Mar 282014

By Tammy Gray
Navajo County is still looking forward to a surplus at the end of the current fiscal year, despite a drop in sales tax revenues in March, according to Finance Director James Menlove.
Menlove told the board of supervisors on Tuesday that revenues received in March, which actually reflect retail sales made in January, were lower than expected.
“It’s not what we’ve had the last few months,” he said. “In fact, it’s lower than last year.”
He pointed out, however, that revenues in February, which reflect December retail sales, were higher than expected.
“In the previous month we had an all-time high, so it’s typical that there would be this fall-off in spending,” he said.
According to Menlove, the county is still expecting a surplus of just over $600,000 at the end of the fiscal year. He told the board that despite using the term “surplus,” the money is not extra, but necessary for the upcoming fiscal year.
“That surplus will roll over and carry us forward to help address fiscal year 2015 challenges,” Menlove noted.
He explained that the county will not be able to rely on payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) from the federal government in the upcoming fiscal year since the U.S. Congress will not begin to discuss whether the payments will continue until new members are seated in January 2015.
“That’s money we cannot rely on,” Menlove told the board. “It is a $1.4 million direct revenue loss.”
In addition, the county will not receive revenue from inmate housing contracts since the Arizona Department of Corrections and the U.S. Marshal’s Office have not renewed those contracts.
In other action on March 25, the board:
* Celebrated the 119th anniversary of becoming a county.
* Approved memorandums of understanding with the Town of Snowflake for dispensing medications and vaccinations in the event of a public health emergency.
* Approved withdrawing from a drug-free communities grant after learning that the Navajo County Drug Project does not currently have a director and will not be able to meet the terms of the grant.
* Approved the expenditure of $7,650 in grant funds for training and equipment for the county constables.
* Approved the purchase of a 2014 Ford Escape from Show Low Ford for the county motor pool for $26,441.01.
* Approved an agreement with New World Systems for the purchase of software modules to update current county finance software for $88,010.
* Approved a memorandum of agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs for repair of a motor grader.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9, at the county complex in Holbrook.