The City of Maricopa has a total proposed budget of $114 million.
The city council approved the tentative budget May 19.
City Manager Gregory Rose said he is always proud to be able to say the budget is balanced, but it has been a painful process this year. He said there were many items requested by city departments “that legitimately should be funded” that could not be.
The primary and secondary tax rates are decreasing. The primary rate slides from $4.98 per $100 assessed value to $4.78. The secondary tax rate, which is paying off two voter-approved bonds for Copper Sky Regional Park, decreases 66 cents to $1.70.
That creates a total property tax rate of $6.48 for the new fiscal year compared to $7.34 last year. The maximum tax levy is rising from $11.2 million to $11.6 million. The city’s sales tax remains unchanged.
In arriving at the balanced budget, Rose said Maricopa’s top priorities were economic stability, transportation, public safety, quality of life and quality of municipal services.
He said all services remain the same except for an increase in the Police Department’s service levels. MPD is moving its dispatch services in-house in December or January when the substation at Copper Sky is completed.
In the operating budget of $51 million, general fund expenditures are $32 million. There is a contingency fund of $500,000. The budget should be in the black by $12,000.
“This is the first year in a few years where the operating budget actually balanced,” Finance Director Brian Ritschel said.
The strategy, Rose said, was to ensure “that we are adhering to the financial policies that have been adopted by the mayor and council, as well as ensuring we are as transparent as possible.”
Last year, the city was far short of estimates for capital improvement grant revenues. The city had budgeted for more than $55 million in CIP grants but attained $250,000, as government funding was cut. Total revenues not related to property taxes shrank from the early estimate of more than $100 million to the reality of $32 million.
For the new budget, the city is estimating total non-property-tax revenues of $70 million. “There was a slight increase in the state-shared revenue estimates,” Ritschel said.
Rose said the city is still seeking a grant for a new ladder truck. “Should we not receive it, we have already identified a way that we can fund the purchase of that” with an interfund that allows money to be moved from another area.
The city’s CIP has been narrowed from a 10-year plan to a five-year plan, “but for each project that has been identified in the CIP, we’ve identified a way of funding that project,” Rose said.