Maricopa Board of Supervisors approves tentative 2020 budget, public comment period open
By TARA ALATORRE
PHOENIX – The Maricopa County Supervisors unanimously approved a tentative budget for the fiscal year 2020 on May 31, with a $2.57 billion budget that keeps the tax rate remaining flat.
The budget includes funding for updated technology and equipment for elections, capital improvements, which include projects for parks an East Valley animal shelter and a new sheriff substation in Avondale, according to a press release from Maricopa County.
“Modern, reliable equipment is essential for a county of our size so we can efficiently handle the potential record number of voters participating in our democracy in the 2020 elections and beyond,” said Vice Chairman Clint Hickman, District 4.
Also included in the tentative budget is continued funding for the Southeast Regional Justice Center, Central Court building, a new jail intake facility and a renovation project of the old Madison jail in downtown Phoenix.
“This fiscally responsible and sustainable budget keeps the tax rate steady for our residents while investing in the kinds of technology and infrastructure that works to serve citizens better,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, District 3.
The board noted the importance of the county making smart investments so it can support the infrastructure of the growing population, which is the fastest in the nation.
“These investments include strengthening public safety, improving the voter experience, preserving and enhancing our open space, and utilizing technology and process improvement to save money and make our county government more efficient while providing better service,” Chairman Gates said. “I am grateful to my colleagues on the Board and to all departments for budgeting in a way that plans for, and protects, the future.”
According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Maricopa County added the most people out of any county in the nation, with 81,244 people moving here between July 2017 and July 2018.
To modernize the infrastructure needed to support the explosive growth, the 2020 budget allocates $296.9 million for capital improvement projects, according to the press release.
“I am proud to be part of the team that continues to pass budgets that protect our taxpayers while serving the needs of our ever-growing county population,” said Supervisor Jack Sellers, District 1. “I’m pleased the tax rate won’t change nor is the county required to take on debt to fund operations.”
At a time when many other counties are taxing as much as they are allowed by state law, Maricopa County says its tax levy is $140.5 million below the maximum, while other counties are taxing the maximum allowed by state law.
“This budget supports the Maricopa County of the future by building on a great foundation of innovative planning and fiscal intelligence to move us forward,” said Supervisor Steve Chucri, District 2.
Other highlights from the county’s press release include:
- $1.5 million to continue the current model of animal shelter operations that has resulted in a 95% save rate.
- $1.5 million for process and technology improvements that support the strategic goal of becoming an all-digital county by 2022.
- $100,000 to update unincorporated area plans for the next generation
- Three new positions for the County’s Innovation Studio, focused on process improvement that in 2018 saved an estimated $1.5 million dollars.
- Full-time, permanent homeless coordinator to support regional solutions to homelessness through Human Services Department.
The public will be able to comment on the tentative budget between now and the final vote which is scheduled for June 24, at 9:30 a.m. The meeting will take place in the Sullivan Conference Room, 301 W. Jefferson Street on the 10th floor in downtown Phoenix.
Watch the full budget presentation here
A copy of the budget can be found at: https://www.maricopa.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4690.
To submit a public comment email: firstname.lastname@example.org with “budget 2020 adoption” in the subject line. Or mail the Clerk of Board of Supervisors, 301 W. Jefferson Street, 10th Floor, Phoenix 85003. The letters and emails must be received before the June 24 meeting.