The Gila County Board of Supervisors approved a tentative budget of $119 million for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 at its June 15 meeting. Budget manager Maryn Belling stressed the budget is structured in such a way as to make it possible for unexpected, but restricted funds to be accepted and spent without redoing the entire budget. In other words, as additional funds come to the county for COVID-19 or fire recovery, the budget can accommodate the influx of new money and its use.
Revenue from property tax in the new fiscal year is expected to be $25,515,969, which is $585,245 more than 2021 collections. Belling said the increase was due to higher assessed property values and new construction. An additional $40,594,329 in revenue is expected from sources other than property taxes, these sources include state-shared sales tax, the county excise tax, vehicle license taxes, licenses and permits, intergovernmental funds including grants, charges for services, fines and forfeits, etc. The county also has money in reserve to balance the budget.
Breaking down the county’s expenses, Belling provided a pie chart showing percentages:
• 30% is for public safety
• 17% goes to the courts
• 15% is allocated for general government
• 11% to health and emergency management
• 10% for capital projects
• 8% for AHCCCS and ALTCS
• 4% for debt service
• 3% for community development
• 3% for facilities and fleet
Belling said the budget was developed with the directives from the BOS: provide for a balanced budget; maintain county primary property tax rate of $4.19 per $100 of assessed valuation; operate within property tax and other current revenues while preparing for future economic uncertainty; and maintain public service levels.
The challenges, opportunities and ongoing considerations for the FY 21-22 budget were also presented:
• Challenges — changing economic conditions; COVID-19; increases in unfunded mandates
• Opportunities — additional grant funding and collaborations; workplace and customer service adaptations; NeoGov Software that brings the best talent to the workplace with COVID-19 safe interfaces
• Ongoing business considerations — 3% increase in health insurance costs; operating budgets remain flat; consumer price index and cost of living ratios; Public Service Personnel Retirement System debt service vs. unamortized actuarial liability
Another part of the presentation included bringing the supervisors up to date on the county’s capital improvements, new initiatives and future program investments. Capital improvements completed in 2021 were the animal shelter in Globe and the Globe jail; the Payson Multi-Purpose Building is an ongoing project, expected to be completed in December.
New initiatives and future program investments include: public defender’s office; fairgrounds, parks and recreation; economic development; regional public transportation; and Highway 60 Corridor — Gila Proud.