Pima County Supervisors Delay Budget Vote - Effort To Prevent Tax Increase Continues
On Tuesday, June 18, 2019, my colleagues in a 4-1 vote, accepted my proposal to consider a Property Tax Neutral budget. As a result of the vote, staff are now evaluating the various scenarios I presented for consideration.

The scenarios I proposed would preserve pay raises for county employees including the Pima County Sheriff's deputies and the proposed capital improvement plans for libraries, contrary to some media reports.

While reducing the budget by a fraction, we can ensure residents' taxes do not increase this year. The final budget approval is now scheduled for a vote on July 2nd.

As expected, the budget presented by County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry did not cut tax rates enough to avoid increasing property taxes on the cash-strapped residents of Pima County. Fortunately for transparency's sake, we live in a state in which a proposed increase in taxes requires a Truth in Taxation Hearing. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that no amount of public input in the past during such meetings prevented the Board from raising your taxes.

The delay we won this week is a significant victory. It signals that we are making progress and the pleas of residents living on fixed incomes and small business owners for relief are being heard.

My proposal is not onerous, and I have confidence that staff can identify where reductions in the primary operating budget or the Flood District can be made so that there will be a zero increase from last year's property tax bill.

Below are the various options I presented, and questions I asked at the Pima County Board of Supervisor meeting on June 18, 2019. The proposal reflects the changes Mr. Huckelberry suggested after the June 4, 2019 Board of Supervisor's meeting.
Flood District Tax

Mr. Huckelberry stated that it was "easy" to do the tax neutral for $1 million. Can the staff back off more from this year's increase in capital projects of $8.4 million?

Library District Tax
  • Do we have to hire those 12 new employees immediately?
  • Is it possible to push timing of building of one of libraries out to make tax neutral? Utilize some of the additional pay go funds in the following fiscal year?
Primary Tax
  • Vacancy Savings
    • Utilize from departments who have greater than 10 vacancies
    • PCN's - Certain departments have huge numbers
      • Utilize from overstaffed departments that are "hoarding"
        • Benefit: Discourages continuing to hoard
        • More realistic budgeting  

Hiring Freeze for 2 to 3 months?  

Managers stated during the hearings that it is very difficult to find qualified individuals for many currently unfilled positions, as a result, a freeze could be easily accomplished and have little impact on the departments at all.
Currently there are 1050 unfilled positions.
2 Months

1000 positions for 2 months amounts to $8,333,333
Hiring Freeze 2 Months
1000 positions

500 for 2 months amounts to $4,166,667

Hiring Freeze 2 Months
500 Positions
3 months

500 for 3 months $6,250,000

Hiring Freeze 3 Months
500 Positions

General Fund Reserve 

In order to not affect the bond rating (Page 8 of June 11, 2019 CHH memo) cited by Mr. Huckelberry, there is a minimum of $2,031,515 available in the General Fund reserve that would not impact the bond rating. Supervisor Miller assumed the worst-case scenario for the potential cost of DTAP/Superintendent of Schools cost shifts.

General Fund
xx xx
6 %
xx xx
$1,400,000 DTAP

June 18, 2019 tax neutral budget discussion
Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller explains Tax Neutral Budget proposal
Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller explains Tax Neutral Budget proposal

July 2, 2019
9:00 a.m.

Administration Bldg - East 130 W. Congress Street 1st Floor Tucson, AZ 85701
Do you support a tax neutral budget? If so, contact the supervisors and let them know where you stand:

Ally Miller
(520) 724-2738

Ramon Valadez
(520) 724-8126

Sharon Bronson
(520) 724-8051

Steve Christy
(520) 724-8094

Richard Elias
(520) 724-8126
Monsoon rain means reduced adoption fees at PACC

Pima Animal Care Center is loving the refreshing rain the monsoons bring, so each week during July will feature a different "forecasted" sale. 

Every Sunday, that week's "forecasted" adoption special will be posted on PACC's social media pages on:
The summer months are very busy for the shelter, with intakes reaching as high as 130 pets a day. There are currently 387 number of puppies and dogs and 291 number of kittens and cats at the shelter. Outside the shelter, there are 624 cats and kittens and 314 dogs and puppies in foster care. That's a total of 1,616 pets in need of homes.

For those who can't adopt, fosters are always needed. The foster signups begin online. People can take a pet home for a few hours, a few days, or even a few months. Any amount of time spent outside the shelter is good for their mental health.

PACC is located at 4000 N. Silverbell Rd. A $19 licensing fee will apply to dogs. All pets adopted from PACC will come spayed or neutered, with age-appropriate vaccinations, a microchip and a free vet visit. PACC's normal business hours are Monday through Friday, noon-7 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends.