In a party-line vote, the Pima County Board of Supervisors passed a nearly $1.4 billion fiscal 2009 budget Tuesday, June 17.

Supervisors Ray Carroll and Ann Day, the board’s two Republicans, voted against the spending plan.

“One of the reasons it’s hard for me to vote on this budget is because of the process we go through,” said Day, who represents District 1, which includes Oro Valley and the portion of Marana east of Interstate 10.

Day said the debates about property tax rates leading up to the budget vote had not been conducted openly.

“We should have these discussions openly and publicly in expanded budget hearings or study sessions,” Day said.

She and Carroll previously had expressed concerns that county department managers were not on hand at previous meetings to answer budget-related questions.

Day and Carroll last month proposed an alternative to County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry’s suggested budget.

Day also wanted, moving forward, a citizen’s budget oversight committee to advise county leaders on fiscal issues.

The Republican supervisors wanted to lower primary property tax rates and cut operating costs more than Huckelberry originally proposed.

The adopted budget includes at least a $7 million decrease in operational expenses, or about 5 percent per county department.

Huckelberry first proposed a 2.5 percent decrease in operating costs, but Carroll and Day insisted on deeper cuts.  

Under the adopted budget, primary property taxes stand at $3.3913 per $100 assessed value. The total secondary rate, which includes library, debt service and flood control district taxes, came down to $1.2378.

Taken together, the combined property tax rate is $4.6291.

Led by Supervisor Richard Elias, the Democrats on the board added $244,468 in grants for outside agencies.

Fiscal 2009 funding of agencies like the Community Food Bank, Catholic Community Services, Planned Parenthood, The Primavera Foundation and scores of others, will total $9.7 million.

The additional money for the nonprofits will come from the county’s cash reserves.

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