PHOENIX — In the final hours of fiscal 2022 Thursday, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors were set to make some last-minute department adjustments to the budget for that year.
Fortunately for supervisors, they already approved the county’s fiscal 2023 budget. That budget year, for Arizona municipal governments, starts today, July 1.
The board unanimously approved a $4.46 billion fiscal 2023 budget on June 20. That’s technically an increase of about 31.5% from the county’s $3.42 billion budget, though there are several complicated federal COVID-19 relief funding adjustments made in both budget years. That federal aid includes American Rescue Plan funding.
Board chair and District 3 Supervisor Bill Gates pointed out inflation affects fuel prices and many more of the expenses budgeted for in fiscal 2023.
“This inflation is something we haven’t dealt with in 40 years,” Gates said. “I’m a Republican and a fiscal conservative. I think this budget takes care of a lot of people. I think this budget is what being a Republican is all about.”
The board also adopted a five-year capital improvement plan for fiscal years 2023 through 2027.
Many departments have a line item marked “coronavirus fiscal recovery,” that doesn’t appear on the 2022 adopted budget, but does appear in 2023. With human services, for example, that’s $109 million that is only on the 2023 budget.
At the June 20 meeting, board members had praise for various programs where budgets were discussed or mentioned.
“Of all the programs we fund, one of those I’m most happy to vote for is Head Start,” said District 5 Supervisor Steve Gallardo, whose district includes much of the southwest Valley.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office frequently receives a large portion of the county’s general fund, as deputy and leadership salaries account for one of the county’s biggest annual expenses.
The Sheriff Office’s adopted budget for fiscal 2023 is about $760 million. Detention operations account for $264 million of next year’s MCSO budget.
MCSO had about $688 million in appropriations in the adopted fiscal 2022 budget approved a year ago. However, between spikes in fuel and other costs, the board’s revisions, requested mostly this spring by MCSO, drove the budget to $744 million — an increase of about 8% over the course of the fiscal year.
Other increases include elections spending, which is going from about $31 million in fiscal 2021 (the last full election year) to about $42 million for Fiscal 2023. One of the big increases within those expenses is “pre-general election cycle spending,” which climbed from $17 million to more than $23 million.
Operating expenses for elections are jumping from about $10 million to $12 million across those two cycles.
There are some minor property tax decreases for Maricopa County residents as a result of both the budget and continuing spikes in property valuations.
In addition to minor fiscal 2022 departmental adjustments that were addressed at Thursday’s meeting, the board also selected one of two finalist boundary maps for the county’s five districts. The details of the map they selected will be covered in a separate Daily Independent story.
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