Gila County will not be raising taxes this year, but some property owners are seeing an increase in their assessed values, so are still paying more.
"The draft should be completed by the end of next week," District One Gila County Supervisor Ron Christensen said. "There will be no tax increases, but a rise in assessed values have added some funds."
The county keeps a contingency fund of $1 million to meet unforeseen increases in expenses, such as the hikes in fuel rates, he said.
"Those had a big impact on the sheriff's budget, but that's where the contingency comes in," Christensen said.
The several murder trials the county attorney and courts have had to deal with also were "unforeseen" and adding to those budgets, he said. Among these were: the Paul Roosen case, which was dismissed; the Charles Johnson case, which is still in the system; and the Kevan Kuhlman case, which was settled with a guilty plea that was later withdrawn.
"In the last 10 to 15 years, there have been more violent crimes (in Northern Gila County) than in years past," Christensen said. "You have to go all the way back to the days of the Wild West to see as many murder cases."
Once the draft is completed by the finance department, the supervisors will meet with personnel in the various county services to review the budget and let the staff defend their requests.
Christensen said the supervisors want the departments to limit their requested budget increases as much as possible, but concedes that in some cases it may not be possible.
In other county news, the supervisors will have their June 8 meeting at the community center in Pine. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. The agenda includes several water-related topics: the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District's intervention in the rate increase hearing the Arizona Corporation Commission is holding for the Pine Water Company; taking action to set an election for a new board of directors for the PSWID and future actions by the Board of Supervisors serving as the board for the PSWID.
Also on the agenda:
- A canvass of the results from the May 18 Payson Unified School District override election; and
- A presentation of the University of Arizona Extension Service budget request for 2004-2005.