The Mohave County Board of Supervisors will once again tackle their 2016 budget and will consider a proposal that could keep the board from raising property or sales taxes when they meet in special session this morning. The proposal comes from District Two Supervisor Hildy Angius, who adamantly opposes the county administration’s initial proposal to increase taxes to offset a projected $3.8 million budget shortfall.
Most of the expected budget shortfall comes from Mohave County’s share of the cost shifts instituted by the Arizona State Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey when they approved the state’s budget earlier this year.
To cover that shortfall, Angius’ proposal would entail a different type of shift. She is asking her colleagues to reallocate the $2.5 million that was approved earlier this year for architectural work for the new county courthouse expansion in Kingman. That money was originally swept from the county’s vehicle replacement fund.
Angius says it makes no sense to spend money on architectural fees at this time when the county doesn’t have the money to start building the courthouse and doesn’t know when it will have the money.
“Sometimes you do have to raise taxes,” Angius said, “but I don’t believe this is that time in Mohave County.”
While suggesting that the money be taken away from the courthouse project, Angius is not leaving the new courthouse project out in the cold without any hope of funding. She will suggest the county put any surplus revenues garnered during the 2016 fiscal year go toward the project. Suggesting the economy is getting better in Mohave County, Angius said, surpluses could be used to move the courthouse project along, but until funding is in place to build the facility, she sees no need to spend the money now especially when the only other alternative is to ask county taxpayers to make up the difference.
The rest of the shortfall would be made up of sweeps from the county’s television district, which has been done in the past and cuts to various departments.
The board of supervisors is running up against some important deadlines. They must approve a tentative budget by Jul. 6. Once the tentative budget is set, the board cannot increase the amount of money they expect to spend during the 2015-16 fiscal year. They will hold a public hearing on Aug. 3 and likely adopt the final budget at that time. Setting the property tax rates for the new budget must be completed by Aug. 17.
Today’s board of supervisors meeting gets underway at 9:30 a.m. It can be watched online at the county’s website: www.mohavecounty.us.