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Pima County set to approve $1.8 billion budget

The Pima County Board of Supervisors has set a budget cap of about $1.76 billion for next fiscal year, as the county seeks to stabilize its finances while cash from COVID-19 subsidies dwindles. As a result, there was a slight decrease from last year.

The Board on Tuesday approved an interim budget that cuts spending by about 9% from last year’s $1.9 billion budget. Supervisors can still request the movement of funds, but cannot change the total budget amount and tax rate with the final budget adoption on 20 June. The next fiscal year begins on his July 1st.

This year’s budget will create financial stability, maintain critical infrastructure, and implement employee pay increases while providing for reduced federal funding and millions of dollars in state-borne costs passed on to counties. It is intended to

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The total property tax rate will be about 0.8% higher than last year’s rate and will rise to $5.1048 for each net appraisal of a home, or $100 estimated value of a property as determined by the county appraisal office. For example, a property with a fixed price of $200,000 would have to pay approximately $10,210 based on the tax rate.

Part of the reason for the increase is the $15.9 million cost that the state will no longer bear. The Arizona legislature often passes costs on to counties, but this year is the first time counties have passed costs on to taxpayers. Supervisor approved policy in August 2021 The increased costs will be covered through property taxes. The county covered the state’s cost shift with American Rescue Plan funds last year.

The county estimates that the $30 million increase in tax revenue will go toward capital improvement projects, road repairs, and other state-paid expenses such as Medicaid, juvenile detention, and superior court and judicial court staff salaries.

County Commissioner Jean Lecher said the county has cut property taxes in other areas, such as debt service, to soften the blow.

“There is constant concern about how this will affect men and women in Pima County,” she said. “But what we are looking at this year is a fairly significant increase in costs” while “making sure that not only roads but all other critical infrastructure is maintained.”

Superintendent Rex Scott told Tuesday’s meeting that property tax rates were still at their second-lowest in a decade, and that the interim budget was “developed over time, carefully and deliberately. A sensible financial document,” he called it.

Lecher said it was his intention that the county would not rely on one-off coronavirus relief funds to sustain the long-term program. The county received $203.4 million in funding for the American Rescue Plan as a local public health agency. spent most of the money About efforts such as administration and inspection of vaccines.

The county continues to struggle to maintain a strong employment base, with a vacancy rate of about 14%, but Lesher hopes the $14 million salary increase due after the budget is passed will help retention and recruitment efforts. there is

The oversight board has approved hiring an outside firm to conduct a countywide rank and compensation survey in 2021 to bring employee salaries up to market rates that compete with the private and public sectors. A company called CBIZ provided early results with an estimated salary increase cost of $14 million. County department heads are meeting with human resources officials to confirm the adjustments, which are likely to go into effect in July, Lesher said.

An additional $5 million will be used for personnel adjustments to ensure that shorter-tenured employees do not overstep the pay levels of more experienced employees.

At Tuesday’s meeting, director Steve Christie asked the board to postpone the implementation of the pay increase until next year, but his motion was rejected only with the support of director Sharon Bronson. Both regulators voted against adoption of the interim budget.

Supervisor Matt Heinz has proposed increasing property tax rates to support affordable home price initiatives, citing demand from local communities.

Mr. Lesher’s idea has not had support from other regulators, but he has allocated $5 million in the budget for affordable housing projects to assess where housing can be built through public-private partnerships. He said the task force is inventorying county property.

Please contact Nicole Ludden at nludden@tucson.com.

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