On June 4, Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller presented a proposal to her fellow board members that would prevent a tax increase. Miller’s tax neutral budget proposal includes relatively minor reductions and is based on pay-as-you-go policies.
In May, Pima County Assessor Bill Staples called on the supervisors to be “honest” about the tax rates.
So far Miller is the only supervisor who has expressed a willingness to heed Staples’ call. As a result, the County is forced to hold a Truth in Taxation Hearing on June 18. At that time, the supervisors will also adopt a budget.
In a newsletter to constituents on Monday, Miller laid out her proposal:
|Proposal for a Tax Neutral Budget|
|Free Library District||(2 cents)||3,300,285|
|Flood Control District||1,000,142|
|Total Tax Increase||10,685,008||10,685,008|
|Less: New Construction 1.05%||-112,193|
|Total reduction needed for a Tax Neutral Budget||10,572,815|
|Total Value||21% of Total|
|Possible Cuts||For Tax Neutral|
|General Fund Balance||3,900,000||819,000|
|*Less than a 1% reduction in the budget||0.83%|
|Vacant Positions by FTE||70||15|
|Total Vacant Positions||1,050||1,035|
“I presented a list of potential areas to find these cuts and believe it was well received by board members,” wrote Miller. “I presented this as a starting point for discussion and look forward to working with my colleagues to avoid further tax increases on Pima County residents.”
Among her recommendations, Miller proposed eliminating or moving “some capital projects to the future, review the required amount of general fund reserve, elimination of the library district tax rate increase, review of $35 million for budget expense objects that have been consistently underrun for the past 3 years yet a budget increase was requested. Finally, I proposed elimination of 15 of the 1,050 vacant positions that are budgeted in the proposed budget.”
“The amount of the expenditures we must cut is less than a 1% reduction in the County budget and I believe it is achievable if we sharpen our pencils and go to work on behalf of the taxpayers,” noted Miller.
“In light of our current financial situation; debt being paid down and HURF (Highway User Revenue Fund) and VLT (Vehicle Licensing Tax) monies increasing, there will never be a better time to implement a pay-as-you-go policy.” Miller concluded, “I believe this can be accomplished without passing another property tax increase.”