The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the combined county budget for fiscal year 2023, which started July 1. The new $1.93 billion budget includes $67 million for road repairs and $24 million to begin construction on a new, modern facility for the county medical examiner.
The overall county budget is a combination of several separate funds with their own taxes. The new combined rate is 13 cents per $100 of assessed value lower than the current year and the fifth consecutive year the board has reduced the combined county tax rate. The rate for next fiscal year is 91.32 cents less than the $5.9784 rate in fiscal year 2018. Those five years of reduced tax rates have allowed County property taxpayers to avoid millions of dollars in taxes.
Many taxpayers will still see a slight increase in their county property tax bill due to increased property valuations. Property values have been increasing steadily the past several years, with overall county property values up nearly 5 percent in the valuation year used to set this year’s tax rate.
There are two components to county property taxes – a property’s assessed value set by the county assessor, and the tax rate, which is set by the Board of Supervisors. Using formulas set by state law, rates for the different county property taxes are multiplied by the assessed value to determine the tax bill. The county imposes four types of property taxes and the board took separate votes on the rates for all of them. The board:
- Voted 4-1 to approve the primary tax rate, which funds the General Fund that pays for most County services; Adopted tax rate: $3.8764 (same as FY2022)
- Voted 5-0 to approve the Library District budget and tax rate, which can only be used to fund public library operations; Adopted tax rate: $0.5453 (an increase of $0.01 from FY22)
- Voted 5-0 to approve the Regional Flood Control District budget and tax rate, which can only be used to fund flood control projects in the County; Adopted tax rate: $0.3235 (a decrease of $0.01 from FY22)
- Voted 5-0 to approve the debt service tax rate, which can only be used to pay back voter-approved general obligation bonds that were used to fund the construction of County facilities and infrastructure; Adopted tax rate: $0.32 (a reduction of $0.13 from FY22)
New Road Construction – The capital projects budget includes funding for the beginning of construction planning of the new Sunset Road Interstate 10 connection, which includes an extension to River Road; funding for the widening of South Houghton Road; and the county’s portion of a Regional Transportation Authority project to improve 22nd Street from Interstate 10 to Tucson Boulevard.
Road Repair – The board approved spending nearly $67 million on road repairs in fiscal year 2023. The spending is part of the county’s 10-year PAYGO plan to repair all unincorporated county roads to good condition by 2030. The county is following a “worst first” criteria to fix the roads. The county has spent $177 million on road repairs over the past three fiscal years.
Medical Examiner’s Building – The Pima County Medical Examiner provides forensic services to 13 Arizona counties including Pima, as well as receiving dozens of remains a year found in the desert, most of whom were suspected border crossers. The current facility is cramped and needs upgrades to meet the demands of modern forensics. The budget includes construction of a new building that provides more space and modernizes the facility.
Sustainability – Several capital projects will continue to increase the county’s sustainability programs to meet Paris Accord carbon reduction goals by 2030. The budget pays for several new solar power installations planned for county parking lots and replacement of county building lighting systems with energy efficient lighting.
Other Budget Votes
State law requires the board to also set the budgets and tax rates for improvement and facilities districts that are used to fund infrastructure specific to communities. The board unanimously approved the budgets and tax rates for Improvement Districts and for the Rocking K Community Facilities District. It also voted 4-1 to approve the budget for the Kino Stadium District, which oversees the operation of the Kino Sports and Entertainment Complex on Ajo Road.