Recently a friend and I were chatting and comparing our Pima County property tax bills.

“How much of this money goes to the Town of Oro Valley?,” she asked me

“Not a dime!,” I replied.

“Really?,” she exclaimed, doing a double-take at her itemized list of property taxes. “I had no idea! You need to write an article and tell people about this!”

While this isn’t new information, the fact the Town of Oro Valley receives no funds from the Pima County tax bill we pay as residents is still surprising to many citizens.

When reviewing our yearly property tax bills, we typically focus on the jurisdictions listed, determine if we value the services received, and how much we pay for each service. We don’t always notice the Town of Oro Valley is “missing” from that list.

It’s easy to assume that because the Town doesn’t have its own line item, funding must come from another government entity, such as Pima County. This is not the case. The Town of Oro Valley does not levy a property tax, nor does it receive any property tax revenue from other organizations. In years past, the Town received a small portion of  county tax dollars annually to offset the operating costs of  the library, but that will end January 1, 2013.

My friend and I talked about the two primary sources of revenue the Town receives: state-shared revenues and local sales tax, which include construction sales tax, and utility tax. Since the largest percentage of funding comes from local sales tax, it is critical that our residents and community members understand the decision to shop locally directly contributes to the services and infrastructure the Town provides for us. For this reason, the Mayor and Council have made considerable efforts over the last few years to engage the local business community, and authorize unique programs such as “Shop OV” and “OV Dollars” to encourage spending here. The success of our community is inextricably linked to the success of our local businesses. It is important that our residents and our businesses have a supportive and collaborative relationship. 

In addition, Oro Valley works hard to draw visitors to our community. Tourism plays a large role in attracting sales tax and bed tax revenues. We value our visitors, and want to encourage their spending within Oro Valley whenever possible. 

So the next time a friend or neighbor is talking about where their property tax money goes, ask if they’ve noticed that Oro Valley is missing from their Pima County property tax notification. Then please remind them that because we are so dependent upon sales tax revenue, it is important that we all shop locally whenever possible. When that occurs, we all win. 

(Editor’s Note: Mary Snider is a member of the Oro Valley Town Council.)

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