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Mon, July 13

Home Rule on ballot for another extension in Chino Valley

Chino Valley voters will get to decide this election whether to approve the Alternative Expenditure Limitation (Home Rule) option, which gives the Town Council the ability to set its own spending limits based upon current and projected revenues and local service demands.

HOME RULE HISTORY

Chino Valley, like all cities and towns in Arizona, is required to have a balanced budget where expenditures cannot exceed available revenues. In 1980, Arizona voters approved an amendment to the state constitution designed to limit the annual expenditures of all Arizona cities and towns, according to the town’s website.

The law requires that each municipality adopt a limit on its annual expenditures based on a formula that is set by the state. This is known as the state-imposed expenditure limitation.

However, many of Arizona’s cities, towns and municipalities began to experience growth in terms of population, revenue and budget demands. With this rapid growth, the state formula — set according to the economic climate of the late 1970s — no longer reflected the revenue and expenditure needs of a rapidly growing state.

The Arizona Constitution was then amended to provide options to accommodate these growing financial needs.

One of the options allows voters to authorize their council to adopt an alternative method for setting the town’s expenditure limit. This is known as the Alternative Expenditure Limitation (the Home Rule Option).

Voters have the option to approve Home Rule every four years and, if that happens, the Town Council adopts the expenditure limitation option in conjunction with adoption of the town’s annual budget. Expenditures cannot exceed that limitation, thereby creating the required balanced budget in lieu of having to follow a state-imposed expenditure limitation.

HOME RULE IN CHINO VALLEY

When the state-limitation formula was originally developed in 1980, Chino Valley had a population of 2,400 and revenues of $255,094. But now, Chino Valley currently has a population between 11,000 and 12,000 and it projects to receive approximately $23,590,700 in revenues during fiscal year 2021-22.

Chino Valley operated under the state limitation until 1985 when the town’s residents voted to approve the Home Rule Option for the first time. Chino Valley voters have extended the Home Rule Option every four years since then.

Chino Valley’s current Home Rule expires in June 2021 and the council is asking the voters in the Aug. 4 Primary Election to extend it another four years. Chino Valley Mayor Darryl Croft and the Town Council members are recommending the Home Rule Option over the other options because it best fits the town’s current circumstances.

“If it didn’t pass, our budget this year would be about $10 million but revenues we’re bringing in are about $24 million, which is our budget this year,” Croft said. “So we would have $14 million sitting in the bank the Town Council could not spend. We’d have the revenues coming in but we’d be unable to spend it because our budget would be limited to $10 million, if Home Rule did not pass.”

Annie Perkins, Billie James and Regina Precoraro — candidates for Chino Valley Town Council in this year’s election — all believe Home Rule should be passed for Chino Valley.

“Absolutely, yes on Home Rule,” Perkins said. “We are already cut short on funding based on our population. A ‘no’ vote is a financial death sentence to our town and everything we have worked for towards achieving sustainability.”

HOME RULE’S EFFECT ON TAXES

None. Home Rule does not increase or decrease the revenues that the town receives from sales taxes and state shared revenues or from any other source.

IF HOME RULE DOESN’T PASS

In the event that voters do not approve Home Rule, Chino Valley will lose the ability to set its budget based on current needs and revenues. It will also be required to limit town expenditures to the state-imposed formula for at least two consecutive fiscal years until it can be approved by the voters at another election.

Projections indicate that approximately 59% of the town’s overall budget for the next two years would have to be eliminated.

Although Chino Valley will still receive revenues approximating the estimates above, revenue amounts in excess of the state limit would remain unavailable for two years, as state law will prevent the town from allocating that money to provide general government services.

VOTING PROCESS

The town is proposing to place the Home Rule proposal on the Aug. 4 ballot. Registered voters will receive a voter information pamphlet with much of the material presented here on Home Rule, as well as general voting information.

Follow Aaron Valdez on Twitter at @Valaaron_94. Email avaldez@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.

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