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  • Supervisors cut county overall property tax rate by 6.2%; approve FY 2019 budget

    Jun 19, 2018 | Read More News
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    The Board of Supervisors June 19 adopted the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, which lowers the combined county tax rate by 37 cents per $100 of taxable net assessed value. The primary property tax rate cut is the largest in the past 32 years. The Arizona fiscal year begins July 1. 

    The board was prepared to vote on a budget that cut the primary property tax rate by 14 cents, which was the second part of a two-year plan to offset a 25-cent per $100 of taxable net assessed value primary property tax rate imposed last year to fund road repairs. However, during discussions over how to fund regional road repair, the board decided to eliminate the 25-cent tax rate and left the 14-cent tax rate reduction as is, creating a combined primary property tax cut of 39-cents per $100 of assessed value.

    There are several taxes that make up the county’s total combined tax rate. The primary property tax, which provides the revenue for the General Fund; the Flood Control District secondary property tax, which pays for the operations of the Regional Flood Control District; the Library District secondary property tax, which pays for the operations of the countywide Public Library system; and the Debt Service secondary property tax, which pays back voter-approved bonds. In addition to the primary property tax rate reductions, the board slightly increased the rates for the Library and Flood Control districts and reduced the Debt Service rate slightly.

    The board took separate votes for each part of the budget. The vote for the primary property tax was 3-2, with supervisors Ally Miller and Steve Christy, voting against adoption. The vote for the Flood Control District tax was 4-1, with Supervisor Miller voting no; the Library District vote was 4-1, with Miller also voting no, and the debt service vote was 5-0. The board also approved the budgets for the Stadium District, which pays for the operation and maintenance of Kino Sports Complex, and it approved the budgets for about two dozen improvement districts and the Rocking K South Community Facilities District. 

     County total combined tax rate (per $100 of assessed value)
     Tax type FY 2018 rate FY 2019 Rate Change % Change
     $4.4596 $4.0696 -$0.39 -8.7%
     Flood Control  $0.3135 $0.3335 +$0.02  6.4%
     Library  $0.5053 $05153 +$0.01 2%
     Debt  $0.70 $0.69 -$0.01 -1.4%
     Total  $5.9784 $5.6084 -$0.37 -6.2%

    The total adopted county budget for next fiscal year is $1.35 billion, of that, about $585 million is for the General Fund, which pays for most county services. 

    The approved budget provides 2.5 percent pay raises for all eligible county employees, and an additional 1 percent pay bump for county employees who earn less than $50,000 a year, however that raise does not go into effect until January 2019. 

    The board also approved pay adjustments for some Sheriff’s Department deputies and corrections officers. In addition to the 2.5 percent pay bump, the board approved a new hourly rate for Sheriff’s Department trainees and increased the minimum hourly rate for deputies and corrections officers at the end of their probation period. Current deputies and corrections officers whose pay is below the new minimum salary after receiving the 2.5 percent adjustment will get raises up to the new minimum. The new minimum pay for deputies is $48,880, a 12.7 percent increase from the old minimum, and for corrections officers is $40,560, an 11.3 percent increase. 

    Additionally, the board approved a 5 percent retention incentive pay bump for some eligible deputies and corrections officers whose pay is within a defined salary range. The incentive raise goes into effect in January. 

    “With this budget, the county will continue to provide high quality service to the people of Pima County without raising taxes,” said County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. “Public safety, public health, the care of people and animals, basic utility service, public libraries, clean air and water, workforce development – all remain core, vital services provided in an award-winning manner at a low cost to the public. This in a time when other counties or local jurisdictions are decreasing services.”

    Road Repair Bond

    As part of the budget discussion at the meeting, the board considered options for funding regional road repair. A proposed half-cent sales tax that would have provided about $900 million over 10 years to fund road repairs throughout the county failed on a 3-2 vote, with supervisors Miller and Christy voting no. State law requires a unanimous vote for counties to impose a general sales tax.

    The board then directed staff to prepare information for board consideration at its July 3 meeting about whether to ask voters in November to approve a $430 million general obligation bond dedicated to road repair. If the board wants voters to decide on a bond this year it must call for the election before July 10 to meet state election law deadlines. 

    If approved by voters, the $430 million would provide initial funding for the county’s 10-year Road Repair plan but would require an additional funding solution in the future to complete repairing all the roads in the region, including the unincorporated county. 

    As part of the decision to consider a possible bond vote, the board agreed that it should repeal the 25-cent special primary property tax for road repair, which it did as part of the overall budget adoption.