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Thu, Dec. 05

Supervisors discuss budget objectives at Bullhead City meeting

The Mohave County supervisors Tuesday discussed goals for a fiscal 2003 budget that could have to address matters such as aging buildings and vehicles, and finding additional revenue to pay for it.

Department heads asked supervisors for help in setting priorities for the next budget, which will take effect July 1.

They met for more than two hours in a library in Bullhead City.

Staff urged the three supervisors to rank priorities on a scale from one to 10.

Information Technology Director Mike Matthews, who directed the slide presentation, said he will tabulate those results today.

"It's budget time again," County Manager Ron Walker said at the start of the workshop.

"This year we have fewer resources to develop the budget process than last year."

The first question the supervisors considered was, "What value do you place on repairing existing facilities?"

Buildings such as the Arnold Plaza on Oak Street and the Johnson building on East Beale Street need roof and air-conditioning repair, Public Works Director Dick Skalicky said.

The repair work needs to be done regardless of the buildings' future use, according to District 1 Supervisor Pete Byers of Kingman.

"Whether people like it or not, everybody in the county owns the buildings," he said.

He added he does not want buildings to deteriorate to the condition of the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, which has been partially condemned.

The next question was, "What value do you place on updating the county vehicle fleet?"

Half of the 264 vehicles in the county fleet have at least 100,000 miles on them, Skalicky said.

The next question was, "What value do you place on providing services by maintaining satellite facilities?"

Walker suggested a thorough review of the matter.

The next question was, "What value do you place on updating the county long-range facilities master plan?"

Byers said the plan completed during the term of the previous board remained valid, and he commented, "I'm not calling for another study."

The next question was, "What value do you place on updating and maintaining our technology infrastructure?"

The purpose is to improve service to the public, Matthews said, adding that people who use the county's Web site to gather information take up less staff time over the phone.

The next question was, "What value do you place on updating the county general plan?"

The last update was1995.

Another is due in three years.

Planning and Zoning Director Chris Ballard said a complete update will take 18 months.

The next question was, "What value do you place on investing county resources in regional economic development?"

Community Development Director Susie Parel-Duranceau suggested joining an economic development district with other counties.

Byers said the county has received marginal results from past economic development spending.

District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson said the county has been the industrial leader in the state for the past six years.

Johnson, Byers and District 2 Supervisor Tom Sockwell also discussed questions dealing with state-mandated services, making employee salaries competitive and obtaining other revenue.

Skalicky said, "Let us know which revenue source enhancement you will not consider."

He identified potential sources such as increased sales and property taxes; jail, community facilities and road districts; special and general revenue bonds; and impact and service fees.

Byers said after the session that it was productive.

"It was a good, working environment," he said.

Financial Services Director John Timko said he will spend the remainder of the week "digesting information" from the meeting.

"Then we'll put together budget instructions and have a kickoff meeting," he said.

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