County Lowers Property Tax Rate

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Gila County's property tax rate is going down, but with assessed values continuing to climb, don't expect a drop in the tax bill.

"We're lowering the property tax rate from $4.41 to about $4.35 (per $100 of assessed evaluation)," said John Nelson, assistant Gila County manager. The average homeowner will see about a 2-percent drop in his tax rate, but the increase in

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John Nelson, assistant Gila County manager.

property values will offset any rate decrease.

Setting the property tax is just one of the steps the county is taking to get next year's budget in order.

The various departments have made their requests, but the county is playing catch-up after weeks of waiting for the state to approved its budget.

Until the county knew what money it would receive from the state, it was impossible to move forward with a plan.

The county's tentative budget must be in by July 17.

Expenditures are still being discussed, Nelson said. "We have a concern with the sheriff's office needing more personnel. We also had a market survey on our employee salaries and we are paying about 5 to 10 percent less (than comparable counties)."

The county has about a 20-percent employee turnover rate, which it hopes to remedy.

Once the tentative county budget is complete, it will be published and a hearing set to take public comment on the county's spending plan.

Nelson said it will be sometime in early August before the actual budget is adopted.

"It's an interesting series of problems," Nelson said. "The supervisors have their priorities. It is a matter of getting everything to fit."

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