State budget cuts won't affect county, finance director says

The $220 million in spending cuts and deferrals approved by the state Legislature will not affect Mohave County government because the state is not yet shifting the burden to the counties, the county's finance director said.

However, John Timko indicated the county eventually could be affected because the Legislature cut filled less than half of the estimated budget deficit of $500 million to $600 million for current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

For now, however, the $113 million in state spending cuts will not affect the county because they contain no provisions for shifting costs to the 15 counties in Arizona, according to Timko.

The Legislature cut spending during a special session about the budget deficit Monday.

Timko said the state's major contribution to the county this fiscal year is an estimated $14 million shared sales tax revenue, which goes into the county's general fund.

"I don't think they changed anything at all for (state-shared) revenues," Timko said.

"It is good to know that we are not going to have any negative impacts at this point."

Timko said he based his opinion on an analysis of the budget cuts provided by the County Supervisors Association of Arizona.

Timko said it is too early to tell whether the Legislature would affect county coffers later on by making further spending cuts or shifting costs of some services.

County Supervisor Tom Sockwell agreed.

"We are going to have to wait till the first of the year to really see what happens," Sockwell said.

"They have not achieved what they are going to have to cut to get their budget squared away."

The county supervisors adopted a $178.8 million budget for the 2002-2003 fiscal year, which did not contain additional revenues sources such as increased sales and property taxes.

The general fund accounts for more than $50 million of the budget and pays for general county operations and services.

Property taxes, state-shared sales taxes, fees and fines go into the general fund.