Public comment period open for the Maricopa County 2019 budget

Tara Alatorre

Staff

PHOENIX – The Maricopa Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a tentative budget for fiscal year 2019 that does not raise the tax rate and reduces spending by $43 million, a decrease of 1.7 percent.

The public can comment on the tentative budget between now and when the final vote is scheduled, which is June 25, and a copy of the budget can be found online at maricopa.gov/budget.

“The Board has prioritized leaner, more efficient government and the FY 2019 budget shows how those efforts are paying off,” said Vice Chairman Bill Gates of District 3, who represents New River and surrounding unincorporated areas.

The tentative $2.4 billion budget allocates $364 million for capital projects and $4.7 million in new funding for the county park system, while keeping the tax rate flat by decreasing its spending each year, according to a press release from the Board.

“Total spending is down nearly two percent from FY 2018,” Supervisor Gates said. “We have 500 fewer positions at the County than we did a decade ago; and we are, in many ways, providing better customer service than ever.”

A large portion of the county’s budget are mandated payments, $252 million will go to the state for healthcare and $19 million will be made in contributions for employee retirement plans, which are increasing.

“This situation is likely to get worse over time give the unfunded liabilities in these plans,” stated the overview of the proposed budget.

Over half of the entire 2019 tentative budget, 53.9 percent, is allocated for public safety.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will gain funding for an additional 26 staff members that solely focus on compliance. Money will also go towards renovations of the old Madison Street Jail and the construction of a new jail intake facility.

A $35.5 million project for a new Southeast Regional Justice Center will consolidate several smaller justice courts and adult probation services.

“Capital spending is important to the long-term success of our community,” said Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5. “These investments enable our staff to provide better service and more important, they provide great value for the taxpayer.”

The 2019 budget also includes a one-time funding of $1.7 million for the Maricopa County Schools Superintendent Office’s Visions Financial System Renewal costs.

The final vote will take place and public comments will be open at a public hearing on Monday, June 25 at 10 a.m. in the Supervisors’ Conference Room, 301 W. Jefferson, 10th Floor in downtown Phoenix

Residents can also comment on the 2019 Maricopa County Tentative budget by reaching out to the Board Supervisor offices or filling out a budget suggestion form online at: https://www.maricopa.gov/1323/Feedback-and-Suggestions.

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