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Tue, Feb. 25

Census: Prescott Valley may gain $884k from population gain

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Department heads for the Town of Prescott Valley likely will begin talks Monday on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year on a more positive note. The town government expects to receive $883,912 in additional money from the state of Arizona from sales, income and vehicle license taxes, and from taxes at the gas pump.

"We got very good news," Management Services Director Bill Kauppi said. "We were in the process of evaluating what services or other areas we were going to have to cut. We don't have to do it nearly as bad - that's for sure."

Kauppi said he did not expect the population to increase by more than half of the gain of 5,247 residents since town officials estimated 33,575 residents for 2005, the mid year in the decennial federal census. The recently released census for 2010 shows a population of 38,822.

In response to the new census information, the Arizona League of Cities and Towns released estimates on revenue gains and losses for cities and towns throughout the state based on changes in population.

The league's tables show estimated increases for Prescott Valley for 2011-2012 of $418,259 from sales taxes, $235,812 from Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF), $220,558 for vehicle license taxes and $9,283 from income taxes. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Altogether, the estimates show income tax revenues for the town for 2011-2012 at nearly $3.3 million, sales tax revenues exceeding $2.9 million, HURF money above $2.6 million and vehicle license taxes exceeding $2 million.

State-shared revenues go into the town's general fund, which covers most town operations. The HURF money pays for chip-sealing and other road improvements, according to Kauppi.

State-shared revenues account for 34 percent of the town's operating revenues for the general fund, Kauppi said. Spending for the general fund accounts for about $24.3 million of an overall budget of $72.2 million that the Town Council adopted for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

But while the state can give, the state can take away, Kauppi and Mayor Harvey Skoog acknowledged.

Kauppi said state lawmakers have talked about "raiding" the vehicle license tax money to lessen the state's budget woes.

Skoog said, "Those (vehicle license taxes) have pretty much diminished."

Meanwhile, Kauppi said he does not propose major changes for the upcoming budget year based on the census figures. The council plans work/study sessions May 4 and 5 for the upcoming budget.

Fearing a drop in state-shared revenues because of an expected recession, Town Manager Larry Tarkowski imposed a hiring freeze in October 2007.

Town officials have taken other austerity measures since then, including closing a majority of town offices on Fridays and reducing the hours of employees.

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