A Message from Supervisor Ally Miller

Happy Summer,


As I am certain many of you will be escaping the heat in the coming weeks, I wanted to provide you with a brief update to keep you informed on current issues in county Government .


The Board of Supervisors will adopt the Fiscal Year 2015/16 budget at the June 16th Board of Supervisors meeting. The budget includes a primary rate increase of $0.11 and secondary rate increase of $.09.  If approved, residents will have seen a 28% increase in the primary rate & a 10% increase in the secondary rate since 2013.

Total Property Tax rate Analysis 2013-Proposed 2016


I will not support another tax increase and continue to identify ways the County can avoid raising taxes.  This includes the fact we need to stop spending taxpayer monies to buy open space ($16 million on 7/1/14) and eliminate funding Graduate medical education ($15 million per year). We should prioritize funding of our core services and do a better job to manage current contracts & stay under budget.  


What does a Hiring Freeze Look Like in Pima County?

In a March 16th memo, County Administrator Huckelberry instituted a spending & hiring freeze for all County departments. It was reported by the media that the County was facing serious budget challenges to prepare for Fiscal year 2015/16. The hiring freeze included NOT filling open positions. 

I was alerted by a few individuals that the County was still hiring & requested a report from the Human Resources Department. The report clearly showed there was not a hiring freeze in place as 50 people were hired between March 16-April 27th. In this video clip, the Board was discussing Huckelberry's idea to create a new Department (I voted NO) and I discussed the fact 50 people were hired during the supposed Hiring freeze.
Hiring Freeze?

Pima County Events

Transportation Director: Pima County to Receive More in Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF)  Yet No Pavement Preservation planned for FY 2015/16

 At a recent budget hearing, the Pima County Department of Transportation Director confirmed that the State was no longer 'sweeping' our Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF).  She also confirmed the County will actually receive 8% more in Gas Tax revenue in Fiscal Year 2015/16.  Surprisingly, she also said there are no plans to fund pavement preservation in next year's budget. 

For years we have heard the County Administrator and my fellow Supervisors claim the reason we can't fund pavement preservation is because the State Legislature was taking a portion of our HURF money. If we are actually receiving an estimated 15% more than in the past, why aren't we putting it towards our roads? In addition, there is no money allocated from the General Fund for pavement preservation this year.  

Pima County DOT Director on HURF Revenues Increasing but No money allocated for Pavement Preservation
Pima County DOT Director At Recent Budget Hearing: HURF Revenues Increasing but No money allocated for Pavement Preservation

According to the Federal Highway Administration:

Pavement preservation represents a proactive approach in maintaining our existing highways. It enables State Transportation Agencies to reduce costly, time consuming rehabilitation and reconstruction projects and the associated traffic disruptions. With timely preservation we can provide the traveling public with improved safety and mobility, reduced congestion, and smoother, longer lasting pavements. This is the true goal of pavement preservation, a goal in which the Federal Highway Administration, through its partnership with States, local agencies, industry organizations, and other interested stakeholders, is committed to achieve.
Libraries and Proposed Closures

In April, the County Administrator proposed the closure of 4 libraries, including Dusenberry-River and Catalina-Dewhirst, both in my District. I have repeatedly advocated to keep our libraries open,  especially when traffic at the Dusenberry River location is higher than 13 other libraries that were not proposed for closure. The Dusenberry library provides a great service to the community and many people meet there and utilize the branch daily.   Raising taxes for the Library District would equal an almost 50% increase in the library tax rate since 2013 and yet it still won't solve the long term problem of our library district.  If County Administration was truly concerned about the viability of our libraries, there wouldn't be another $18 million in the upcoming bond election to build more libraries.  Spending our money efficiently is the best way to ensure long term success of our Pima County libraries. I am awaiting further analysis of library operations from the Library Director and the Board will further discuss this issue at the June 16th meeting. 
Surprisingly, the County Administrator claims the reason for the need to close libraries is because of State Cost Shifts (which impact the General Fund). He fails to acknowledge that libraries are funded by a separate, dedicated secondary property tax. 

Title 11 of the Arizona Revised Statutes   addresses funding for libraries and how those funds are to be used: 

11-913. County free library district fund; custody

Funds of the county free library district, whether derived from taxation or otherwise, shall be deposited with the county treasurer. They shall constitute a separate fund, called the county free library district fund, and shall be used for the county free library. Each claim against the county free library district fund shall be authorized and approved by the county librarian or, in his absence from the county, by his assistant. Claims shall be approved and paid in the same manner as other claims against the county.

Bond Update

Weeks ago, I asked the County Administrator to provide a list of operations & maintenance costs for the bond projects listed in the $815 million November bond election. I was pleased to have received that information yesterday and have included a copy below.  The projects will increase Pima County's operating costs around $6 million a year while the City of Tucson will see an estimated increase of $5 million per year. 

  Click here to see the operation and maintenance costs associated with each project: Operations & Maintenance Cost Increases to Taxpayers Associated with the 2015 Bond Package 

The County has set up a comprehensive website which has a large amount of information on the 2015 Bond package and I encourage you to visit the site for all of your questions on the upcoming Bond election: www.pima.gov/bonds2015 .

Pima County In the News

These articles highlight the need for new solutions and stronger leadership  in Pima County.

County & City Still Not on Solid Ground on Animal Care Costs


As I have previously stated, it is crucial we have clearly defined Inter Governmental Agreements in place when we are doing any sort of joint project or providing a service to another jurisdiction.  Unfortunately this didn't happen in regards to Animal Care Services we provide to the City of Tucson. The County Administrator is claiming the City owes its share of funds for administrative costs, a new tent and additional staff. When the County chose to add a tent to increase capacity , it appears we failed to get an agreement with the City on additional costs they would be responsible for as a result of an increase in operations at the Animal Care Center.  Now, the County Administrator has  proposed a separate property tax or sales tax dedicated to fund Pima Animal Care Center operations.  Click here for his recent Memorandum

The Board of Supervisors next meeting dates are on June 2, June 16th and July 7th. We will discuss and approve the budget at the June 16th meeting. The meetings begin at 9am and are located on the 1st floor of the County Administration building located at 130 W. Congress in downtown Tucson.


Thank you for allowing me to serve you.  If you have questions, comments or concerns, please contact my office (520) 724-2738. I value your input and hope to hear from you soon.   



Best regards,

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Ally Miller

Supervisor, District 1

Pima County Board of Supervisors