County's Tentative Budget: Balanced and Addresses Priorities
FLORENCE - The Pinal County Board of Supervisors adopted the 2014/2015 fiscal year tentative budget in the amount of $378,079,096.
The tentative budget, presented by County Manager Greg Stanley, does not raise taxes for the upcoming year. Stanley explained that the general fund was decreased by $9.6 million, while the overall budget increased by just over $4 million due to monies set aside in the case any debt is issued for capital infrastructure.
Pinal County keeps on lowering its overall portion of each tax dollar it takes in. Based on the 2013/2014 fiscal year for each dollar of property tax paid, the county receives only 24 cents. This is quite a change since 2010/2011 where 31 cents was received into county coffers. The rest of the tax dollar portion goes to school districts, Central Arizona College, cities and towns along with other entities.
Some of the challenges faced by the Supervisors in developing a balanced budget is that new construction added to the assessed valuation is still slowly bouncing back. General Fund non-property tax revenues are growing modestly and issues with Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with potential fund sweeps are still undecided at this time.
Despite the challenges, the Supervisors have kept county priorities funded. Improvements to Hunt Highway are continuing with Phase I nearing completion in August. Phase II will begin at the end of the year. Pinal Airpark and San Manuel Airport are also continuing to grow as economic development assets of the county. Projects at both airports are included in this budget. Road safety and dust control projects are also figured into the tentative budget.
Looking at the general fund, 64 percent of it goes to Public Safety (Sheriff, County Attorney, Superior Court, Probation and Justice Courts). General Government operations takes up 23 percent, while Health Care and other expenses takes up the rest.
Once the Tentative Budget is adopted, it can be decreased or parts of the budget can be reallocated. However, the total budget cannot be increased. The Final Budget is to be heard and adopted on July 2, 2014.