Supervisors still deadlocked on taxes

After two meetings, the Mohave County Supervisors remain undecided over what needs to be done to avert a $2.5 million deficit for the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Supervisor Buster Johnson on Tuesday continued his opposition to a proposed quarter-percent sales backed by supervisors Pete Byers and Tom Sockwell.

He pressed for an increase in property taxes, which Byers and Sockwell oppose.

"It was a three-hour beat up on me," Johnson quipped after the meeting.

Byers and Sockwell shared Johnson's perception that the supervisors did not accomplish anything during the meeting with department heads on Tuesday.

However, they agreed to meet again on March 12, when Interim County Manager Dick Skalicky presents a plan on how the county will spend proceeds from a quarter-percent sales tax over a seven-year period.

Skalicky said his plan will cover employee raises and capital improvements.

Both Byers and Sockwell pushed a quarter-percent sales tax, but Johnson would not budge.

A sales tax requires a unanimous vote of the board, and a higher property tax requires a two-thirds vote.

Johnson said he wants to see a plan in place that examines county needs before the supervisors adopt a sales tax.

He also expressed concern about a campaign launched in his district in Lake Havasu City to repeal an existing sales tax that is being used to pay for county buildings.

Byers said he disagreed with Johnson over a need for a study on the efficiency and productivity of county government.

In spite of a lack of a half-percent sales tax and an annual increase in population of 3-4 percent, the county provides services as efficient as any other county in Arizona, he said.

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