Dan Cherry, Director
1100 Commerce Drive, Prescott, AZ 86305
To maintain, construct, and plan safe and adequate roadway transportation and public works systems
within the parameters of the County budget, while providing a high level of service to the public
and the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors.
The Public Works Department activities are funded by the General Fund in Emergency Management, Airports, and Solid Waste divisions, as well as via Local Road (Highway User Revenue Fund – HURF), Vehicle License Tax (VLT), and Regional Roads program (portion of the half-cent sales tax). Particularly in the last several years, despite the pandemic, the economy has been stable, which has resulted in a moderate, steady growth in HURF revenues. We are projecting limited growth in HURF for FY22-23 revenues as compared to FY21-22, which is a conservative approach. If the economy and revenues do not meet anticipated projections, which we monitor throughout the year, Public Works can make adjustments to project schedules, such as pavement preservation work planned for spring 2023, and ensure that work does not exceed available funding. Furthermore, if construction costs continue to rise as we have seen over the past year, we will adjust project schedules accordingly to make them fit the budget. With this proposal and revenue projections conservatively flat, Public Works anticipates a roughly $1 million fund balance at the end of FY22-23 in the HURF account, which will function as a contingency of sorts for the department. It also leaves some room for flexibility if the ongoing Yavapai County compensation study results in findings that will dramatically affect internal costs.
The Emergency Management, Airports, and Solid Waste Division budgets have been held to target values as identified during the budget process. As is often the case, the Airport portion of the budget has included several program changes above and beyond the target budget, primarily to position matching funds that we anticipate may come during the next fiscal year from either the federal or state government. Solid Waste has proposed several program changes for the Board to consider and help address the steady increase in public dependence on the County’s transfer stations and clean up events in the more rural parts of the County. These program changes are discussed in more detail in the sections to follow.
The Regional Roads budget, which is funded by a portion of the ½-cent sales tax, has been programmed to fall within the estimated available funding on an annual basis. Revenues for this program have been strong as recent changes to State tax law have brought in strong sales tax dollars, including online sales. This has helped Public Works to maintain some pace with the substantial cost increases we have been witnessing on our projects that have been publicly bid out. Unit costs on most everything is up in the range of 20% or higher over the last couple of years, and the ongoing labor shortage is not helping this cause. Public Works has had to revisit most all of its project cost estimates we have been using for planning purposes, and revenue windfalls have been spent on these increased project costs. We have even had to ask the Board of Supervisors to reject bids on multiple projects because bid costs are far exceeding budgeted funds on projects.
That said, I feel the Public Works Department is in a strong position for success, and the proposed FY 22-23 budget is positioning the Department to be able to spend its funds efficiently and to the long-term benefit of the County’s infrastructure.