County adopts final 2018-2019 budget with no change in tax rates

Mohave County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Watson talks with Supervisor Hildy Angius after Monday’s regular meeting in which the board adopted a final budget of $276.1 million for Fiscal Year 2018-2019. (Hubble Ray Smith/Daily Miner)

Mohave County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Watson talks with Supervisor Hildy Angius after Monday’s regular meeting in which the board adopted a final budget of $276.1 million for Fiscal Year 2018-2019. (Hubble Ray Smith/Daily Miner)

KINGMAN – Mohave County’s final budget and property tax levy for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 was adopted Monday by the Board of Supervisors in a unanimous 5-0 vote with applicable modifications.

As presented, the final budget totals $276.1 million, with $88.2 million attributed to the general fund.

The budget process was much easier this year because the county didn’t have to surrender $3 million in state budget “sweeps,” said Gary Watson, chairman of the Board of Supervisors.

“We have to give a great deal of credit to Rep. Regina Cobb,” he said. “We didn’t have to come up with a $3 million transfer, which was huge. That was part of the problem last year. It was tough.”

The county realized an $800,000 increase in appraised property valuation, Watson added. That’s why the tax rates for the Flood Control District and Free Library District were held the same, and Television District tax rate was actually reduced.

Secondary tax districts such as the fire district and school district, with the exception of Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District, are all at their maximum tax rates, whereas Mohave County is about 50 cents below the cap, Watson said.

Of all the 15 counties in Arizona, Mohave will end up third or fourth from the bottom for total property and sales taxes collected, he said.

“So I think Mohave County is doing a pretty spectacular job providing all the services and being that low,” he said.

Supervisors began working on the budget in January, meeting with citizens, county staff and state legislators to set priorities and discuss challenges.

The preliminary budget was developed in May and the board adopted a tentative budget on June 18. It’s a complex process with meetings, workshops and public hearings, Supervisor Jean Bishop said.

Because the tax rates remained unchanged from previous years, there was very little comment at the public hearings, she noted.

“The difference between last year and this year was the budget reflected an improved economy, a modest increase in net assessed value of which nearly half was from new construction in homes and businesses investing in Mohave County, and the reversion of state cost shifts that closed the budget gap,” Bishop said.

The county continues to rank among the lowest in the state with a primary property tax rate of $1.96 for every $100 of assessed value, the same as it’s been for the last six years and 53 cents under the maximum allowable rate of $2.49. Sales tax is a quarter-cent, again among the lowest in the state.

The Board of Supervisors will adopt the county’s primary tax rate and accept tax rates for all other districts at the Aug. 20 meeting.