Rim Country Budgets Slip Sliding Away

County: Spending off 1.2%, jobs cut

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Gila County’s $95.3 million budget total for 2013-2014 is a big number, but not as big as last year. The county’s budget will continue a long, slow decline — with a 1.2 percent decrease from last year.

The board this week approved County Manager Don McDaniel and Interim Finance Director Dana Hlavac’s proposed budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year and scheduled a July 16 public hearing on the spending plan.

The property tax rate will remain

unchanged, although dwindling assessed values will trim revenue by about 8 percent. The county will have 15.5 fewer full-time employees.

Hlavac warned the supervisors that non-property-tax revenues will likely continue to decline through 2014, dwindling from $38 million in 2012, to $36.5 million in 2013 and finally to $35 million in 2014.

Revenue

The county could collect up to $27 million in property taxes under state law, but will actually collect about $20 million — $18.4 million from the primary rate and $1.4 million from secondary rate. That’s just the money going to the county. Water, fire, school and wastewater special districts have their own rates. For FY 2012-2013, the county should collect $22.1 million from primary property taxes and $1.5 from secondary taxes.

Property taxes represent 34 percent of the county’s operating revenue. Grants and fees are another 33 percent, with most earmarked for certain projects. The county has to include those grants it hopes to get in order to spend the money if the application succeeds.

Gila County gets 8 percent of its revenue from state-shared sales taxes; 6 percent from federal Payments In Lieu of Taxes to compensate for the lack of private land on the tax rolls; 4 percent from sales tax; 3 percent from auto license taxes; and 12 percent from other sources.

Expenditures

Courts, probation and the sheriff’s office account for almost two-thirds of what the county spends. That includes the sheriff’s office and constables (31 percent); the courts (12 percent); county attorney (8 percent); and probation and juvenile detention (6 percent).

Other pieces of the expense pie: 10 percent to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and Arizona Long Term Care System to provide the county’s share for health coverage for the poor and nursing home residents; 4 percent to the health and emergency services; 3 percent to community development; 3 percent for contingency; and 3 percent for “other.”

After the criminal justice system, administration accounts for the biggest chunk — about 20 percent. About one-fifth of that money goes into the board of supervisors constituent services budget, a pot of money for each supervisor to dole out.

District One Supervisor Tommie Martin has used some of her pot to sponsor part of Northern Gila County’s rodeos, awards at quilt shows, help with the Northern Gila County Fair, etc.

The balance of the administrative costs in the budget include: 15 percent to the assessor’s office; 11 percent to computer services; 11 percent to finance and purchasing; 10 percent to human resources; 9 percent to the recorder’s office; 9 percent to administrative services, including contracted services with outside professionals; 7 percent to the treasurer’s office; 6 percent to elections; and 4 percent for general administration.

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