|County budget adopted|
By Jim Seckler|
Mohave Daily News
KINGMAN - The Mohave County supervisors voted Monday 2-1 to formally adopt the county's proposed 2005/2006 budget.
District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson of Lake Havasu City voted against the budget saying he objected to adding two employees at the county attorney's office.
At the last Board meeting, District 1 Supervisor Pete Byers sought the additional employees in part to cover the recent crackdown on illegal under-age marriages in Colorado City.
This year's budget already included funding for a deputy county attorney and a secretary.
Johnson said he also objected to the timing of a 5 percent compression raise as well as a 3 percent cost of living raise for county employees.
Johnson said he is not against giving employees raises but the county needs to have more of a plan in giving pay raises.
County Finance Director John Timko proposed the $247 million budget that includes $67.9 million in expenses, more than $10 million increase from the 2004/2005 fiscal year.
The budget also includes $70.9 million in revenue, a more than $13 million increase from last year. The budget also calls for $10.6 million in contingency funds.
Last year's budget for expenditures and revenues was about $57 million each with a contingency fund of about $7 million.
The 2005/2006 budget calls for an increase in county staffing mostly from the planning and zoning department by 38 additional employees.
This fiscal year's increase includes a 3 percent cost of living raise, which is offset by an increase in health insurance and retirement costs.
Last year, the county and employees contributed 5.7 percent each to retirement costs. This year, the county and employees will contribute 7.4 percent each to retirement costs.
Primary property taxes contribute about $24.5 million to the county's general fund, a jump of more than $2 million.
Almost $19 million comes from the state-shared sales taxes, an increase of more than $3 million from the 2004/2005 fiscal year.
One of the biggest increases in county spending this fiscal year is for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and the Arizona Long Term Care System.
Both systems provide health care services to indigent county residents, especially older citizens who are more likely to require public health and AHCCCS and ALTCS.
Last year, the county spent $8.4 million for AHCCCS and ALTCS, a jump of almost $1.4 million from the year before.
This year, the county expects to spend about $9.3 million for AHCCCS and ALTCS.
The supervisors also held a public hearing before adopting the property tax rate at $1.75 for the 2005/2006 budget.
The county is proposing an increase in primary property taxes. The increase means for a $100,000 home, the property taxes will increase from $169.71 to $175.
John Ford of Dolan Springs said some residents are still confused, believing the tax rate is going up. The primary property tax rate is still $1.75 per $100 assessed on a home.
The rate has not changed since 1997. Only the property values are going up.
If a home is assessed at $100,000 last year and its value is assessed at $100,000 this year, the property tax does not increase.
Timko also discussed primary and secondary property tax levies for fire, school and special districts.
Timko said the rates are set for the districts to collect enough revenue to balance its budget. The Board is expected to adopt the tax levies at its Aug. 15 meeting.
Originally published August 1, 2005
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