Petition Phase
    • Design Phase
    • Bond Phase
    • Construction Phase
    • Assessment Collection Phase
    Follow UsShare this page

    Improvement Districts

    Phone: (520) 724-8579

    Please mail payments to

    Improvement Districts
    33 N. Stone DT-BAB6-407
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    Please make checks payable to Pima County Treasurer.


    Directory
    Feedback