Sun City Fire District officials want better funding formula | Arizona Public Safety Coalition

Sun City Fire District officials want better funding formula

by AZPSC News Feed

By Rusty Bradshaw
Independent Newsmedia

While the Sun City Fire District was able to replace old equipment and get a new fire station, operational funding will remain one of the biggest challenges for fire officials.

The new fire station, 13232 N. 111th Ave., Youngtown, and four new fire engines were added using monies gains from a Sun City voter-approved $10 million bond and savings realized from tighter operations. But officials will continue to struggle with funding for day-to-day operations due to restraints placed on fire district funding by statewide legislation.

Ron Deadman

“The district’s revenues have been significantly impacted by Arizona’s legislative statutes, the variability of the values of the properties within the district and the methods used to calculate the real and personal property tax valuations,” Ron Deadman, Sun City fire chief, stated in an email.

Arizona property receives two valuations — full cash value and limited property value. The Arizona Constitution requires the FCV of all property valued by the county assessor be reflective of market value, according to Mr. Deadman. Since the FCV fluctuates with the market, there is no limit on the amount it can increase each year, he explained. Through tax year 2014, growth in the LPV is limited to the greater of 10 percent over the previous year or 25 percent of the difference between the current year’s FCV and the previous year’s LPV, with the stipulation that LPV cannot exceed FCV. Beginning in tax year 2015, Proposition 117 mandated that a property’s LPV be the foundation for property tax valuations, Mr. Deadman stated.

“That really hampers us in our ability to deal with growth in the district,” Dave Scott, Sun City Fire District board president said during a November meeting. “Our demand for services keep going up, but our revenue is capped so we can’t keep up.”

Legislation passed in Arizona that impacts fire district revenue includes Senate Bill 1421, passed in 2009, that limits the increase in the tax levy for fire districts to be no more than 8 percent over the prior year’s actual levy; Arizona Revised Statute 48-807, which caps the maximum tax rate per $100 of assessed property tax value at $3.25; House Bill 2001, passed in 2011, which reduced assessed valuation of class one commercial and centrally valued properties from 25 percent in 2006 to 18 percent by 2016, and reduced class two vacant land values by 1 percent per year through 2016; and Proposition 117.

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