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Pinal County's new budget freezes spending
County Supervisors are negotiating a new budget, but funds are tight and
spending for some departments will be frozen to make ends meet.
Pinal County’s spending plan for the next fiscal year starting in June is expected to reach $400 million -- that’s a slight increase over the last budget.
Revenues are not keeping up with demand for services, so cost cutting measures are on the way.
Pinal County Supervisor Pete Rios said the first move is to ask the sheriff’s department, assessor and other offices to return unused money from past budget years.
“We are going to sweep some of those funds. Will that be a political fight? You bet because nobody wants to give up that they have sitting there because they all are going to argue that they are holding on to them for some particular purpose. But, yet those funds have been sitting there for years," Rios said.
Despite the cuts, Rios said Pinal County employees still might receive a 2.5 percent merit raise in the next fiscal year. Supervisors also are vowing not to increase the property tax, Rios said.
Pinal’s property tax is currently the second-highest among all 15 Arizona counties.