Pima County Supervisors Raise Taxes, Lend Money To UofA

pima county

On Monday, the Pima County Board of Supervisors, in a 4-1 vote, agreed to increase a loan to the University of Arizona for the completion of the University’s Mineral Museum. At the same time, the supervisors approved raising taxes.

Supervisors Richard Elias, Sharon Bronson, Ramon Valadez, and Steve Christy approved an increase in the loan amount to the University of Arizona for tenant improvements, bringing the loan amount to $13.5 million for the 20,789 square foot space.

Supervisors additionally approved in a 4-1 vote, a $5 annual lease to the University of Arizona at 240 N. Stone that includes 2 court rooms and an office totaling 3,026 square feet. Supervisor Ally Miller was the lone “no” vote.

“Too often it seems as if much of the County’s decision making is made based on proximity to power and not solid data. As a result, we enter into risky business “opportunities” and speculative projects while neglecting the needs of a majority of our residents,” explained Supervisor Miller in a press release. “It is a shame that we continue to force taxpayers to subsidize the University of Arizona when the University received a $2.643 billion budget this year.”

The supervisors also approved a tax increase in a 3-2 vote. Bronson, Elias and Valadez rejected Miller’s proposed plan for a tax neutral budget in what she described as “an effort to spare the taxpayers an unnecessary increased burden.”

Miller explained that her proposal used the funds allotted for unfilled positions on a temporary basis in order to achieve a tax neutral budget. She noted in her release:

• 1,756 Full Time Employee (FTE) positions remain unfilled

• $58,094,972 is the total amount budgeted for the unfilled positions

• $8,307,716 has been saved in the General Fund only from vacant positions up to this point (8/06/2019)

• the County is on track to save $72,000,207 in the General Fund from personnel expenses if these positions remain unfilled

• the amount of money needed to make a tax neutral budget was $10,795,268

• the savings could have been used to ensure that taxpayers would not experience a tax increase

“Had my colleagues adopted my proposal, they could have spared the taxpayers of Pima County from an increased financial burden, and as you can see from the numbers above, not one service or job would have been impacted,” said Miller. “While some of my colleagues paid lip service to the proposal, when push came to shove, they chose to shove another increase through. Not only did they ignore my pleas for fiscal restraint and compassion, they ignored those of County Assessor Bill Staples.”

In May, Staples, a democrat, called on the Board to “be honest” about the tax rates and to lower them in order to avoid an increase in property owners’ tax bills.

Pima County Assessor Bill Staples Blasts Board of Supervisors, “Be Honest About Taxes Increases”

“As I have said before, not only are Pima County taxpayers carrying the burden of our university and other favored organizations, they continually face rising taxes. As in the past, this year I urged my fellow supervisors to show some level of compassion for taxpayers. I proposed the adoption of a neutral property tax in an effort to ensure the equity that my fellow supervisors speak of so often. Unfortunately, they opted to increase the burden of the residents in the fifth poorest metropolitan area in the country, once again,” concluded Miller’s statement.

According to Miller, a tax neutral budget could have been achieved by simply not filling some of the over 1,700 budgeted vacant job positions. A majority of those positions, which have been budgeted, have not be filled for years.

According to the University of Arizona’s budget report, the University’s FY2019 budget of $2.643 billion represents a $56.7 million or 2% increase over the FY2018 budget.

Pima County leadership has increased the burden on taxpayers in order to develop the University of Arizona’s Mineral Museum. Yet, records show that approximately 836 University of Arizona employees receive annual salaries from $875,000 to $150,000 with an annual average salary of $244,257.

16 Comments

  1. The University of Arizona is TOP HEAVY of officials while the worker bees that actually have day to day contact with students get the poorest pay of the PAC 12 Universities. The students are robbed by the Regents and their education costs more without getting better education! Further, taxpayers of Pima County get screwed every time, and with the large numbers of businesses leaving Pima County the burden of the TAX will always be put to the Property Owners.

    When is Pima County going to collect on the 50 Million they illegally gave to the “Balloon Ride?”

  2. We can only hope and pray that the pima county residents will vote out all BOS except Ally Miller. When you vote, dont look for the party the are affiliated with. See if they condemn the corruption that huckelberry has so deeply imbedded. We are all prisoners to his 3 pawns that he installed 20 years ago and christie turned out to be no better. We need to take back our government and have sane and competant representation.

  3. Agree. Miller Cares about the ARIZONA people. We need to VOTE and Research for better Board Members. Help Miller. Get RID of the LAIRS Supervisors OUT. Save ARIZONA. This includes Huckleberry Too. Over PAID for his JOB.

  4. Vote these Pima county Board Members out. They have not done well with Spending Taxpayers Money. To it greed on their part. To make their friends Happy. Bronson.Christy.Elias,Valadez. Need to be Replaced.we need people that care for the working People. In ARIZONA.Thank You Miller for caring about the people.

  5. This so-called council is so corrupt …. unbelievable! I pray that people will wake up and realize what they are doing to Tucson! All you really are accomplishing is moving people right out of here. In all honesty, why live here anymore … they offer nothing but more taxes … dishonesty … that’s about it. Our roads still suck and apparently they have no intention of fixing that. Appreciate Ms. Miller. At least she sees things with clarity, unlike the rest of these idiots!!!

  6. Time to leave Pima County. Taxes: highest in state. Utilities: highest in state. Sanctuary City: More taxes and cost and burden to the county.

  7. Maybe some you will join me this 2020 election and support any person tuns against these animals.

    Steve Christie turned out to be a Chuckster.

    I acnt day the things i am wanting to ( insert stuff here ).

  8. “…836 University of Arizona employees receive annual salaries from $875,000 to $150,000 with an annual average salary of $244,257.”

    And they hire adjuncts so they don’t have to hire a FULL TIME instructor and what do they pay the adjuncts? (Hint: Squat.)

    A lot of stuff wrong here… between the usurping pigs on the Bored of Stuporvisors to the massive increase in the University budget for what… rocks? Let’s not EVEN look at the massive raises the Prezzes of all 3 State U’s received in 2018. Wish I, myself, and me qualified for an annual raise from the 70-90k range. But as long as YOU have a dime, they’ll all want it. County taxpayers should probably now fund a tram to Stuporvisors’ homes so they can get to the 4th Ave and downtown bars as easily as their tax paying constituent students.

  9. SSDD is all I can say. It will never get better here in Liberal College
    city. Where the kids heads are filled with mush and go on to be the next generation of liberal BOS members and COT mayor and council.

  10. Rio Nuevo was supposed to finance a mineral museum for the UA….and now the whole county taxes are raised to pay for it again? This is crony corruption.

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