Board of Supervisors Cuts Property Tax Rate, Invests in Public Health
After helping the nation’s fastest-growing county weather a pandemic and a year of financial uncertainty, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is putting money in people’s pockets while also making investments to ensure a better future.
At its May 17, 2021 meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved a tentative $3.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2022. The budget includes significant health and human services spending and a property tax rate cut.
“For the past year, we have dealt with one crisis after another. Responding quickly and efficiently to the public health emergency has been a priority, but now’s the time to look to the future. What we do today will determine whether we retain a high quality of life for future generations,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers, District 1. “This budget puts people back to work, provides a stronger safety net for the most vulnerable in our community, and invests in the infrastructure we need to make our incredible growth sustainable.”
The FY 2022 budget addresses key needs identified as result of pandemic. Highlights include:
- funding 30 new positions for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health which led the effort to protect the community from COVID-19 through case investigation, data sharing, testing, and vaccination.
- $5 million toward long-term solutions to homelessness, including shelters and “bridge” housing
- continuing successful rental and utility assistance programs that keep people in their homes and prevent evictions that hurt families and the local economy
- adding staff and resources to the Office of the Medical Examiner, after a year where, unfortunately, the number of deaths spiked
- and funding a new command center for the Emergency Management Department, which has distributed more than 20 million units of personal protective equipment over the past year and has been an integral part of the county’s unified response to the pandemic.
“Our job is to be responsive to the needs of our community and respectful of the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars. This budget does that,” said Vice Chairman Bill Gates, District 3. “The pandemic taught us how tenuous health and financial security are for too many in our community, and so we invested in those areas. At the same time, the Board wisely chose to lower the property tax rate and reduce our pension debt.”
The tentative county budget contains approximately $439 million in federal funding for continued pandemic response and recovery, which was part of the American Rescue Act passed by Congress. The Board of Supervisors will allocate that funding to meet the changing needs of the community.
“It has been a hard year, but I’m optimistic about Maricopa County’s future and pleased that, because of years of fiscal discipline from this Board, we are able to cut tax rates,” said Supervisor Steve Chucri, District 2. “In 2020, Maricopa County ranked first in economic growth out of more than 30 metro regions in the U.S. The budget approved by the Board today — and the property tax rate cut we are planning — will support the county’s economic momentum by easing the financial burden on residents while also prioritizing public health and safety.”
The FY 2022 budget earmarks $349 million dollars for capital investments that will help support continued growth. These include a new East Valley Animal Care and Control Facility; 10 improvement projects at regional parks; more than 92 long-term transportation projects; new security, SWAT, and K-9 facilities for the Sheriff’s Office; and new MCSO substations in the fast-growing West Valley (Avondale, Surprise).
“My district is the fastest-growing part of the nation’s fast-growing county, and I believe targeted investments there — especially public safety investments — benefit our entire region,” said Supervisor Clint Hickman, District 4. “I know there have been a lot of other things in the news lately, but our most important job as supervisors is to make sure residents feel secure and this budget prioritize projects that make our communities safer.”
Maricopa County’s strategic goal of becoming an all-digital county proved prescient during a year of Zoom meetings and limited public outings. In FY 2022, the Board of Supervisors will invest $76 million to improve the county’s technology infrastructure, boost online service options for residents, and ensure county staff have the tools necessary to provide fast, efficient service.
“County employees — especially our essential workers — have done an incredible amount of good over the past year,” said Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5. “They’ve made sure COVID-19 resources, information, and vaccine are available to everyone in our community and supported people who have lost jobs or businesses or homes due to the pandemic. With additional funding for Public Health and a brand-new Homeless Initiative, I have no doubt we will make a huge, positive difference in the lives of our residents in the coming year.”
The public will be able to comment on the tentative budget between now and the final vote which is scheduled for June 21.