By now, you probably have heard that your property taxes will be going up soon. This is a result of the majority of the Pima County Board of Supervisors voting in favor of a five-year, $0.25/$100 assessed value, property tax increase.

The first year’s increase is reduced from $0.25 to a net $0.14 by cutting the primary property tax rate and secondary taxing districts, namely Library and Flood Control rates, by $0.11. It has been represented, and I hope that during years 2 through 5  of the plan, with anticipated increases in property valuations, the tax will become neutral and will sunset at the end of year 5.The Property Tax Road Repair Plan is projected to raise $20 million/year countywide and to be solely dedicated to local road repair.

As a former Chair of the Arizona State Transportation Board, I have a very good idea of what roads and road repair cost, and frankly, I am underwhelmed by the projected amount that will be raised annually by this Property Tax Road Repair Plan; that is one among several reasons why I voted against it. Another reason I voted against this tax proposal is that no matter how you dress it up, at the end of the day, it is still just another tax.

Yet another reason for my “No” vote is that this tax proposal was presented in May with the following condition: “How the Supervisor develops local road repair priorities will be up to the Supervisor.” That condition – which was very important to me – has been removed and now there will be a 13-member, countywide, Transportation Advisory Committee. Each Supervisor will appoint two members to it, and the County Administrator has appointed his three representatives.

I hate to sound pessimistic, but the amount of projected tax revenues that will go to our district will amount to just about $4 million, and I do not believe this amount will have a truly significant impact on positively addressing our deplorable road conditions.  I caution all of us to keep our expectations low.

Be all of that as it may, like it or not, the five-year Property Tax Road Repair Plan and its 13-member countywide committee is here now and we must make the best of it – which my office pledges to do. Accordingly, I am appointing Lucretia Free, my Greater Vail representative, and Sergio Arellano, my Green Valley/Sahuarita representative, to be our District 4 representatives on the Transportation Advisory Committee.

If my initial pessimism regarding the success of the new Property Tax Road Repair Plan proves to be unfounded, I will happily say so. (Next issue: A Better Way to Fix Our Roads.)

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