FLORENCE – The Pinal County Board of Supervisors has approved the final budget for fiscal year 2011-12, adopting a spending ceiling of $357 million. This is 17 percent lower than the authorized budget ceiling of $429.8 million for the fiscal year ending today.
The reduction came as a result of budget cuts from each of Pinal County’s elected officials and county departments, County Manager Fritz Behring said. A large portion of the reduction is the result of the state privatizing the long-term care program. Behring said that all departments and elected officials shared in making strategic business decisions to reduce spending, eliminate certain programs and streamline operations.
The Board of Supervisors began the budget process with a bipartisan agreement that they would not increase the property tax rate. The average property valuation in Pinal is decreasing by about 16 percent, which means that nearly all county residents will experience a decrease in the amount of tax they pay to support county services. Only about 28 to 31 cents of each tax dollar is used for county services. The remaining portion goes to schools, special districts and municipalities.
“I would like to go back to one of my original statements when we started this process,” Chairman Pete Rios said. “If the State Legislature left us alone we would be doing pretty well. They didn't. The cost shifts, revenue cuts and the assumption of additional costs meant we were impacted by eight million dollars,” Chairman Rios explained. “What matters now, is that we are striving to achieve a balanced budget.”
“We clearly demonstrated we can cross party lines for the good of Pinal County,” Supervisor Bryan Martyn said. “This is going to be an ongoing process. Tomorrow we begin to look at next year's budget. We are moving forward.”
“The annual budget is the most important document for any government organization,” Supervisor David Snider said. “There are a lot of moving pieces to Arizona's economy and Pinal County's economy. Basically, it is tough all over. I'm convinced the way we find our way out of these economic doldrums is by finding new manufacturing jobs for Pinal County. We need to find companies that will export our goods and bring in new jobs. I am convinced our Board of Supervisors is committed to that goal.”
More detailed information, including presentations and summaries can be found on Pinal County’s website at http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/BudgetOffice/Pages/Home.aspx.
Pinal County’s website features a host of information pertaining to county services, tourism, road projects, public health and much more. Explore www.pinalcountyaz.gov and discover Pinal County’s wide open opportunity.