County Approves Tentative Budget With $1.4 Million Increase From Past Year

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The county could have a budget reflecting a $1.4 million increase in its expenditure limitation over its 2005-2006 budget.

The Board of Supervisors approved the tentative budget in a special meeting July 17.

The estimated expenditure limitation is $33.7 million, with an appropriation not to exceed $75.2 million, according to Steve Besich, Gila County manager.

Estimated expenditure limitations are only those costs which the law allows supervisors to spend local revenues. Other costs are paid through additional resources, such as grants and state-shared revenue.

Areas to be increased over last year: the general fund, the library district, the road fund, the internal service fund, capital improvements and special revenue funds.

Decreases are anticipated in the county's debt service fund and its agency fund.

"The Legislature mandated we rebase our levy limit," Besich said. "We have tried to keep the property tax rate level at $4.41 (per $100 of assessed valuation), but it will now be $4.35 due to the law."

The rate, with the special district taxes added in, was $4.71 this year and will be $4.65 for 2006-2007.

Budget documents show that $18.4 million of the county's revenues come from property taxes.

Assistant County Manager John Nelson explained in an earlier interview that although the rate per $100 of assessed valuation will be down, that does not necessarily mean a lower tax bill. Assessed valuation has increased, so in the best circumstances the outcome will be a wash, with the potential savings taken up by the higher assessment values.

The final budget will be adopted Aug. 1, Besich said, with the tax rates officially set Aug. 21.

At that point, "the supervisors can reduce expenditures and move them around, but nothing can be raised," Besich said.

-- To reach Teresa McQuerrey call 474-5251 ext. 113 or e-mail tmcquerrey@payson.com.

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