PIMA COUNTY – Following the direction of the Board of Supervisors after the May 23 tentative budget adoption meeting, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has amended his proposed plan to repair neighborhood streets by recommending a two-tiered funding and repair system and creating a Transportation Advisory Committee to set road repair priorities.
The board in May tentatively approved a Fiscal Year 2018 budget that includes a 25-cent special property tax rate for the repair of neighborhood roads. The Administrator’s five-year, $100 million plan to dig the county out of its road repair funding hole is intended to be tax neutral, with the 25-cent tax rate offset each year by a decrease in the primary property tax rate. However, for next fiscal year, the entire 25 cents could not be offset due to personnel costs in the Sheriff’s Department. Only 11 cents of the new tax would be offset.
Therefore, the administrator is proposing funding local road repairs two ways for next year.
One, called base funding, will be funded with 11 cents of the special tax rate, which will raise about $8.6 million and be fully offset by reductions to the primary, flood control and library districts property tax rates.
The other, called accelerated funding, will be funded with the remaining 14 cents of the special rate, which will raise about $10.9 million. If adopted by the board, this portion of the plan would raise the overall county property tax rate by 14 cents. That equates to about an extra $18 dollars for the property tax bill of a median-valued home next fiscal year.
For both funding methods, the expenditures will be restricted to paying for the repair of local, or neighborhood, streets. Funding for arterial streets in the unincorporated county, such as Thornydale Road, will be funded through a portion of the county’s state gas tax, or HURF, receipts.
The $8.6 million of base funding will be distributed according to the formula the board adopted in May:
- Divided by the assessed value of all county jurisdictions
- For the county’s portion of assessed value, divided by miles of roads in each supervisory district
- For the municipalities, divided by the percentage of the population of the portion of each supervisory district in each city or town.
For the $10.9 million accelerated funding distribution, it also will be divided by percentage of assessed value of each jurisdiction, but the Administrator is leaving the specifics for the board to determine at a later date with input from the new Transportation Advisory Committee.
The Administrator has recommended the Transportation Advisory Committee have 13 members, with the five Supervisors appointing two members each and the County Administrator appointing three members, with his selection restricted to people with “established transportation expertise.”
He suggested the committee play a larger role than just determining road repair priorities, but also advise the board on the overall transportation budget, transportation infrastructure capital improvements, and transportation policy.
He also suggested the county’s Transportation Advisory Committee work with similar committees in the cities and towns, such as the City of Tucson’s Transportation Advisory Committee, to determine funding priorities for the special property tax expenditures in the municipalities.
Last month, Supervisor Ramón Valadez asked the County Administrator to also present the board with a road repair plan funded by a countywide sales tax. The Administrator said he will present that proposal to the board next week.
The board is expected to vote on the plan at its June 20 meeting as part of the fiscal year 2018 budget adoption. The fiscal year begins July 1. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the supervisors hearing room, 130 W. Congress St., first floor.
For more information about the revised plan, including the full text of the County Administrator’s memo, visit www.pima.gov/roadrepairplan.