By Linda Kor
The Navajo County Board of Supervisors listened to an overview of the latest state legislative session July 9. Craig Sullivan, executive director of the County Supervisors Association of Arizona (CSA), provided information on the bills that will impact the county.
The priorities this session for CSA as it represented the county was the effort to re-establish the share of lottery revenues to each of the 15 counties, the elimination of county payments to the Arizona State Hospital for the Sexually Violent Persons (SVP) population and the restoration of Highway Users Revenue Funds (HURF).
Regarding lottery funds, although not a permanent solution, the final budget for the state includes a direct appropriation to counties in lottery revenues. This amount comes to $7.2 million to the 13 counties that have a population under 900,000 people, with each qualifying county to receive a one-time payment of $550,000.
Although the payments to the SVP were not eliminated, they were reduced from supporting 50 percent of the population to 35 percent, providing $1.8 million in relief to counties.
The HURF monies remain a tough issue for counties, as a large portion of those funds will continue to be swept to fund the Department of Public Safety.
“When we address the issue of HURF funding, the response (from the state) is that if we find a way to fund DPS then those funds can be restored, in effect making DPS our problem. It’s not our problem, it’s the state’s,” stated Supervisor David Tenney. “This is funding that should go to our people. DPS is something that should come from the general fund.”
He went on to state that the board needs to focus its attention on this issue or there will be serious trouble in the near future. “They keep taking three quarters of a million dollars each year and our roads are in real need of work,” Tenney concluded.
It’s estimated that the impact on Navajo County HURF funding for the upcoming fiscal year will be $690,569, with an aggregate impact of $3.6 million.
Sullivan noted that while the state is showing a slow recovery from the recession, Navajo County has yet to experience any recovery. “Property values and revenue continue to decline as the state impacts to county budgets continue for a sixth year,” he explained.
Sullivan also pointed out that incremental progress on financial objectives has resulted in close to $9 million in relief for all 15 counties in fiscal year 2014, and that overall, Governor Jan Brewer and her staff continue to be responsive to counties’ interests.
In other business July 9, the board:
* Authorized acceptance of a $4,000 grant to be used with the City of Tucson for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Domestic Highway Enforcement.
* Authorized acceptance of a $241,860 Byrne grant from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) for operation of the Major Crimes Apprehension Team.
* Approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Department of Corrections for housing of DOC inmates.
* Authorized an expenditure of state and local Fill the Gap Funds for fiscal year 2014.
* Approved an amendment to the revolving credit agreement, letter of declaration, and representation to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. to accommodate the new budget year.
* Authorized a contract to be signed by County Manager Jimmy Jayne regarding the statement of work between Colorado CustomWare Inc., and the county.
* Approved a letter of appreciation to Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick for supporting the Winslow Levee feasibility study.
* Approved an $80,000 oral health fluoride varnish contract for the White Mountain Apache Tribe Region with Arizona First Things First for July 1 through June 30, 2014.
* Approved professional service contracts in the amount of $45 per hour with Connie Bain, RDH, AP, Regina Rich, RDH, AP, Vita Nicks, RDH, and Tamra Cannon, RDH, for dental hygiene services through the Arizona First Things First for White Mountain Apache, Oral Health Fluoride Program effective July 1 to June 30, 2014.
* Authorized acceptance of a $54,145 grant from the DPS Victims of Crime Act to assist Navajo County Victims Services in providing mandated services to victims of crime.
* Authorized acceptance of an $89,962 grant from the ACJC Drug, Gang, and Violent Crime Control to assist the county attorney’s office in prosecuting crimes that result from drug, gang and violent crime activity.
* Authorized acceptance of a $32,295 grant from the ACJC Victim Assistance Program to fund two victim advocate positions within the Victim Services Department to assist Navajo County victims of crime.
* Authorized acceptance of a $94,048 grant from the ACJC Victim Compensation Program to assist the county attorney’s office in administering the Crime Victim Compensation Program to Navajo County crime victims who are eligible for financial assistance to aid in the healing and recovery as a result of a crime.
* Awarded a $98,750 contract to Hatch Construction to install Americans with Disabilities Act compliant ramps and parking lot paving at the Silver Creek Senior Citizens Center.
By Linda Kor