Lower tax rate to be proposed

KINGMAN ­ The Mohave County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Monday regarding a potential reduction in the property tax levy rate.

In response to the Truth in Taxation law passing, requiring counties to limit property tax revenue growth to 2 percent, Mohave County is proposing lowering the primary property tax rate for the first time since 1997.

"The Primary Property Tax Rate for Mohave County for 2007 will be $1.6777 per $100 assessed vale, down from the $1.75 that has been charged each year since 1997," said Mohave County Finance Director John Timko.

Timko warned, however, the possible reduction might not result in a tax bill lower than last year's. If a property valuation has increased for this year, the tax bill may still be higher given the new valuation. Timko said the county is anticipating an increase in primary property taxes of $479,689 or 1.81 percent.

The proposed property tax rate reduction is part of the Fiscal Year 2006-2007, which the Board intends to adopt on Monday. According to Timko, the highlights of next year's budget included an approximately $4.8 million increase in mandatory programs. He said $2 million of that is for the AHCCCS/ALTCS funds. General Fund dollars will total about $90 million of the budget, an estimated increase of about 13 percent.

"The county this year faces a new challenge to improve its services to accommodate the expansive Mohave County growth," Walker said. "This year, by legislative action, property tax revenues will be artificially capped, taking no consideration for the costs and needs demanded by those new citizens who are coming to the county. This amounts to micromanagement on one side of the financial equation to limit receipts and legislative apathy on the other side for the costs associated with local government services. It also amounts to removal of local control and substituting that control with legislative tampering."

Despite what he calls the shortsightedness of new legislative mandates, he said the county will continue to do their best to provide quality services to its citizens. Much of what elected and professional staff needed this year will not be funded, he said, because of the necessity to spend only current revenues without dipping into emergency cash revenues. The budget has already, he said, cut $16 million in new initiatives requests. A minimum of new positions for critical requirements were recommended and much of what needed to be done will not get done, he said.

The Board will also hear a presentation from Bureau of Land Management Representative Glen Burkhardt regarding the Community Wildfire Protection Plans. According to a letter from the Department of the Interior, the purpose of the CWPP is to "provide the county with the planning, documentation and collaboration to prepare for the threat of wildland fire entering the communities within Mohave County."

Wayne King, Field Office manager for the U.S. Department of the Interior said the plan, which is a community-based and -driven project, provides homeowners with information on measures they can take to reduce the threat to structures throughout the area.

"The first step in the CWPP process is to obtain a decision from the Board of Supervisors to move forward with the creation and implementation of a CWPP," King said.

"Once the decision is made to move forward, the Board would need to identify specific persons to participate with BLM in the creation and implementation aspect of the process."

The Board of Supervisors will meet at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the County Administration Complex at 700 W. Beale St.