Column | Budget balanced, tax rate lowered
We wanted to address our constituents concerning the recent passage of our 2021 budget. On Aug. 3, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors approved and adopted our budget. It is a balanced budget that provides for the annual revenue needed to provide quality service to county residents, while keeping property taxes down during these challenging times. Our actions reduced the primary property tax rate by more than 4 cents, from $1.9496 to $1.90.
This year’s reduction equates to nearly $5 on a $100,000 home and results in property taxes going down from $194.96 to $190. This was the second year in a row in which the board reduced the primary tax rate.
In spite of the rate decrease, budgeted revenue sourced from primary property tax is expected to increase from $37.2 million this past year to $38.2 million this year. Most of the revenue increase is attributable to new construction occurring throughout Mohave County, with some being attributed to increased property values.
The property tax revenue combined with state-shared resources and user fees is budgeted to offset increased costs in contracts and services, enhancing public safety in the Sheriff’s Department by providing additional deputy positions, as well as purchasing public safety equipment, including body cameras, providing ancillary support positions within the county attorney’s office, funding improvements within the courts, and additional employee compensation.
One-time uses of capital funds include completion of the Superior Court Law and Justice Center and remodeling the adjacent facility, remodeling the old Department of Economic Security facility for use by the county attorney’s office, constructing a new animal shelter, completing major maintenance projects in the Adult Detention Center and, shoring up contingency reserves.
Looking at several important components of the new budget, the following are in place:
- The Library District: The Mohave County Library District tax rate will remain the same as the prior year $0.2716 per $100 of assessed value. This tax rate allows the Library District to continue to offer services throughout the county with branch libraries located in each of the tri-cities, as well as smaller community libraries and services offered in more rural areas.
- Flood Control District: The Mohave County Flood Control District tax rate will also remain the same at $0.50 per $100 of assessed value. This is the exact rate levied by the Flood Control District since 1999. Flood Control District tax revenue is shared with the cities and is used to fund invaluable and truly essential flood control and drainage projects that enhance the safety and quality of life for residents throughout the county.
- Television District: The TV District tax rate will increase by 2 cents bringing the total TV District tax rate to $0.06 per $100 of assessed value. This tax rate increase is necessary for the TV District to be self-sustaining and paramount for future consideration of expansion of services to other areas within the county.
For the past several years, Mohave County has had and will continue to have one of the lowest combined tax rates in the state of Arizona with only three small counties having lower combined rates. Also, the quarter-cent sales tax, which was first implemented in 1999 and had generated almost $123 million for capital improvement projects, was allowed to expire by the board on Dec. 31, 2019. We both feel confident that our decisions will enable our many programs to go forward in an ethical and efficient way and provide the greatest benefit for our constituents. We’re residents too, of course, and have families here. We want a strong, solvent county. We certainly have that now and it will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
(Jean Bishop is Mohave County Supervisor for District 4, and Gary Watson is the Mohave County Supervisor for District 1.)