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Pima County Supervisors adopt a final budget; no anticipated service increases or reductions

Jun 18, 2013 | Read More News
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Pima County Supervisors adopted a final $1.27 billion budget for next fiscal year that is 14 percent lower than thenone budget of six years ago at the start of the recession.

Although the final adopted budget set a $3.66 primary tax rate, which is higher than the existing rate of $3.41,the average taxpayer would pay essentially the same amount as last year.

An 8 percent drop in property valuations countywide will offset the higher rate.

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said he proposed a maintenance-of-effort budget this year, after asking departments to cut between 12 and 15 percent over the previous three fiscal years. Further cuts would result in decreased services, he said.

The average homeowner, with a property value of $155,834 in 2012, can expect the value of that home to drop to $144,835. That homeowner, who saw a tax bill of $749.14 in 2012, would see a tax bill of $736.53 next year – a decrease of $12.61.

The property tax rate will produce a “revenue neutral” tax levy, as determined by Truth in Taxation limits under state statutes since Pima County will collect slightly less in property taxes overall next year, even with the increased rate.The entire amount of property taxes collected in the current fiscal year is$386.8 million.  The levy amount under the final budget is anticipated to be $383.1 million.

While the County budget will invest $5 million to fix and maintain 100 miles of County roads, the Supervisors will petition the Legislature next session for a longer term solution to fund improvements. The County Board will set its legislative agenda in October for the upcoming session, which begins in January 2014.

Among key priorities, the County budget will fund a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment for employees at the beginning of the fiscal year, with 2 percent to follow at the start of2014. Employees have not received an across-the-board compensation increase since Fiscal Year 2007-08, with the exception of a 1 percent adjustment related to increased retirement contributions in Fiscal Year 2011-12.

In related news, the Board appropriated $744,000 in additional funding to six priorities, including providing sheriff’s deputies with a uniform allowance, supporting a Green Valley performance center, assisting the Ajo Chamber of Commerce, and allowing for a limited opening of a new shotgun trap and skeet facility at the Southeast Regional Park Shooting Range.