As we hit the hot summer months, the county’s budget process once again takes center stage as we head into the new fiscal year.
Recently the Board of Supervisors adopted the tentative budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The tentative budget approved by the supervisors totals $373,723,558.
This budget continues our path to increased fiscal responsibility. I have always believed that Pinal County should maximize the use of your tax dollar. In fact, the county only accounts for 27 percent of your property tax bill. That means for every dollar in property taxes you pay, we only use 27 cents. The other 73 cents is used by Central Arizona College, public school districts, cities and towns along with other entities.
Looking at your property tax rate, Pinal County is keeping that the same at $3.79. To keep that rate from increasing, our county elected officials have worked with our budget department to transfer some of their non-budgeted funds to the general fund. We are still seeing a decline in our property tax collections as of 2013 due to lower property assessment valuations. Even with no increase to the primary property tax rate the county will collect $7 million less due to the decline in home values that occurred 18 to 24 months ago.
The distribution of the general fund breaks down like this: public safety and law enforcement receive 63 percent, general government operations receive 23 percent, health services receives 13 percent while other expenditures account for one percent.
There is a lot of good in this budget for District One. There is money set aside for the rehabilitation of the Kelvin Bridge. We will also see more dirt roads paved, not only in District One but throughout the entire county as well. This will help to cut down on the fugitive dust across several areas of the county.
The only issue I wanted to see addressed differently in this budget was cost of living adjustments for our employees. I was hoping to see a raise for our employees starting in July after going five years without an increase. That has been put off to later in the budget year based on a yet to be decided manner.
Since this is the tentative budget, the figures can go down, but not up. It is a fiscally responsible budget that addresses many issues that affect Pinal County. My thanks to the county’s budget staff that worked hard on making this budget a reality.
/s/ Pete Rios
Pinal County Board of Supervisors