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  • Supervisors approve half-cent sales tax ordinance

    May 15, 2018 | Read More News
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    road repairThe Board of Supervisors May 15 voted 3-2 to adopt a Sales Tax Implementation Plan Ordinance that sets the legal parameters for funding a road repair plan that would fix all of the unincorporated county paved roads within 10 years. The ordinance and road plan are contingent upon the board’s passage of a Sales Tax Resolution June 19 that funds the plan. State law requires the board to vote unanimously to impose the half-cent sales tax. 

    If the resolution is approved, it would provide $353 million over 10 years to the county for repair of unincorporated county roads, and over $550 million to the county’s cities and towns for their transportation infrastructure maintenance and repair needs over the same period. 

    More than 70 percent of unincorporated county roads are rated as either poor or failed, and the city of Tucson has a similar problem with the condition of its roads. 

    The sales tax ordinance does the following:
    • Governs the implementation of a half-cent, countywide sales tax allocated over 10 years for the purposes of repairing and preserving paved roads throughout the county
    • Allocates 100 percent of sales tax revenues for maintenance, repair, and rebuilding of roads
    • Distributes proportional revenues from the sales tax to the municipalities based on a formula that considers population and Taxable Net Assessed Valuation
    • Creates a 10-year road repair plan for unincorporated Pima County with a list of each road segment by treatment type and schedule of when it will be improved to at least a fair condition
    • Requires an intergovernmental agreement with the Regional Transportation Authority to provide review and support of the sales tax implementation for Pima County and overview of the municipalities’ 10-year road repair plans
    • Creates a Commission for Economic Diversity and Prosperity to provide guidance on distribution of funding for low-income assistance to mitigate disproportionate effects the sales tax may have on low-income households
    • Allocates an additional $3 million minimum annually for programs and services designed to assist low-income households, and to increase funding for this purpose by an additional $500,000 each year the sales tax is in effect. Funding will not come from the sales tax
    • Eliminates the 25-cent Road Repair Property Tax enacted by the board last year

    The resolution, if passed by the board June 19, would enact the sales tax. It wouldn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2019, to give businesses time to prepare to collect the tax. If the resolution fails, the ordinance becomes moot. 

    The proposed sales tax resolution would include the following: 
    • Be temporary, ending 10 years after its effective date
    • Places all of the sales tax revenue into a special Road Repair Fund
    • Restricts use of the Road Repair Fund to the maintenance, repair and rebuilding of roads, and to repay debt obligations associated with same
    • Requires proportional amounts of the Road Repair Fund be distributed to the county’s cities and towns based on the formula set by the Sales Tax Ordinance 
    • Requires the county to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Regional Transportation Authority or the Pima Association of Governments, if the RTA is not reauthorized by voters, to provide oversight of the county’s and municipalities’ road repair and maintenance programs and to annually audit the use of the Road Repair Fund by those jurisdictions
    • Requires the County to have the state Auditor General annually audit the Road Repair Fund
    • Requires automatic repeal of the sales tax if either the RTA or Auditor General audits find unauthorized use of the Road Repair Fund that hasn’t been immediately cured by the County

    The sales tax is estimated to collect more than $910 million over the 10 years. For the unincorporated county, the 10-year plan includes an additional $270 million from state shared transportation dollars (HURF and transportation VLT) for the unincorporated county roads. These funds are necessary to ensure all county paved roads are repaired, but also that the repaired roads continue to be maintained and don’t fall into disrepair again. Under this plan, the worst roads will be fixed first, while also preserving the good roads. 

    The proposed 10-year plan and the proposed ordinance and resolution can be found at the county's 10-year Road Repair Plan webpage. The site also includes a map where county residents can look up their address and see when their road will be fixed within the 10 years if the sales tax is approved.