Five months after taking over as Gila County’s manager, Don E. McDaniel Jr. says it is clear Gila County’s budget woes are a byproduct of the state’s irresponsible spending.
Last year, sales tax, auto license fees and other state-shared tax revenues were cut more than $1 million, for a two-year decrease of more than $2 million in Gila County.
“In the past two years, the state has been balancing the budget on the backs of Gila County taxpayers,” McDaniel said at the Oct. 28 Business Buzz meeting held at Tiny’s Restaurant.
“Unlike the state, we can’t transfer our problems onto another government.”
McDaniel pointed out Gila County has fared well, even in the economic downturn.
McDaniel credits Deputy County Manager John Nelson and the county supervisors for keeping Gila County afloat while the rest of the state drowned in growing deficits.
Going forward, McDaniel said he hopes to see the county continue to make firm financial decisions.
McDaniel said he believes in principle-centered leadership and views Gila County residents as customers.
“I am striving for 100 percent customer satisfaction,” he said.
McDaniel, a former Winslow city administrator was acting county manager in Maricopa County before taking over in Gila County.
McDaniel took the position vacated by former manager, Steve Besich, who passed away in late January.
McDaniel said has several goals, including:
• Continued concentration on financial planning and budgeting.
• Running an open government where all actions are made out in the open.
• Participative budgeting with constituents.
• Holding staff to performance plans.
• Creating a new strategic plan.