Important measures await votes on May 17 special ballot

The ballot will print after selections are made. The voter then seals the ballot in an envelope and drops it in a locked ballot box.This photo was taken during a test run of the equipment. (AARON RICCA/Miner)

The ballot will print after selections are made. The voter then seals the ballot in an envelope and drops it in a locked ballot box.This photo was taken during a test run of the equipment. (AARON RICCA/Miner)

KINGMAN - The busy election year continues May 17, when Arizonans will weigh in on two propositions that are on a special election ballot.

They're known as propositions 123 and 124. In addition, a Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District Election will permit Dolan Springs and Meadview residents to elect a five-person governing board for the Lake Rancho Mohave Fire District.

Ballots will gradually hit mailboxes over the next few weeks and here is an overview of those issues:

Proposition 123: The Arizona Education Finance Amendment

This would increase annual distributions from the state land trust permanent endowment fund from 2.5 percent to 6.9 percent to benefit Arizona K-12 schools, colleges and other beneficiary institutions.

If approved by voters, the measure would increase education funding by $3.5 billion over the course of 10 years by allocating money from the general fund and increasing annual distributions of the state land trust permanent funds to education. About $1.4 billion would come from general fund money and $2 billion would come from increasing annual distributions of the state land trust.

A "yes" vote would have the effect of increasing distributions from the State Land Trust Permanent Endowment Fund in fiscal years 2016-2025. It includes protections for state funds in the case of a severe economic downturn.

A "no" vote would be a vote for maintaining the existing 2.5 percent distribution formula from the State Land Trust Permanent Endowment Fund and maintaining current funding levels for Arizona K-12 schools, colleges, and other beneficiary institutions.

Supporters of Proposition 123 say the measure will provide a significant cash infusion from the State Land Trust - an endowment given to Arizona at statehood to help pay for education into public schools - without raising taxes.

Opponents criticize the impact of larger withdrawals from the land trust fund that could negatively affect future generations of teachers and students.

Proposition 124

The proposition and accompanying legislation permit the state to adjust certain benefits in the public safety personnel retirement system to alleviate system underfunding, including the replacement of the current permanent benefit increase structure with a cost-of-living adjustment that is indexed for inflation, capped at 2 percent per year.

A "yes" vote will allow the state to adjust certain benefits for public safety retirees, including the replacement of the current permanent benefit increase structure with a cost of living adjustment based on inflation, capped at 2 percent per year.

A "no" vote would have the effect of maintaining the current benefit increase structure in the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and prohibiting the proposed legislative adjustment intended to stabilize the system.

The proposition involves pension reform for police and firefighters. Passing the proposition would alter the current retirement system with a cost of living adjustment. It's estimated to save taxpayers about $1.5 billion over the next 30 years by shoring up the underfunded pension funds, to ensure its solvency in the future and relieve the pressure on municipal budgets, thus freeing resources for public safety, education, senior centers and youth programs.

This proposition has far more support than Proposition 123 and virtually little opposition.

Fire District

Dolan Springs and Meadview residents will be able return management to elected officials. They can cast their votes for a five-person governing board.

The fire district has faced financial challenges in the past. Administrator John Flynn was appointed by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors in 2013 to shore up the problems and has since helped the district get back on its feet.

The transfer from Flynn to elected officials will help localize affairs and put district management directly into the hands of residents.

Seven people running for the board will be on the ballot and residents can pick five.

Early Voting

Kingman's early voting polling place is the Kathryn Heidenreich Senior Center at 1776 Airway Ave., Suite B.

The Kingman polling place will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Then it will be open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 2-13.

Initial mail-in ballots were sent April 20 and can be mailed back or dropped off at the Kathryn Heidenreich Senior Center at the times listed above.