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In the January 22, 2010 CSA Update:

 

 


Executive Budget: Proposed Cost Shifts Threaten County Operations

Throughout the recession, county governments have made tough decisions to cut their budgets and keep spending in line with falling revenues.  The local situation has been made worse because counties have been forced to shoulder an estimated $119 million in state cost shifts over the past twenty months.  Emerging state budget options pose additional threats to county fiscal sustainability.    
 
A week ago, the Executive released a plan to address fiscal deficits in the current year and FY11 state budgets.  The plan contains millions of dollars of direct impact to county general funds.  Among other things, the plan: 
  • requires counties to pay 100% of the costs of housing sexually violent prisoners in the Arizona Community Protection and Treatment Center,
  • eliminates $4.8 million distributed to six counties in Prop 204 AHCCCS Hold Harmless funds, designed to offset the cost of 2000's Prop 204 (which expanded Medicare), and
  • eliminates funding for counties and local transportation from the Arizona Lottery.
State law caps all major county revenue sources.  Cost shifts designed to improve the state’s balance sheet necessarily forces even deeper cuts in other areas of county government.

 
The Legislature is expected to release a set of budget options in the coming weeks.
 
To view CSA's analysis of county impacts in the proposed Executive Budget, click here. 
 

ADWR Responds to Budget Cuts with Self-Funding Plan

 

The Arizona Department of Water Resources has developed a plan to generate funding in the agency, hoping to resource critical functions at no cost to the state General Fund.  ADWR’s Deputy Director Karen Smith discussed the plan and the state’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Water Sustainability at CSA’s January Board of Directors meeting.

 

Deputy Director Smith arrived at the meeting right after attending a hearing of the House Water and Energy Committee, which approved the agency’s continuation for 10 years in a unanimous vote. The agency’s budget has been reduced by $7 million dollars over the last three years, requiring the department to eliminate statewide water planning, rural water surveys, and the automated groundwater monitoring divisions, as well as over 30% of its staff.

 

Future budget reductions would threaten the agency’s core mission of securing long-term, dependable water supplies for Arizona communities. In order to provide some budget stability, the Department has drafted a plan to generate fee revenue from a number of services. The Department would charge fees for dam safety inspections, water rights adjudication services, and groundwater withdrawal. The plan has been released for public comment and the Department is working on developing more details. The Governor’s budget proposal includes moving the Department to self-funding.

 

Ms. Smith also updated the Board on the progress of the Department’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Water Sustainability. Pinal County Supervisor David Snider serves on the commission, which is chaired by ADWR Director Herb Guenther, Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes, and Benjamin Grumbles, Director of ADEQ. The goal of the commission is to increase the rate that Arizona recycles water to 40% by 2030. For more details on the commission, click here.

 

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County Planning and Zoning Bill Clears Committee
 
HB 2145: county planning and zoning, was heard in House Government Committee this week and passed out of committee by a vote of 8-0–1.  The measure clarifies that county planning and zoning commissions are not required to meet if there is not new business to conduct.  Currently, the statute requires commissions to meet every month and the requirement is a possible drain on county resources if commissions meet simply to immediately adjourn. 
 
Also, the measure provides some fiscal relief to counties by suspending for five years the requirement that counties update their comprehensive plans.  Comprehensive plans are the county’s long-term vision for growth and development. 
 
The measure is ready to be considered by the House Rules Committee and Caucus before it’s considered in the Committee of the Whole.
 

Last Day to Register with NACo Conference at Early Bird Rate

 

ImageLast chance to register for the Legislative Conference to receive a $75 early registration discount.  Register by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 22, to receive the discount; after that, you can register online to receive a $25 discount.  Visit www.naco.org for more information.

 

CSA is hosting a joint breakfast with AACo for all Arizona county delegates to meet with U.S. Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl.  This event will be held on Monday, March 8, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the conference hotel, the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Balcony A (Mezzanine Level).  CSA will provide information directly soon.

 

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This Week at the Legislature

 

The legislature was adjourned on Monday for Civil Rights Day. With the House’s seven-bill limit becoming effective last Friday, the House first-read hundreds of measures, bringing the total of House bills to 600. The Senate has introduced 191 bills. The deadline to introduce Senate bills is February 1.

 

The Joint Appropriations Committee also heard a briefing from Governor Brewer’s budget director John Arnold on the Executive Budget Plan.

