Oct 282011

By Linda Kor–

During the Oct. 25 meeting of the Navajo County Board of Supervisors, Finance Director James Menlove presented the board with the latest general fund expense projections. The figures show that for the first three months of the fiscal year the general fund is in the black by approximately $10,000, something Menlove indicated was not easily accomplished.

“We’re holding up expenses to where revenues are, but it takes a lot of work with all the departments holding the line,” he explained.

Menlove noted that overall, the greatest cost savings for this fiscal year will be in personnel reductions. Last year’s expenditures showed salaries and wages totaling $21.4 million, this year that amount is projected to be cut by nearly $800,000. It is also projected that approximately half a million dollars will be saved from cuts to professional services, with costs in indigent health or support care of persons to increase by approximately $600,000 over last fiscal year to approximately $3.2 million. With reductions and increases in areas calculated, the total projected savings due to reductions in expenditures for fiscal year 2012 is estimated at approximately $600,000.

In other business, Public Works Director Homero Vela appealed to the board for a resolution of support that would ask that the state stop sweeping the Highway Users Revenue Funds (HURF) and reinstate the funds to the original amounts. “We have 733 miles of unincorporated roads to maintain. There has been a $2 million decline from 2007 to 2011. In this cycle there has been a three-quarter of a million dollar sweep of HURF,” stated Vela, adding that these funds have instead been funneled to state agencies.

He explained that the vehicle license tax and HURF revenues are the exclusive sources for road maintenance, and that these funds are allocated to the 15 counties through a state formula. According to the formula, the county will already receive less funding because although the population of Navajo County may have increased by 10 percent, the rest of the state increased at a greater rate, meaning less funding for the county.

Vela informed the board that the White Mountain Regional Transportation Committee will be meeting on Nov. 10 with representatives from the Arizona Department of Transportation, Navajo and Apache counties, and other interested parties. Senator Sylvia Allen is also expected to attend, and Vela urged the board to be present in order to express the urgency of the restoration of these funds. The board unanimously approved the resolution and support for the endeavor.

Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll was also present at the meeting to encourage board members to form a coalition of support for restoring funding to counties within Arizona.

“We need to collaborate with our senators and build an effort of coalition. If we are not at the table, then we are on the menu,” stated Carroll. He encouraged board members to join in a unified effort with other counties to address the senators on the importance of these matters.

In other action Oct. 25, the board:

* Authorized the Navajo County Fair to lease race dates of March 3, 4, 10 and 11 to Turf Paradise.

* Approved a resolution moving the Chichinbeto, Hardrock No. 1 and 3, Snowflake No. 1 and Kayenta No. 1 polling places in order to provide more secure and larger facilities for each community; each new location will be within 500 feet of the current location.

* Authorized the acceptance of four Homeland Security Grants in the amount of $4,831 for equipment and volunteer training for security related programs, $60,000 for the development of a tactical interoperable communication plan, $30,000 for computers for sheriff’s office vehicles, and $43,850 for Homeland Security related training and exercises.

* Approved the donation of used office equipment and a van to the Yu Weh Loo Pah Ki (Spider Mound) Community for $1.

* Authorized the rejection of all bids for vehicle purchases due to lack of funding by the Bureau of Prisons.