The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a tentative budget for fiscal year 2019 that decreases spending year-over-year without raising the tax rate.
“Maricopa County residents want to live in safe communities with a responsive government and a low tax burden,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Chucri, District 2. “This budget is all about maximizing our resources to deliver on those promises for taxpayers.”
“The Board has prioritized leaner, more efficient government and the FY 2019 budget shows how those efforts are paying off,” said Vice Chairman Bill Gates, District 3. “Total spending is down nearly 2% from FY 2018; we have 500 fewer positions at the County than we did a decade ago; and we are, in many ways, providing better customer service than ever.”
The $2.45 billion budget keeps the tax rate flat from the previous year. 53.9% of the budget is allocated for public safety.
“When I joined the Board in 2013, we spent 50% of our budget on public safety. Now it’s 54%,” noted Supervisor Denny Barney, District 1. “As demands on our criminal justice system have grown, we’ve had to be more efficient. That’s why we are investing in Smart Justice initiatives and new technology and putting increased focus this year on compliance with the Melendres order.”
The Board approved an additional $3.2 million for compliance in FY 2019.
“We’re giving the Sheriff’s Office money for 26 additional staff members, focusing only on compliance,” said Supervisor Clint Hickman, District 4. “And what we want in return is to make—and be credited for—consistent, measurable progress. Taxpayers need to be free of the financial burden of mandated, court-ordered Melendres-related costs that add up to millions of dollars every year.”
The Board continues to prioritize long-term investments that build a stronger Maricopa County. The FY 2019 budget allocates $364 million for capital projects including $35.5 million for a new Southeast Regional Justice Center, which will consolidate several, smaller Justice Courts along with Adult Probation services; $4.7 million in new funding for the county parks system; and continuing money toward the construction of a new jail intake facility and the renovation of the old Madison Street Jail.
“Capital spending is important to the long-term success of our community. These investments enable our staff to provide better service, and more important, they provide great value for the taxpayer,” said Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5.
The public will be able to comment on the tentative budget between now and the final vote which is scheduled for June 25.
READ MORE: 2019 Citizens' Budget Brief