 

The legislature acted on the following county related bills this week: 
 

HB 2044: vicious animal assault; classification (Montenegro) was approved 6-0 in House Judiciary.

HB 2069: county election law amendments (Tobin) was approved 6-0 in House Judiciary.

HB 2081: department of water resources; continuation (Mason) was approved 8-0 in House Water and Energy.

HB 2083: drought emergency groundwater transfers (Mason) was approved 7-0 in House Water and Energy.

HB 2085: photo enforcement; citation issuance (Mason) was approved 5-3 in House Transportation and Energy.

HB 2109: superior court; holiday hours (Tobin) was approved 6-0 in House Judiciary.

HB 2209: public meetings; notices (Reagan) was approved as amended 8-0 in House Commerce.

HB 2213: photo enforcement; contracts; public agencies (Biggs) was approved 5-3 in House Transportation and Infrastructure.

HB 2247: property tax appeals to court (Biggs) was approved 7-0 in House Ways and Means.

HB 2303: health services districts; voter approval (Crump) was approved 4-3 in House Ways and Means.
HB 2507: property tax valuation; governmental actions (Murphy) was approved 6-0 in House Ways and Means.
 
SB 1018: photo enforcement procedures; justice courts (R. Pearce) was approved 6-0 in Senate Public Safety and Human Services.
SB 1031: elections; voter registration drives; overseas voters (R. Pearce) was approved as amended in Senate Government.
SB 1071: involuntary civil commitment; privileged communication (Paton) was approved 6-0 in Senate Public Safety and Human Services.
 
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Next Week at the Legislature

 

Click here to watch the committee hearings live, or click here to view archived video of committees. (Agendas are subject to change; visit the legislative calendar for updates on daily calendars.)

 
The legislature is scheduled to hear the following county-related bills next week:
 
HB 2445: mining transaction privilege tax; application (Pratt) will be heard in House Natural Resources and Rural Affairs on Monday, January 25 at 2:00 P.M. in House Room 4.
 
HB 2165: vehicle emissions testing; onboard diagnostics (Nichols) will be heard in House Environment Tuesday, January 26 at 2:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 5.

 

HB 2282: government transparency; political subdivisions (Montenegro) and

HB 2302: publication of notices; committee (Crump) and

HB 2340: government; grant of public monies (Antenori) and
HB 2423: municipal and county budgets (Tobin) will be heard in House Government on Tuesday, January 26 at 2:00 p.m. in House Room 4.
 
HB 2246: regulation of fireworks (Biggs) will be heard in House Commerce on Wednesday, January 27, at 9:00 a.m. in House Room 5.

 

HB 2063: solar energy; permit fees (Boone) will be heard on Thursday, January 28 in House Water and Energy at 9:00 a.m. in House Hearing Room 5.

 

HB 2384: immigration laws; local enforcement (Boone) and

HB 2435: repetitive offenders; probation; marijuana offenses (Driggs) will be heard in House Judiciary on Thursday, January 28 at 9:00 a.m. in House Room 4.
 
SB 1088: juveniles; discretionary transfer; adult court (L. Gray) and
SB 1153: state preemption; knives (C. Gray) will be heard in Senate Judiciary on Monday, January 25 at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 1.
 
SB 1125: public sale of animals (Melvin) will be heard in Senate Commerce and Economic Development on Tuesday, January 26 at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 1.
 
SB 1001: elected officials; print; visual media (R. Pearce) and
SB 1019: evidence based programs; requirements; reports (R. Pearce) and
SB 1117: county racing and agricultural funds (Verschoor) will be heard in Senate Appropriations on Tuesday, January 26 at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Room 109.
 
SB 1029: law enforcement officers; disciplinary actions (R. Pearce) and
SB 1165: DUI; license suspension (L. Gray) will be heard in Senate Public Safety and Human Services on Wednesday, January 27 at 9:00 a.m. in Senate Room 3.
 
SB 1139: special health care districts; procurement (Harper) will be heard in Senate Finance on Wednesday, January 27 at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 3.
 
SB 1100: county audits; public record exemption (R. Pearce) and
SB 1140: counties; board of adjustment (Tibshraeny) will be heard in Senate Government Institutions on Thursday, January 28, at 10:30 a.m. in Senate Hearing Room 1.
 

Calendar

 

Visit the CSA Calendar of Events at www.countysupervisors.org/calendar

 

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