Maricopa County property tax falling, employee pay rising thanks to vote

PHOENIX - Property taxes will be going down and pay for county employees will rise in Maricopa County thanks to a unanimous vote by the board of supervisors.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors endorsed Monday a $2.2 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which is $82.4 million lower than current spending, according to a press release.

The approved budget should result in a modest property tax decrease for Valley homeowners and a merit-based salary increase for county employees, who have gone without permanent increases for five years, according to a report.

"This is a good budget, a conservative budget," said board chairman Andy Kunasek.

He added that the pay increases will address salary concerns among law enforcement and justice professionals, areas where county employees have been leaving in favor of other public and private agencies.

To accomplish these changes, budget staff had to "trim spending, eliminate operating contingencies, increase turnover savings and implement various cuts throughout the county," said budget director Sandi Wilson.

On a median-valued house assessed at 102,000, officials said the property tax bill would be $149.31. That's 13.63 lower than in last year's budget, according to a county report.

Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, the lone Democrat on the board, strongly supported the salary increases for the county employees.

"It is a false savings to pay people less than they are worth," she said. "We are losing the best people. That will stop today."

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