Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approves 2024 budget, cuts property taxes again

Jun 26, 2023, 4:00 PM

A photo of the Maricopa County logo (KTAR News Photo/Torrence Dunham)...

A photo of the Maricopa County logo (KTAR News Photo/Torrence Dunham)

(KTAR News Photo/Torrence Dunham)

PHOENIX — One year after passing the largest tax rate cut in county history, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved unanimously Monday it is cutting the county’s primary tax rate for a third straight year.

The rate will be lowered from 1.25 (or $125 on a $100,000 home) to 1.2 (or $120 on a 100,000 home), according to a press release from the county. Although property values are rising, the state statute does give supervisors the ability to set the property tax rate.

How much of the budget is being cut?

The board is cutting the overall county budget by 2.6% from fiscal year 2023. While some other counties are taxing as much as they are allowed under state law, Maricopa County’s tax levy is $232.8 million below the maximum, according to the press release.

Clint Hickman, board of supervisors chairman, District 4, said this budget is lean and focuses on providing “exceptional value to the taxpayer.”

“While we are careful about following our mandates, this Board realizes there are urgent needs in our community and so we have focused on spending where it will truly make it difference: providing housing, providing job opportunities, and protecting public safety,” Hickman said in the press release.

Public safety getting a boost

Half of the county budget will go toward public safety, with the county attorney’s office adding 21 positions and the Sherriff’s Office adding 46 for security officers who will do additional screenings in jail for drugs, including fentanyl.

Thomas Galvin, District 2 supervisor, said the government’s core job is protecting public safety.

“I appreciate the commitment of Chairman Hickman, Sheriff Penzone, and County Attorney Mitchell in prioritizing prosecutions of the people bringing this drug into our community, and in education so that families know that just one pill can be deadly,” Galvin said in the press release.

“And I’m pleased this budget can offer tax relief in addition to safer neighborhoods.”

Improving infrastructure

For fiscal year 2024, budget money will go toward long-term infrastructure projects including multi-million dollar investments in regional parks, a new downtown office building to get the Public Health and Human Services Departments out of leased space and a new animal shelter in the East Valley.

“Budgeting isn’t easy, but our team does a great job aligning spending with our priorities,” Bill Gates, District 3 supervisor, said in the press release. “And because we run efficient programs at Maricopa County, we can give residents a tax break while also funding services and programs that meet current needs and improve quality of life for future generations.”

Upcoming elections

In addition to the infrastructure projects, the main elections operations building will be renovated. The budget includes $10.1 million to fund the Presidential Preference Election and prepare for the primary and general elections, plus an additional $9 million in contingency to replace certain ballot-on demand printers that serve voting centers, the press release stated.

District 5 Supervisor Steve Gallardo said, “Democracy is worth every penny.”

“We are providing the financial resources necessary to support our elections staff so that they can continue to administer secure, fair, and accurate elections,” Gallardo said in the press release.

This will also mark the second consecutive year the county will pay down unfunded pension liabilities. In fiscal year 2024, the board is directing $190 million into the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and Corrections Officer Retirement Plan that provides retiring government employees in the law enforcement sector with pension money they’ve earned.

Paying down the debt means a smaller percentage of future budgets will be needed to pay for the pensions, the release stated.

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Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approves 2024 budget, cuts property taxes again