Originally Published: February 25, 2018 5:53 a.m.
Before the formation of the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority (CAFMA) was even being considered, the Central Yavapai Fire District (CYFD) began an aggressive campaign to stabilize a jeopardized budget following the recession.
To do so, CYFD began to significantly raise the rate of the secondary property tax it relies on to generate a majority of its revenue. In 2010, the rate was $1.48 per secondary assessed value, according to tax rate comparison chart put together by Scott Bliss, chief of Planning and Logistics for CAFMA.
Meaning, the annual tax on a $100,000 home was $148.
In the following four years, it shot up to $2.34 and has continued to creep up at a slower pace since. As it stands, CYFD’s tax rate is now $2.56.
Though forming CAFMA has put CYFD in a better position, the budgeting issues remain.
Bliss said the issues stem from some poor budgeting practices taken by CYFD during the recession years and the unfunded liability for the retirement system – the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS).
“We still have to address those, and that’s why CYFD’s tax rate has continued to go up for the last four years and we probably have to for at least one more year, maybe two.”
After that, the rate is expected to level out and begin to trend down by 2022, according to Bliss’s budget projections. Had CYFD continued on without combining with the Chino Valley Fire District to form CAFMA, the tax rate would currently be 7 cents higher at $2.63 and remain higher into the foreseeable future.
Chino Valley Fire District’s tax rate has remained maxed out at the legal cap of $3.25 annually since 2016 and is projected to remain there for quite a few years to come, Bliss said.
“We will eventually bring Chino’s tax rate down, but that will take some time to accomplish,” CAFMA Fire Chief Scott Freitag said.
The tax rates for CVFD and CYFD have been brought up during their recent governing board meetings and will be presented on briefly at the next meetings set to take place Monday, Feb. 26 at the Town of Chino Valley’s Council Chambers, 202 N. Highway 89, Chino Valley.
CVFD’s board meeting will go from 4 to 5 p.m. CYFD’s will go from 5 to 7 p.m. And the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority’s will go from 7 to 8 p.m.
To look at each board’s full agenda, go to Bit.ly/2oulOGc.