Representative Ann Kirkpatrick on Friday introduced legislation to make a new push to settle boundary issues with the federal government on behalf of people in her home community. H.R. 5985 would cut through the red tape and speed up the process, allowing homeowners in the Flagstaff neighborhood of Mountainaire to secure ownership of land they have paid taxes on for years.
Due to a 1960 error by a private land surveyor, 26 landowners in the subdivision have property lines that overlap with public areas managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Under current law, Coconino County and individual homeowners might have to wait decades and spend thousands of dollars on legal wrangling in separate cases with the federal government to settle the boundaries. Rep. Kirkpatrick's legislation would streamline this procedure, enabling the land, currently a part of Coconino National Forest, to be conveyed to the stakeholders in two tracts within three years.
"This bill is about creating practical solutions for families in my district," said Rep. Kirkpatrick. "For years, folks in Mountainaire have had to deal with expensive and unexpected property issues with the federal government through no fault of their own, and I am pushing to make Washington better serve these people.
"This is a critical issue for both the county and homeowners who have been affected. We are working together to fight through the bureaucracy and quickly solve this problem in a way that is fair to everyone involved."
Because legislation would be the fastest way to address this issue, the Congresswoman has worked with the impacted households, the county and the U.S. Forest Service to craft language that will create a system to avoid expensive legal disputes and officially restore the land to the stakeholders as soon as possible.
"Coconino County and the residents in Mountainaire would like to thank Representative Kirkpatrick for introducing this important legislation," said Coconino County Supervisor Matt Ryan. "The residents in Mountainaire are hoping for a quick resolution to this unfortunate boundary correction issue and appreciate Representative Kirkpatrick's immediate attention to this issue."
Rep. Kirkpatrick is dedicated to making the federal government more effective for the people of Greater Arizona, and her work on behalf of the residents of Mountainaire is just one example of her continuing efforts to make their voices heard in Washington. After hearing the story of former Marine Corps Sergeant Michael Madden of Prescott, she proposed legislation in June that would specifically address his situation and change VA definitions to enable more of our Nation's heroes to receive the benefits they have earned. She has made caseworkers in her offices available to help constituents resolve a broad spectrum of issues with federal government agencies, from protecting our seniors' Social Security payments to assisting families with home loan modification.
Greater Arizona residents who need assistance resolving an issue with the federal government can contact Congresswoman Kirkpatrick's office toll-free at 1-888-REP1-ANN or visit her website at www.kirkpatrick.house.gov/constituentservices.