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7:38 PM Fri, Nov. 16th

$218.5M county budget shows 4% decrease

Primary property tax drops 6 cents

FY 2018-2019 Yavapai County levies per $100,000 home

Primary Property tax levy = $177.88

Flood Control District = $21.88

Library District = $17.20.

Total amount = $216.96 – a 79 cent reduction from last year.

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors approved the 2018-19 tentative budget — that will result in a total county tax rate decrease — after a brief presentation by County Administrator Phil Bourdon at the July 3 board meeting.

All department heads and supervisors studied proposed budgets during public meetings over the past few months.

Bourdon said last year’s primary property tax levy in the general fund of $46.2 million (including new construction) will reflect a total county tax rate decrease from $1.8395 to $1.7788 or about 6 cents. The total county tax rate, including primary, flood and library tax rates, will decrease by 8.6 cents.

“If the value of your property stayed the same, the tax you pay on the property to the county will actually go down slightly,” Supervisor Jack Smith said.

Some decisions this year included in the tentative budget are merit raises for employees following a classification and compensation study the county undertook this past fiscal year.

The supervisors also made additional payments — $4 million to Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) and $500,000 to Correction Officer Retirement Plan (CORP) — toward their unfunded liability.

The jail district budget of $18.6 million includes $7.2 million maintenance of effort (MOE) as mandated by state law and comes from the general fund, as well as $9.6 million that is derived from the sales tax that has been in effect since 2000. This budget shows an increase of 2.5 percent from last fiscal year.

The budgets for special districts, special revenue funds and general funds have increased by 4.9 percent, 3.5 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively. Debt service is $2.2 million, reflecting a decrease of 88.9 percent.

The largest expenditure in the county budget goes toward the general fund (49 percent) which increased 3.8 percent. Of that category, 51 percent pays for courts and law enforcement.

Internal services takes up 22 percent of the general fund and includes Facilities, Finance, Fleet, GIS, MIS and Human Resources departments. General services, which includes long-term care costs to the state, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) payments and contingency fund, makes up about 10 percent. All other departments — Public Works, Assessor, Medical Examiner, Recorder, Elections, Board of Supervisors, School Superintendent, Public Fiduciary and Treasurer — make up the rest of the general fund expenditures.

The county received about $126.5 million in general fund revenues, with the biggest chunk, 37 percent, coming from property taxes. State shared sales tax makes up 25 percent, the half-cent sales tax is 15 percent, and between 6 and 9 percent come from the categories of vehicle license tax, fuel and other revenues.

“I am very proud of the fact that only 1 percent of the county budget expenditures is debt service. This clearly reflects the values and priorities of this fiscally-minded board,” Bourdon said.

Supervisors are expected to adopt a final budget at their Aug. 1 meeting, and approve the tax rate Aug. 15 at their board meeting in Cottonwood.