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5/16/2013 6:00:00 AM
Lottery bill is no winner for Mohave County
Buster Johnson
Buster Johnson
Hildy Angius
Hildy Angius

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Mohave County officials are crying foul after the Arizona Senate released a budget bill that would restore lottery funds to some but not all counties in the state.

Senate Bill 1483 would restore the County Assistance Fund to counties that have populations of less than 200,000 people according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Mohave County has 200,186 people. The fund gives counties a portion of the state's lottery ticket sales to help pay for state mandated programs.

Mohave County's share was usually around $550,000, said County Finance Director John Timko.

"Mohave County should not be grouped with counties such as Pima and Maricopa who have an estimated combined population of 5 million," said District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson.

District 4 Supervisor Joy Brotherton said she was aware of the negotiations but was unaware of the final decision by the Senate.

District 2 Supervisor Hildy Angius said she wasn't surprised to hear the news. County supervisors were told at an Arizona County Supervisors Association meeting that Mohave County might be cut out of the assistance fund. The association has been fighting to make sure that all counties get money from the fund, she said.

Angius had hoped Gov. Jan Brewer might do something about the issue. She met with Brewer during her last visit to Mohave County and the governor's staff had assured her the governor's budget contained $500,000 in assistance funds for Mohave County.

District 5 Supervisor Steven Moss said he's already spoken with Sen. Kelli Ward and Reps. Doris Goodale and Sonny Borrelli. The three legislators were not available for an immediate comment.

"They've been fighting against this in the Legislature," he said. "The budget's not done but I wouldn't be surprised if we don't get the funds."

Timko isn't worried. The county has been surviving without the funds for the past three years after the state decided to use the money to fill its budget deficit.

"We weren't counting on it (for this year's budget) but it would have a positive impact if we get it," he said.

Moss agreed.

"It would take the pressure off of us when it comes to public safety issues like Colorado City and the Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District," he said. "These dollars add up."

The Board will have a better idea of the effect after county staff finishes the county budget in June, Moss said.

Timko is also expecting an $8 million bill from the state for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and Arizona Long Term Care System. The county also hasn't received word on how much the federal government will give the county in PILT funds - Payment in Lieu of Taxes.

The Senate's proposed budget also continues a freeze in payments to county probation departments, courts, alternative dispute settlement programs and matching funds to help pay for grand juries.

It also calls for counties to continue to pay for 100 percent of the cost for mental health care for defendants at the state hospital and 50 percent of the cost for treatment for sex offenders.

"We've made provisions for pretty much anything the state could throw at us," Timko said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

You cannot say you weren't warned. Keep voting in Republicans and this is what happens to you.

We see here whining and moaning about "liberals" when this county and state have been under the control of Republicns for years - and you still don't get it!

As to Johnson - watch the BOS meetings and you'll see a guy (through body language and facial expressions) who doesn't want to be there. But keep votin' him in 'cause he's one of the good old boys that has all but destroyed this county.

Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

In life there are always growing pains. This is the case in the issue of Mohave County no longer being eligible to receive lottery fund allotments . Mohave County has to grow up and accept the fact we are now grouped with all the big boy counties. We have always boasted about being the largest county in geographic square miles, so why complain now that we have fallen into a different category by virtue of our new expanding population of over 200 thousand. Supervisor Steve Moss seems to have a very mature and realistic attitude on this particular issue as he does on most issues. On the other hand Supervisor Buster Johnson does not seem willing to accept this change and he appears to be steeped in the antiquated logic and perception of old guard Mohave County thinking. Now in his 5th term Johnson does not confine his de-habilitating thinking to just this issue as he was much less than accepting in the fact that our newest census , by law, required the move to a new 5 member BOS. He has continued to display his sour, old school, country bumpkin attitude with a persistent negative and no vote attitude in the BOS meeting since the new 5 member board was seated in January of this year. ) I might add those meetings he even bothered to attend ).It my opinion and very possibly the opinion of many others that the county must embrace our growth in order to best serve our economic development. Keeping our minds and hearts in the ancient past is a dangerous way to proceed. New growth requires new thinking as exemplified by our there new BOS members. To Supervisor Buster Johnson, I'd say grow up or get out, and I am sure there would be very little resistance to the latter.

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Article comment by: desert dweller

That picture of Johnson is disgusting! looks like he didn't bother to wipe the lunch juices from his chin whiskers!

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

This is too bad for Mohave County but in the past 500 thousand was never an issue if the last BOS wanted something or to challenge the rights of the people. I am so pleased we have three new supervisors. I hope Buster doesn't try to fix this by driving away 186 people with some new crazy ordinance. I bet we could raise 500 thousand in donations if Buster would simply resign right now, allowing someone new to come in. He is in his 5th regretable term. Oh and why no picture of Supervisor Moss as he was mentioned in the artcile also?

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Article comment by: Dave In Golden Valley

The bottom line is that the legislature takes money from local governments for their own budget, which was intented to pay for numerous local government services, and transfers service responsibilities to local governments that was the State's responsibility. The legislators and their allies, including the State "ice cream", treasurer and Secretary of State can claim the State budget is balanced with no "gimmicks". The gimmicks are cost shifts, and responsibility shifts, and you, as recipients of local government service, are the victims.

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