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4:05 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

Jail tax election plan now has its own website

The Yavapai County government has opened a new website that aims to educate voters about its jail system and its mission to double its quarter-cent sales tax so it can build a new Prescott jail.

Voters will have the final decision on Nov. 4, so officials are offering information to the public in a variety of formats including the website, a brochure that's set for printing, offering to attend meetings, and producing the state-required publicity pamphlet.

The website, www.yavapaijail.org, defines the jail district, talks about the Camp Verde jail's population trends and capacity, describes the ballot proposal, lists upcoming meetings about the issue, and features answers to frequently asked questions.

It also explains why county officials don't think the existing Prescott jail is suitable to reopen. Right now they use it only as a holding facility until they can transport prisoners to the Verde Valley.

Voters can submit questions or sign up for jail tours. The website even offers a link to a voter registration site, as well as links to Daily Courier newspaper articles.

The Board of Supervisors plans to vote on a jail tax resolution and ballot language at its July 21 meeting.

At Monday's board meeting, Supervisor Rowle Simmons said most of the people attending a recent jail election presentation for the Citizens Tax Committee support the idea of paying for the new jail with a higher sales tax.

Other actions at Monday's board meeting included:

• The Assessor's Office appealed the supervisors' denial of her request for $60,000 for detailed aerial photography of the Verde Valley, and the supervisors changed their mind.

It was one of only two departmental appeals of the board's budget decisions, and the board changed its decision in both cases.

The Assessor's Office showed the supervisors a new analysis of the cost savings the Pictometry aerial images produced when the office used them for the Prescott region.

The images basically paid for themselves and tripled appraisers' productivity, Chief Appraiser David Hanson said, because they could avoid on-site visits to two-thirds of the homes.

And in a $700 test area, the office generated $2,800 worth of new tax revenues for local governments.

"It goes a long way in equalizing our values" because it speeds up property value reviews, Hanson said. The office has been unable to appraise all the properties in the county every five years as state law requires.

Supervisor Chip Davis was the only one to vote against the expenditure, offering a failed motion to approve the spending only if the assessor cuts her travel budget in half. She already cut her travel budget request by 20 percent at the supervisors' request.

• Supervisors approved donating $15,000 to the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization after already donating money to a Prescott-area economic development group.

• Supervisors approved a resolution opposing a proposed EPA rule to redefine waters of the United States,

• Supervisors suspended remaining right-of-way negotiations for a Williamson Valley Road widening project at the insistence of Supervisor Craig Brown, who represents the Williamson Valley area and opposes the extra lanes.

• Supervisors approved a proclamation declaring June 30 as a Day of Remembrance for the Granite Mountain Hotshots, who died on June 30 last year in the Yarnell Hill wildfire.

• Supervisors increased the Mayer Constable salary from $29,437 to $36,100, the minimum that state law requires because of population increase. They left the Seligman and Bagdad/Yarnell constable salaries at zero but granted them the use of county vehicles.

• Supervisors approved changes to a wide variety of Environmental Health Services fees.

Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder