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Thu, Sept. 19

$2.9 million ALTCS payment could be hard hit to county’s 2006-07 budget

Yavapai County officials scrambled Friday to update preliminary budget figures after learning the state may require an additional $2.9 million Arizona Long Term Care Services (ALTCS) payment.

The additional payment would reduce the unallocated money in the fiscal year 2006-07 budget from about $4 million to $1.2 million.

County Administrator Jim Holst told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that he received notice from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) Friday saying the state would require 15 percent increase in ALCTS contributions from all counties.

“Yavapai County has been operating under a circuit breaker with the state paying 50 percent since 1999. The county no longer qualifies for the circuit breaker,” Holst said.

The administrator said legislators Tom O’Halleran and Lucy Mason have signed on to a bill that would put a per capita limit on county contributions.

Holst noted that without the increase, the county’s ALTCS payment would be $7.5 million. The additional 15 percent would increase the county’s payment to $10.5 million, and the per capita bill would reduce the contribution to $8.5 million.

Management Analyst Allison Dixon presented a budget landscape to the supervisors that estimated a fiscal year 2006-07 budget of $25 million, an increase of $5 million from fiscal year 2005-06.

Dixon estimated that the county will carry-over $30 million next year. She anticipates a 7 percent to 8 percent growth in all county revenues “on top of the current growth.”

State shared revenues have grown 22 percent this fiscal year, and Dixon predicts an additional 8 percent.

Supervisor Chip Davis asked if the growth would level off and the state shared revenue slow down.

Supervisor Carol Springer noted that sales tax revenue is the most stable revenue in government.

Dixon estimated the available revenue for fiscal year 2006-07, including $83.8 million in General Fund revenue; $23.2 million, regional roads; and $18.927, capital projects.

The analyst said preliminary county contributions to retirement funds, health insurance, salary increases, contingency and reserve accounts, additional ALTCS payment and additional support to the jail district would have a $11.9 million impact on the fiscal year 2006-07 budget.

Springer noted that there “seems to be on the agenda of the legislature and the governor to return the money that was borrowed from the counties.”

Holst said the state borrowed $3 million from the county.

“Between state shared revenue and the gas tax, the state borrowed $1.5 million from Yavapai County in each of the past two years,” he said.

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