Pima County approves tentative budget; no significant expansion or reduction in services - The Explorer: News

Pima County approves tentative budget; no significant expansion or reduction in services

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Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 9:16 am

The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved a tentative $1.27 billion budget for next fiscal year that maintains service levels despite ongoing reductions in revenues.

The approval, which came on a 3-2 vote, sets an upper

“ceiling” for the budget, which caps the total budget allocation as well as the proposed property tax levy. The board can reduce the

expenditures or transfer funds among agencies, as appropriate, but cannot increase the budget prior to adoption of the final budget on June 18.

The adopted tentative budget is $3.9 million higher than the budget recommended by the County Administrator in late April, but still lower by 14 percent than the budget of six years ago when the recession began. In that time, budgets for General Fund departments have been cut 11.5 percent since Fiscal Year 2007/08, and the County workforce has shrunk by 12.8 percent.

In a procedural vote, Supervisors indicated that while they may not ultimately adopt a budget at the higher amount, it will provide additional flexibility as they weigh pressing needs, such as transportation improvements as well as considering appropriate levels of compensation for public safety employees, including the Sheriff’s Department.

While the sales tax and vehicle license tax are beginning to recover, the market value of existing property in the County is anticipated to decrease 8 percent next fiscal year. That decrease in values will offset the potential increase in the primary property tax rate, ensuring a “revenue neutral” tax levy, as determined by Truth in Taxation limits.

Among key priorities, the County budget would :

• Invest $5 million to fix and maintain approximately 100 miles of County roads; • Supplement the Sheriff’s and County Attorney’s offices by $4 million to replace

declining federal and state revenues; • Replace $4 million that would be lost to the general fund because of declining

property values; • Afford a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment for employees at the beginning of the

fiscal year, with 2 percent to follow at the start of 2014. 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.

Please review the proposed budget at http://www.pima.gov/finance/RecBdgt/2013- 2014/index.html

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