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Thu, May 23

<I>County supervisors raise levy 5 percent</I><BR>Fund transfer averts larger increase in property taxes<BR>

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors approved a 7-cent increase in the property tax rate last Monday – the first for the county in 16 years.

The rate will go from $1.61 per $100 of assessed valuation to $1.68.

The increase will boost county property taxes on a home with an assessed valuation of $100,000 by approximately $7 per year. That increase, however, is considerably less than the 22-cent increase that the supervisors originally considered.

The supervisors earlier set a tentative budget, which included a levy increase to $1.83 per $100 of assessed valuation. But the board was able to delay raising the county levy as much as it had originally proposed through a stopgap plan. The plan will allow county voters to decide if they want to pay for additional jail staffing through increased sales tax.

The plan that the supervisors approved this week will transfer nearly $2.3 million of county money into the jail district instead of into the county's capital improvement fund. That money will provide 73 new employees for the jail expansion, allowing Yavapai County Sheriff Buck Buchanan to open part of the new complex.

"It's been our most challenging year," said Board Chairman Chip Davis. "We'll go to the voters in the spring to ask the question about the (jail district) sales tax."

Davis said if the county jail district sales tax doesn't increase from a quarter-cent to a half-cent, "There most definitely will be an increase in the property tax next year."

The board also approved an increase of 1 percent in the secondary property tax levy for the Yavapai County Free Library District.

The same motion that set the levy rates for primary and secondary county property taxes also provided for the collection of taxes by the county treasurer. The treasurer collects taxes for cities and towns, school districts, Yavapai College, fire districts and special districts.

Yavapai College reduced its primary rate to pay for operations and capital expenses by 1 percent. The college cut its secondary levy for bond debt service by 21 percent.

Most of the school districts in Yavapai County lowered tax levy rates.

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