It’s budget season for local governments. The City of Prescott spent about 2 hours on Tuesday taking an indepth look at the upcoming 2019 FY Budget.
Thursday, May 24th, at 4:30 PM, the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority (CAFMA) Board, along with the Central Yavapai Fire District (CYFD) and Chino Valley Fire District (CVFD) Boards will consider their budgets for 2019.
The meeting will take place at the CAFMA Administration office, 8603 E. Eastridge Drive, Prescott Valley.
CAFMA’s five Board Directors are comprised of three representatives from CYFD and two representatives from CVFD.
CYFD Board Directors
CVFD Board Directors
Here’s how it works: CAFMA, as an entity, does not have the power to tax anyone. It has no taxing authority. All the money it needs to operate comes from CYFD and CVFD. That’s why each month, during their regularly scheduled meetings, CYFD and CVFD Boards vote to send money to CAFMA. Once the money has been sent to CAFMA, CYFD and CVFD have no say in how it is used or spent.
Yet, even though CAFMA cannot generate revenues on its own, all the property and assets of the two fire departments were deeded over to the CAFMA ownership. Additionally, all personnel works for CAFMA.
For the last several months, Directors Jacobs and Steele from CYFD have voted against sending the money to CAFMA, citing their own fiduciary responsibilities to the voters. They feel strongly that the voters in the CYFD district cast ballots for a reason, and they should be allowed certain oversight in the expenditures. Now that the new budget is being voted on, their concerns have intensified.
How does CAFMA compare?
Living within either the CYFD or the CVFD districts means high taxes. Really high, if compared to nearby City of Prescott.
Prescott’s Finance Director Mark Woodfill explained, "Our property tax rate is going to drop to .2699 down from .2821 - that’s about a 4% reduction in our rate. We always look at a $200,000 house… But just as a quick aside, that brings down that tax from $56 to about $53… Compared to Central Yavapai Fire District’s rate, which is 2.7786. We’re about a tenth of that. I’m using Central Yavapai’s rate from last year, because I don’t know their rate they’re going to be proposing this year, but in a $200,000 house in our jurisdiction, there would be about $54 a year. A $200,000 house across the street in the County, in Central Yavapai… would be about $555."
Woodfill’s numbers need a little correction, according to the Central Yavapai Fire District budget.
CYFD tax rate for 2018 (current year): $2.5598, which brings the total tax on a $200,000 home to about $512.
CYFD tax rate for 2019 (proposed rate): $2.5964, an increase of 1.43%. Total tax on a $200,000 home? Approximately $519.
CVFD tax rate for 2018 (current year): $3.2492, bringing the total tax on a $200,000 home to about $650.
CVFD tax rate for 2019 (proposed rate): $3.2499, an increase of 0.02%. Tax on a $200,000 home? Approximately $650.
That is just the property tax amount - it doesn't include schools, Yavapai College or other taxing entites.
Of course, residents of the City of Prescott also pay sales tax which helps to support the General Fund. CAFMA shoppers aren’t let off the hook - they, too, are paying sales tax if they shop inside the city limits of any nearby municipality. Again, the City of Prescott’s sales tax rate is lower than any other municipality in the area.
CAFMA total proposed tax levy requirement for the 2019FY: $20,456,281 (+7.025% - if the increase for CYFD and CVFD is averaged out).
- CYFD tax levy requirement: $16,529,780
- CVFD tax levy requirement: $3,926,501
However, their proposed budget for FY2019 is $25,753,592. That is an increase of 11.14% over the previous year. And it's $5,297,311 higher than the taxes are expected to bring in. Where does that extra money come from? Partly it comes from a $3+ million withdrawal from the Capital Reserve Account.
City of Prescott proposed Fire Department Budget: $9,069,255 (-5.7%)
Basically, while the City of Prescott is working hard to decrease budgets, CAFMA has a double-digit increase.
By the way, that $54 from Prescott? That also includes costs for police, city government, streets and more.
CAFMA Budget Examples
Examples from the CAFMA Budget (in no particular order - pages noted are the page numbers of the budget, not the packet):
- $5000 in Awards (page 5)
- $35,000 Finance Chief car (page 6)
- $12,015 for Public Ed/School Ed (page 7)
- $92,200 medical supplies (page 10)
- $4000 Honor Guard/Pipes & Drums Uniforms (page 10)
- $53,605 Training/Travel/Conferences (page 12)
- $6375 more awards (page 12)
- $1,555,058 Capital Outlay (page 13)
- $57,750 supplies (page 14)
- $33,900 more training & travel (page 15)
- $105,300 building maintenance supplies (page 19)
- $114,500 more building maintenance (page 19)
- $29,200 furniture and fixture replacement (over 3 years, $87,600 has been budgeted for this category) (page 19)
- $5700 Alarm/Sprinkler maintenance - up 21.28% (page 19)
- $275,520 in more supplies/furniture costs (page 23)
These items above add up to $2,385,123
- Capital Reserve withdrawal $3,034,434, (page 3)
- 256% increase in unemployment insurance (throughout budget)
- Nearly 26% increase in State Compensation Insurance (throughout budget)