Yavapai County Proposes Property Tax Increase To Ease Crowded Jail, Pension Debt

By Chloe Jones
Published: Thursday, August 1, 2019 - 4:51pm
Updated: Friday, August 2, 2019 - 9:33am
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With a crowded jail and creeping pension debt, Yavapai County’s Board of Supervisors is proposing a 3% property tax increase to alleviate financial stress. 

The county has worked to divert potential inmates from jail by addressing mental health concerns. That’s according to Phil Bourdon, county administrator. He said if it weren’t for the sheriff’s department’s efforts, the county jail would have been at capacity years ago. The tax increase would help fund a new criminal justice center in Prescott, about an hour from the current facility in Camp Verde.

“The long-term solution of having an appropriate facility on the Prescott side will reduce transportation costs, as well as provide for a safer environment, for people not being transported hours, daily, having their proceedings occur in that facility and not being transported to the court outside the facility," Bourdon said. 

Bourdon says the tax increase would also help pay off the county’s unfunded liability for public safety pensions, which amounts to about $50 million. 

“I don't want to, you know, look back many years in the future and see that it's gotten worse, I want to make sure that that that fiscal balance of that of that pension plan is in a well-suited place," Bourdon said. "I want to make sure it's financially stable.”

Bourdon says the increase would add about $30 annually in property tax for a $100,000 house. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the tax increase Monday.