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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news October 13, 2015

2/1/2013 9:56:00 PM
County supervisors wary about upcoming fiscal year budget
Scott Orr
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - After discussing various topics that would affect the county government in the coming year at an all-day retreat, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors late Wednesday afternoon got to the subject that Chairman Chip Davis most wanted to discuss: the budget.

It's a topic that concerns the board, because some of the factors that control how much money the county will have are dependent on things beyond the board's influence.

For example, when a 1-cent state sales tax that generates nearly a billion dollars a year expires at the end of 2013, "it's going to be a dramatic hit to the state, and you can bet that that is going to result in a dramatic hit to us," Davis said.

"When that sales tax goes away, the state's going to have to make it up somewhere," he said.

Revenue projections overall are a few percentage points higher than last year, said County Administrator Phil Bourdon, and expenses are down a bit, as the fact that it isn't an election year will save the county nearly $400,000 and removing most capital improvements from the 2013 budget saved $1.8 million.

Also unknown, Bourdon said, is the full effect that President Obama's healthcare reform law, the Affordable Care Act, will have on the budget.

Supervisor Tom Thurman said he's "cautiously optimistic" about future revenues, because he believes home sales are up, which could lead to sales tax increases as people buy more consumer goods.

"The other day, one of the subdivisions in Prescott Valley (reported) selling 31 homes in the month of January, so that gives me a glimmer of hope," he said.

But that doesn't mean the county's coffers will be flush with cash. "We'll be close," Thurman said.

Supervisor Jack Smith said he's waiting to find out what the state Legislature will do. "We've got several bills out there that (could) pull some significant money from the county, and I'm concerned about that," he said, noting that it's tough to plan when you don't know how much money you'll have.

"After going down to Phoenix and listening to what the governor's anticipated budget was and how it would affect us in Yavapai County, you come away with the attitude that there's going to be more taken away," Supervisor Craig Brown said. "We'll have to walk the tightrope."

Bourdon asked the board if it wanted him to talk to the department heads and "ask them how they would cut their budgets if there were budget problems?"

Davis said that would send the wrong message. "The perception is, if you ask me where to cut, you're assuming there's fat to be cut."

"I don't see any fat anywhere," Thurman said.

"I'd prefer to stay the course...until something on the horizon gives me reason to change that course," Supervisor Rowle Simmons said. "I think it's premature to do that."

Bourdon said he would begin work on a plan to look at budgeting for three years into the future and would begin gathering information about the departments' anticipated budget needs for the next fiscal year.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: No Fat?


That's as realistic as a groundhog predicting the future.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Evan Huntsinger

From the article:

Davis said that would send the wrong message. "The perception is, if you ask me where to cut, you're assuming there's fat to be cut."

"I don't see any fat anywhere," Thurman said.

Good Grief! How blind can you be? Do you live in an alternate universe?

Look at the repeatedly botched road projects, for example. Wagoner Road is one. You both know about that one.

Look at all the expensive, oversized vehicles driven by county employees daily. I could go through that fleet and save the taxpayers a bunch by more intelligent purchasing and keeping them longer.

And the Helicopter? What a hole they cut in the taxpayers' pocket with that one.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: jeff thomas

i guess the only solution is to hire 20-30 more cops to bring up revenue.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: I M CON-FUSED

Didn't the board just dump loads of tax-payer money into an office building for themselves?

If times are so tough then how come they need new digs at our expense? Better for it yourselves!

Posted: Saturday, February 02, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Elected officials must not anticipate a rising economy with the Obama administration having its boot on the neck of business and energy. We know there is pent up demand for wage and benefit increases, however, they must materialize before the budget expands not before. Remember who you work for public elected officials.

Posted: Saturday, February 02, 2013
Article comment by: David Kerr

From Wednesdays Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment rate by metro area

Flagstaff 8.4
Lake Havasu City-Kingman 9.5
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale 6.7
Prescott 8.6
Tucson 6.9
Yuma 27.3

Why is Phoenix unemployment 6.7%? Salt Lake City 4.9% Many California cities over 10%

I think the economy is growing where people want to invest, Controlling local government spending makes an area more attractive to investors.

Posted: Saturday, February 02, 2013
Article comment by: Byte Me

Chairman Davis, you claim that when the 1% sales tax expires at the end of 2013 that "the state's going to have to make it up somewhere.". Why? It was a temporary tax, you knew it was going to go away. Why did you budget as if it would always be there? Time to cut back. You can always add back to the budget if the economy is actually growing, but you must wait and see. Like the rest of us, you can't, or shouldn't spend a what you don't have.

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