Supervisors to decide Monday how deep county digs into taxpayer’s pockets

Buster Johnson

Buster Johnson

KINGMAN – The Mohave County Board of Supervisors is facing a tough decision Monday in adopting the final 2018 budget with a proposed property tax increase and modifications to certain funds.

In accordance with state law, upon completion of the public hearing on the budget and tax levy, the board will have a special meeting to adopt the final budget.

Prior to adoption, the board may modify the budget, but cannot exceed the amount adopted in the tentative budget.

The final budget, as presented, totals $281.9 million, of which $89.8 million goes to the general fund.

Maintaining the current primary property tax rate of $1.96 for every $100 of assessed value would generate $33.9 million. The increased rate of $2.48 would bring in $43.3 million.

The board has the option to consider a tax levy of up to $39 million, with a rate of $2.24, with a majority vote. A tax levy above this amount would require a unanimous vote by the board.

Supervisor Buster Johnson has adamantly opposed any tax increase, and with the vacancy created by Supervisor Steve Moss being appointed to the Superior Court, the board may end up with a 2-2 split vote.

Johnson feels the county spends money needlessly in many instances, like the $12,000-a-month fee for a water attorney that the board approved in July.

“We are going through a budget crisis and haven’t even approved a budget for the year yet,” Johnson said. “Until we get our spending under control, I feel spending $12,000 a month on a water lawyer to go down to Phoenix and sit in on some meetings is a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

The county is facing a $2.8 million deficit in the proposed tentative budget, and Supervisor Hildy Angius has made it clear she wants to take money from unrestricted contingency funds to cover the shortfall, rather than an increase property taxes.

Other items on the regular agenda:

• Select a preferred lessee for the BMX track on a portion of county-leased land from the BLM in Bullhead City and direct staff to develop a long-term lease agreement. This item was continued from July 17.

• Acknowledgement of Public Works policy and procedure for nighttime and off-peak maintenance and construction work.

• Approve and adopt the code enforcement program, reclassifying existing zoning inspectors to code enforcement officers; moving two positions from Public Health with assigned vehicles; adding an attorney, two more code enforcement offices and an office assistant; and decreasing the post-closure feet by $3 a ton and creating a code enforcement fee of $3 a ton in landfill fees to fund the program.

• Adopt the Mohave County Flood Control District tax rate of 50 cents for every $100 assessed value and levy $7.7 million for 2018.

• Adopt the Mohave County Library District tax rate of 32 cents for $100 assessed value and levy $5.6 million for 2018.

• Adopt the Mohave County Television District tax rate of 2 cents for $100 assessed value.