$213.1 million budget poised for approval in Queen Creek

Town council to hold public hearings at June 7 meeting

Two public hearings are scheduled on the June 7 meeting agenda for the Queen Creek Town Council. Both are money-related.

Public hearings regarding the planned adoption of the town’s $213.1 million budget for fiscal 2017-18 and the legally required public hearing on the budget and proposed property tax levy are scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, at Queen Creek Town Hall, 22350 S. Ellsworth Road.

Town council meetings are generally held starting at 5:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at the town hall. Public hearings are not held before 7 p.m.

Persons wanting more information may attend the public hearing or contact the town of Queen Creek Budget Division at 480-358-3184.

For more information about the town’s budget, visit queencreek.org.

The first public hearing regards the possible action on the increase in the primary property tax levy dedicated for public safety purposes. This same action would also set the property tax levy assessment date for June 21, 2017, as required by Truth in Taxation regulations.

The action deals only with the primary property taxes, which are designated for public safety, including fire, law enforcement and emergency medical services, according to the town’s website.

Funds raised by the property tax help pay for the Queen Creek’s three fire stations and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office contract for law enforcement in the community.

The current property tax rate covers approximately 40 percent of public safety-related expenses.

Excluding special taxing districts, property owners in the town of Queen Creek pay approximately 15 cents for every dollar in property taxes to the town.

The remaining 85 cents goes to public schools, community colleges and Maricopa or Pinal county.

In 2007, the residents of Queen Creek voted to approve a “limited” property tax not to exceed $1.95 per $100 of assessed property value to pay for public safety.

Primary – or “limited” – property taxes pay for government operations; secondary – or “unlimited” – property taxes pay for voter-approved bonds that fund construction of public facilities and infrastructure, according to the town website.

If the Queen Creek Town Council elects to keep the property tax rate the same at $1.95 per $100 of assessed home value, the town is expected to raise an additional $810,000 in primary property taxes in the next fiscal year.

The increase in county-appraised home values accounts for $430,000 of the potential increase; and new construction accounts for the remaining $380,000, according to the town website.

If the property tax rate remains at $1.95 per $100 of assessed value (unchanged from past years), as homes are assessed at a higher value, residents can expect to pay additional property taxes, according to the town website.

During the recession, the town experienced a one-third decline in property tax revenue.

Unlike many communities and tax districts who had a “floating” tax rate, the town’s property tax revenue declined considerably because Queen Creek has a fixed property tax rate of $1.95 per $100 of value.

At the peak of the community’s growth — 2009-10 — the town generated $5.6 million in primary property tax revenue. The 2017-18 budget marks the first year since the recession that the town would exceed the prior peak.

If the property tax rate of $1.95 remains unchanged, the town expects to generate $6.2 million of primary property tax revenue for 2017-18; the appreciation in real estate values (exclusive of new construction) will generate $430,000 more property tax, triggering the state’s Truth in Taxation requirements, according to the town website.

The second public hearing deals with the town’s 2017-18 budget totaling $213.1 million.

The town council approved the tentative budget as its May 17 meeting. If approved on June 7, the budget will be effective July 1, the start of the town’s fiscal year.

The town manager’s recommended budget is 16 percent — or $29 million — greater than fiscal year 2016-17.

The increase is attributed mostly to new roads, water and wastewater projects, according to the town’s website: http://www.queencreek.org/departments/finance/budget.

The recommended budget also includes:

  • $25 million of projects from the $185 million 10-year transportation project list,
  • $25 million for the construction of a new park,
  • $6.5 million “place-holder” for pay-as-you-go/new debt issue for new infrastructure for transportation and utilities,
  • staffing for one year of the new Fire Station No. 3 which is under construction,
  • salaries for 10.05 new full-time employee, and
  • $100,000 to repair and replace aging infrastructure at Horseshoe Park Equestrian Centre.

In other council matters, the June 7 agenda includes:

  • Public hearings consent agenda items regarding applications for acquisition of control on behalf of MOD Super Fast Pizza LLC, 21295 S. Ellsworth Loop Road No. 101, License No. 1207A623; and a Series 12 restaurant liquor license application for Sauce Pizza and Wine, 20491 E. Rittenhouse Road Suite No. 101, License No. 1207B019. The council is slated to make a recommendation for approval or denial to be forwarded to the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control.
  • Closed-door executive session items to consider the town’s position and instruct its representatives regarding the possible acquisition of Barney Sports Complex and the sale or lease of 4 acres of real estate at the northwest corner of Maya and Ellsworth roads.

To keep up-to-date on town events and activities, follow Facebook.com/QueenCreek and Twitter.com/TOQC_official.

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