Mohave County Supervisors table transportation tax

Supervisor Hildy Angius

Supervisor Hildy Angius

KINGMAN – Get ready to pay higher taxes in one form or another as the Mohave County Board of Supervisors wrangles with ways to cover a projected $2.8 million deficit in the fiscal 2018 budget.

The board voted 3-2 at Monday’s regular meeting to table a proposal ordering a countywide special election in November to approve a transportation excise tax for road maintenance and improvements.

Supervisors Hildy Angius and Buster Johnson, who voted against tabling the item, are opposed to any new taxes, whether sales or property.

The board’s discussion was to direct staff to share the proposal in the form of a resolution with local jurisdictions asking that they endorse the special election.

Distribution of transportation excise tax revenues would be 50 percent to Mohave County, 25 percent to Lake Havasu City, 14 percent to Bullhead City and 10 percent to Kingman. Colorado City gets 1 percent.

The item was tabled until County Administrator Mike Hendrix has fully explored the issue with all four cities in Mohave County.

“It would take a Herculean effort to get this vote for November,” Hendrix said. “Then time’s on our side.”

Supervisor Steve Moss agreed, saying there were “too many issues clouding things.” He didn’t think a November election would work under current parameters, and said 2018 might be more appropriate.

Angius said she voted against the election because it’s “too far down the road.” She’s heard concerns about “compression” in Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, or deputies not being compensated for their longevity, as well as staffing issues.

Supervisors have also been fretting over a $20 million liability for the Public Safety Retirement Pension Plan. Then there’s the animal shelter and courthouse renovation. Mohave Community College recently raised its property tax rates.

“Now we are talking about the roads,” Angius said. “Our roads are a mess. Can’t deny it. But we continually work on them and right now they are not high on my priority list.”

Supervisor Moss pulled an item on the proposed quarter-cent sales tax off the consent agenda for discussion.

The board voted 3-1, with Supervisor Gary Watson absent and Johnson opposed, to set a public hearing for July 17 on levying a quarter-cent general excise tax, or sales tax, on county businesses.

The money would be used to pay the county’s unfunded pension liabilities, refunds to eligible members, and any associated expenses incurred as a result of Arizona Supreme Court decisions on employee contributions.

The board voted 3-2 in June, again with Johnson and Angius opposed, to increase property taxes by 52 cents on every $1,000 of assessed property value as part of the tentative budget. Of that increase, 14 cents would go toward the budget deficit, 25 cents to the sheriff’s office, 7 cents to the pension fund, 5 cents to the courthouse and 1 cent to the probation department.

In other action Monday:

The board voted 4-0 to approve a license agreement with Mobilite to use certain public road rights-of-ways or easements throughout the county to placement of utility poles up to 120 feet in height for hosting, operating and maintaining telecommunications network equipment. The item was continued from June 5.

The board voted 4-0 to rezone a parcel east of Stockton Hill Road and north of Gordon Drive to general commercial (C-2) to allow for a radio studio and 100-foot transmission tower.

The board voted 4-0 to adopt a resolution encouraging the Bureau of Land Management to expedite right-of-way applications for Golden Vertex Corp. to install a power line and make safety improvements to Moss Mine access road.

The board voted 3-1 (Johnson opposed) to adopt a resolution opposing the permanent transfer of Colorado River water allocations designated to the town of Quartzite to the Central Arizona Water Conservation District for use in groundwater replenishment or to any other district.