Gila County will play host to at least 150 supervisors and staff Oct. 14-16 at the County Supervisors Association Legislative Summit where county officials gather to hammer out their top priorities for when the Arizona legislature reconvenes in January.
At a Sept. 24 work session, the Gila County Board of Supervisors reviewed a proposed agenda that includes three top priorities and 15 other proposals, mostly intended to protect county budgets from legislative efforts to shift costs to the county with one hand and filch their tax revenues on the other. The CSA proposals include:
Law that will lock in counties’ traditional share of the state lottery revenues;
Eliminate a state policy that shifted onto counties a portion of the cost of treating sexually violent persons at the Arizona State Hospital;
Return to counties gas taxes collected through the Highway Users Revenue Fund to find additional money for roadwork.
Gila County proposed one of the lobbying proposals, a new law to protect the integrity of county seals. The county asked for the new law after some candidates used the county seal on their mailers, which District One Supervisor Tommie Martin said gave voters the impression the county had endorsed the candidate. The county also doesn’t want people to use the seal on Web sites that make it look like it’s an official, county site.
Submitting the most proposals were Yavapai and Coconino counties, which each have four suggestions.
Coconino: Let counties ban firework sales in unincorporated areas during periods of high fire danger; Raise gas taxes and use the money for transportation; Let judges and the county cooperate in appointing an administrator to indigent legal services; Restore the amount the state pays for people in group homes from 70 percent to 88 percent.
The Gila County supervisors supported all those proposals.
Yavapai: Allow counties to charge both standby capacity and use fees for domestic water and domestic wastewater improvement districts; Make fire district reorganization rules the same as other special districts; Don’t make counties pay the cost of court-ordered evaluations; Switch to mail-in ballots when a county’s voter registration list has 50 percent or more on the permanent early voting list. The supervisors supported the fee authority and fire district election proposals, but want more information on the court-ordered evaluations and could not agree on the mail-in ballot proposal.
Mohave County proposed requiring the state parks to distribute half of the Arizona State Lake Improvement Fund to local governments to fund projects on lakes that allow motorboats; Keep nuisance and dangerous property abatement liens in place even after a property goes into foreclosure. Gila County supervisors agreed with these proposals.
Cochise County made two proposals, one to change the adoption laws to not require a child be physically present at the time the petitioner or spouse is a member of the military serving abroad, so long as they were in the state for six months prior to shipping out. Gila County supervisors gave their OK to this item.
The second proposal was in regard to designating substandard roads as “primitive” if opened before June 13, 1990. This item will be reviewed by county engineers and not come before the CSA.
La Paz County is proposing supervisors have the authority to hire outside counsel to represent boards and administration in civil matters. Tommie Martin and Mike Pastor agreed this is a good proposal, however, John Marcanti was opposed to it.
Navajo County suggests extending the current budget flexibility language to allow supervisors to use any source of revenue to meet fiscal obligations for 2014-15. Gila County supervisors unanimously opposed this — a secondary tax is designated for a specific purpose and should be used for that alone, was the consensus.
The CSA Legislative Summit includes a closed session for deliberation on the proposals, however the votes will be made in an open forum.