Carefree group wants to reform politics | City News | – Foothills Focus

Seeking relief from politicians and government “run amok,” residents-led Carefree Citizens for Responsible Government has filed hundreds of signatures to qualify two ballot initiatives meant to reform the town and its elected government.

The first measure — known as the “Good Government Act” — would protect all private property located within Carefree town limits. The campaign gathered nearly 340 signatures to qualify the measure for the election ballot, likely in November 2022. Based on the last election cycle, 203 signatures are necessary for qualification.

If passed by voters, the Good Government Act would allow the town to exercise eminent domain to seize private property only after a two-thirds vote of town council members and after securing approval by a vote of registered Carefree voters.

Carefree residents supported the campaign, which seeks to render null and void the town’s plan to exercise eminent domain to seize land in The Boulders for use as the site of a 300,000-gallon industrial water tank to be built yards from residents’ homes.

“We look forward to Election Day,” said Maureen “Mo” Benedetto, the chair of Carefree Citizens for Responsible Government and a homeowner in The Boulders. 

“If town leaders won’t listen to us by choice, then we had to do the work necessary to make them listen. Residents all over Carefree have told us over and over that they’re disturbed by what the Town is doing — suing residents to seize their property — and trying to destroy the desert to jam an enormous water tank beside homes where it doesn’t belong. This measure will put a stop to the politicians’ plan.”

The second initiative measure will amend the town’s municipal code, invoking term limits for Carefree council members and the mayor. The campaign gathered more than 400 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. 

Carefree previously had enacted term limits, but that measure was ruled to be unenforceable in court. The new initiative follows the Arizona Legislature’s action to grant towns the legal authority to implement term limits. Members of the town council and the mayor would be limited to two two-year terms in office.

“The residents of Carefree have had enough of career politicians and backroom deals,” Benedetto said. “This will ensure that no politician builds his own kingdom at town hall, and it will give Carefree the opportunity for new vision and new blood. Those are good things, and our town needs them.”