By Heather Murphy
Today the Pinal County Board of Supervisors adopted the tentative 2008-09 budget. Highlights of the proposed budget include:
- A net tax decrease of 54 cents, thus establishing the lowest primary property tax rate in 31 years. The proposed primary tax rate is 86 cents less than the 2006 rate.
- Establishing Superior Court Division X to handle the increased caseload stemming from the county's rapid growth.
- Ensuring public safety by providing adequate funding for the Sheriff's Office, Detention and the Courts.
- Minimizing the use of the county's rainy day fund by making expenditure reductions across multiple departments and divisions.
- The proposed budget is $24.39 million less than the prior year's approved budget.
- Maintaining the financial stability of Pinal County. In December 2007, Standard & Poor's upgraded its debt rating for Pinal County to A. Standard & Poor's states the upgrade was earned as a result of "continued economic growth and diversification and maintenance of a strong financial position with strong reserves."
- Expanding library services for Pinal County residents.
- Construction of a replacement for the storm-damaged Schnepf Road Bridge.
- Completion of Park Link Drive resurfacing. Park Link Drive is an important east-west connector.
"Significant impact for the county may come when we learn how the state plans to balance its budget," County Manager Terry Doolittle said.
The tentative budget will be under review for potential adjustments over the coming weeks. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the final budget at their July 30, 2008 meeting.