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4:48 AM Wed, Dec. 19th

Supervisors OK tentative 2005-06 budget

County employees will see an increase in their pay envelopes starting July 1.

The Board of Supervisors Monday approved a $198 million 2005-06 tentative budget that includes a 4.2 percent salary range adjustment and 2.6 percent for merit increases.

The $2,140,000 for salary range adjustments reflects the increase in employee contributions to the Arizona State Retirement System, as well as a cost of living increase.

County Administrator Jim Holst said a second part of the salary increase applies to non-classified department heads who also are on the salary range or steps.

Supervisor Chip Davis said he would recommend nothing greater than 5 percent. “There is a lot of difference in giving a 5 percent increase to someone who earns $25,000 and someone earning $100,000,” he said.

Holst said the supervisors should understand the entire salary schedule.

Human Resources Director Julie Ayers said that if the supervisors want a study session she would be glad to provide additional information on the county salary schedule.

The board approved the classified employee range revision. It will talk about the non-classified salary schedule at a future study session.

The adoption of the tentative budget sets the county’s primary and secondary property tax rates, and special district tax rates. Holst does not anticipate an increase in the property tax rates.

The county’s primary property tax rate is $2.1388 per $100 of assessed valuation. It includes $0.4358 in school equalization property tax and $1.7008 in general fund property tax.

Holst said adoption of the tentative budget “sets the ceiling for the 2005-06 budget. The budget must now stay the same or go down. It cannot increase.”

The county administrator said he schedule final adoption of the budget for Aug. 1 in Prescott.

The $198 million fiscal year 2005-06 budget represents a 9 percent increase from the 2004-05 $182 million budget.

Holst said the 2005-06 budget includes 33 new county positions, 30 paid for with general fund money and three paid for with public works money. The budget also includes the decrease of one employee in the Board of Supervisors office.

The addition of 33 positions increases the number of county employees to 1,713.

Chairman Carol Springer said, “Thanks to a healthy economy and increasing revenues, we are able to give our employees a healthy pay raise. This is a thank you to county employees for the good job they have done.”

The supervisors also approved the fiscal year 2005-06 budgets for special and improvement districts in the county.

Clerk of the Board and Special District Coordinator Bev Staddon noted a significant increase in the tax levy for the Seligman Sanitary District. The increase from a zero tax rate to a $2.10 rate results from the need for repairs to the system, Staddon said.

Staddon said the 2005-06 tax rate increase is less than it was in 1997-98, when it jumped from zero to $7.

The estimated fiscal year 2005-06 budget for the Seligman Sanitary District is $27,570.

The estimated budget for the Seligman Street Lighting Improvement District is $13,529. The tax rate is $0.6840.

The estimated budget for the Ash Fork Street Lighting Improvement District is $17,989. The tax rate is $0.5092.

The estimated budget for the Yarnell Street Lighting Improvement District is $9,365. The tax rate is $0.1894.

The only expense for the Granite Gardens Sanitary District is the bond debt service, which the district collects each year through a tax levy. The value for the district has decreased 5 percent and the anticipated tax rate for $16,839 in debt service is $3.0619. The bonds for this district will be paid off July 1, 2007.

The estimated budget for the Prescott East Sanitary District is $91,147. The district has no operations costs, only debt service for the repayment of a WIFA loan. The multiplier for the anticipated interest revenue is 1.2746.

The estimated budget for the Coyote Springs Road Improvement District II is $96,888. The budget reflects no operations costs, only debt service for repayment of the bonds. The multiplier for the anticipated interest revenue is 1.2746.

The estimated budget for the Pine Valley Street Improvement District is $4,592. The figure reflects only debt service for repayment of bonds. The multiplier for anticipated interest revenue is 1.2746.

Contact the reporter at prhoden@prescottaz.com