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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news August 28, 2014

4/18/2013 9:55:00 PM
County officials to tangle with budget next week

PRESCOTT - Facing a $4 million shortfall for the coming year, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors will begin to hash out its 2013-14 fiscal year budget Monday.

County department heads have submitted proposed budgets to the board, and next week, representatives will meet with the board to plead their cases for the money they want in the next year.

The exact number for anticipated revenue is a moving target, because changes at the state level affect the county's budget. But the county expects a 4-percent increase in revenue from the state-shared sales tax and 6-percent increase in the county sales tax.

That will still leave the county with roughly $4 million less than the projected 2013-14 expenses of $88.3 million in its general fund budget, County Administrator Phil Bourdon said,

Board Chairman Chip Davis reminded the board during Monday's meeting that, in his opinion, the county is operating at a deficit and has been for some time because most of the $5.6 million of annual county sales tax revenue that goes into the county's general fund was originally intended to be used for road maintenance.

"Bear in mind, we're kind of borrowing money from (the) regional roads (fund) and have been for a number of years," Davis said, adding that the goal should be to restore that money. "All of our districts have deteriorating roadway systems that we've got to invest in."

A major worry is the future of money collected from bed rentals at the Camp Verde jail, which makes up a good deal of the jail district's budget. Other agencies routinely rent unused space at the jail and, in November, Sheriff Scott Mascher said, "At $63 a day per person (the amount of bed rental paid to YCSO), this year, we generated $3.2 million."

But Supervisor Tom Thurman said, "I don't want to be negative, but Pinal County just went through a huge reduction in the number of detainees from the Marshal's Office. And if, for any reason, our jail district happens to lose that, it's going to be a bigger hit to the general fund."

Bourdon said that Mascher had admitted that he has no control over that, and if the number of inmates were to decrease, it would have to be made up through the contingency fund.

Bourdon said the departments were all requested to submit budgets that - aside from costs for personnel expenses, retirement - were the same as last year, and they did that. The majority of the time the department heads will spend at next week's meetings with the board will involve advocating for "program changes," which are expenses above last year's levels they would like to add for the coming year. Those changes add up to another $3.5 million, although the board can choose to accept or reject any number of requests.

Last year, the board was able to agree to program changes of about $4.6 million by taking $1.8 million from the capital reserve fund and $2.8 million from the general fund, Bourdon said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2013
Article comment by: An American

Here's a novel idea, stop spending what you think you will take in, and limit you spending to what you do take in.

Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Article comment by: Proof That Taxes Will Always Rise and be RE-APPROPRIATED

Supervisor Davis reminded other Board of Supervisors (BOS) members "we're kind of borrowing money from (the) regional roads (fund)". Lets look at the history of this statement.
In 1994, Resolution 927 was passed by the BOS.

So this resolution was meant to lower your property tax rates and supplement the regional roads fund. Sounds pretty good I think. In 2005 this half- cent tax was projected to generate 14.6 million. 60% designated for Regional Roads program and 40% for the CAPITOL IMPROVEMENTS program. Notice here they are not calling it the TAXPAYER RELIEF program, it is now designated for buildings and such. With Resolution 1594 passed in 2005, the BOS changed the designation of Resolution 927 tax completely. With Resolution 1594, they could determine what, where and when this tax money, commonly called the half-cent tax, could be spent.

The lesson here is that any time a "new" tax is implemented, even when it sounds good, future taxpayers should be prepared to provide petroleum jelly for their donkey.

Ron Drake

Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Article comment by: Lone Rider

@ Toying,
Out of the five BOS there is only two that have Business and Accounting experience. The others are just political hacks or career government employees. Most of the top layers of management don't have any real world accounting experience at all. Heck some of them haven't even graduated from High School and yet are within the layers of management. The County way of doing the books would make three card Monte look like a Saint. If we the private sector kept our own books the same way the County does, we would be in jail. As I have always said, sniff, sniff smells like the County is cooking the books again.

Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Article comment by: Toying With Millions of Dollars

Very frightening that any unqualified citizen can be elected to the BOS and bumble around with millions of tax dollars/budgeting and not have a clue as to how to budget that kind of money!

Does any member on the BOS have an Accountants Degree?

Imagine...Prescott talking of building a new jail when bed space is rented to outside agencies in the current jail. Thanks so much for bringing all those delightful and productive inmates to Yavapai County.

One huge expense that can be eliminated is the maintenance of the Courthouse Square.

Get rid of all the events that are held there that detroys the lawn and requires mega maintenance costs when the events leave.

Or, bill the folks that rent space at the events for the cost of repairing the damaged grounds.

There are many many ways to cut back on the County's waste of tax dollars. Find a way to get the budget under control other than raising our taxes.

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013
Article comment by: Lone Rider

Trust me folks on this one, there is more than 4 Million a year in just WASTE in Yavapai County. Most of it is in top layers and the duplication of management. It is just disgraceful to see and to pay for as a Tax Payer.

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013
Article comment by: A Tax Payer

Well here comes the tax increase. Lets not forget the assessor raised our values in order to increase our tax bills. Lets not forget the state cut business personal property tax rates over the last few years. Which was to create jobs where are the jobs. All it did was place the burden on home owners. Typical politicians during the election years they rob one fund to pay the other instead of dealing with the problem. So they could say we did not raise taxes. How can they talk about a new jail when they are renting beds out to other agencies. Now there stating if they do not fill these beds there is going to be an issue with the sheriffs budget. Why is the county in the prison bed rental business? Stop putting people in jail for pot and other minor issues. If there is some issue with the sheriffs budget then get rid of the high price toys. I�m not a county employee but I see no raise in there future. They keep spending the funds on new buildings and toys for the sheriffs office. All you hear is the employees need to do more with less but there is money for the wants of department heads and the supervisors. Which has become the theme for business and governments in this country as long as the people that make the most get there�s.

We need to change the whole system of electing people to office the board of supervisors needs to operate like city�s and towns do. You appoint someone if they do not do the job you firer them. Most states have one Treasury, one assessor, county attorneys work under the attorney general of the state. Why do we have all these individual school districts. There should be one for the whole county. We need to spend less on administrations and more on teaching. Why is county elected official salaries set by the state? They do not set the salaries for Mayors and council members. Why are supervisors given a county cars or trucks and why are they are given cars and trucks that would be classified as luxury vehicles. Do not forget the tax payer foots the bill for fuel, insurance and the cost of maintaining these vehicles. What is the cost for these five vehicles alone for a year.

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