To the Residents of Yavapai County and Chair, Vice-Chair, and Members of the Board of Supervisors:
I am pleased to present the Board of Supervisors with a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23. The Adopted Budget is comprised of $362,742,440 in expenditures. This includes $6,311,305 in Debt Service, $221,421,381 in Special Revenue, and General Fund expenditures of $135,009,755. General Fund total financial resources available is $166,575,593.
As the County entered the budget process, several principal issues faced were:
• Employee compensation and retention
• Commissioning and staffing of the new Criminal Justice Center in Prescott
• COVID-19 relief funding monitoring & reporting
• Replacement of the County’s existing Enterprise Resource Planning system
• Jail District Sales Tax increase from ¼ cent to ½ cent
The Board of Supervisors addressed many of these issues during budget adoption.
In an effort to address compensation and retention, the Board of Supervisors adopted a process for determining an annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to keep up with inflation. Every January the Budget Manager will provide the Board of Supervisors with the recommended COLA using an average of the last ten (10) year’s Western Region Consumer Price Index (CPI). Prior to adoption of the FY 2022-23 budget, the County also concluded a classification and compensation study and included the recommended salary adjustments in the budget.
The County received $46.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA, “the Act”) funding as well as various other pandemic related funding sources (CARES Act, Emergency Rental Assistance Program, etc.). The County allocated the ARPA funding for Broadband, Water & Sewer Projects, pandemic related Health Department programs, and internal county projects allowed under the funding. The primary issue discussed this fiscal year was the need to provide sufficient monitoring and reporting as required by the Act. Yavapai County selected Ernst & Young, a major accounting firm, to provide contracted monitoring and reporting services. Additionally, the Board approved an additional financial accountant in our Finance Department.
The budget includes the funding to replace the existing Enterprise Resource Planning system that is the backbone of our Finance and Human Resources system. The existing system will no longer be supported in the coming year and needs to be replaced. The County is currently out with a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a vendor.
Although the Board of Supervisors did not act during the budget development process regarding increasing the Jail District sales tax to ½ cent, they have asked for staff to review the possibility of asking the voters to approve the increase during FY 2022-23.
In the previous year’s budget (FY 2021-22), the issues faced by the County included the ongoing construction of the new Criminal Justice Center in Prescott, and the change in allocation methods for the costs of vehicles from the Fleet budget to individual department budgets to better align the actual costs of a department’s operation. Both were addressed during that year’s budget process.
The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors is mindful of maintaining services to the public and keeping taxes and fees as low as possible. In that effort there was no increase in property taxes, and only discussion on how we can improve services to Yavapai County residents.
The County’s financial health is very good. County programs such as Public Works, Health Department and Clinic, Courts and Law Enforcement are providing efficient services while controlling costs and using special revenue and grants were available. Additionally, the County has been able to annually add funding to our reserve fund, now at $30 million, or about 22% of our General Fund Budget.
In closing, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors identified the principal issues facing the County early in the budget development process and was able to address each issue. The most important issue was the employee compensation and retention issue which the Board of Supervisors made a priority with their available funding. We are committed to continue our work on a financially stable county budget while providing services in the most efficient manner.
Phil Bourdon, County Administrator