The Town of Chino Valley has several initiatives it will be focusing on in 2019, and in today’s column, I’ll share one that I believe to be critical to economic development, property values and public safety. When I was elected as mayor more than two years ago, I participated in open community outreach sessions with Town Manager Cecilia Grittman. When we talked with our citizens about their concerns for our community, one of the main items that continued to come up was the condition of the town’s roads.
The Town of Chino Valley receives approximately $1 million a year from Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF) from the state. These funds come primarily from gas taxes. They have decreased through the years as the state struggles to fund the Arizona Department of Public Safety and its unfunded pension liability. Once the town pays for materials for the roads, equipment upkeep and road department salaries, we have approximately $400,000 left to put in our chip-seal program.
Chino Valley has about 153 miles of roads; with $400,000 a year for chip sealing, we are only able to maintain about 3.5 miles a year. This calculates to almost 50 years for the town to complete a rotation on all roads within our corporate boundaries. A solid road maintenance program should have a chip seal rotation closer to seven years.
The town’s Roads and Streets Committee, comprised of two Chino Valley Town Council members and five citizens who have road maintenance experience, has assisted in creating a road maintenance program that meets the seven-year rotation. Funding for this type of program then became the challenge. To fund a road maintenance program that treats every road at least once every seven years equates to $1.9 million a year. If we account for the HURF funding received, we are approximately $1.5 million short annually to successfully maintain our roads.
After exploring different funding mechanisms: sales tax increase, bonds, etc., the committee felt the best mechanism is a property tax. Chino Valley incorporated in 1970 and has never had a property tax. We will be asking the voters to approve a property tax that would levy $1.5 million a year to fund a Road Maintenance Program. The money would be restricted and accounted for in a separate fund, which will be audited annually by independent auditors to ensure all funds are used for the program. We will also sunset the tax in 20 years, allowing voters to monitor progress and see that the money is invested as approved.
What does this mean to our taxpayers? To calculate what this means to you as a taxpayer, take the assessed value of your home (which is about 50 percent of the market value) and multiply it by 10 percent. That figure is the net assessed value. If you take the net assessed value. Multiply it by 1.97 percent, you will get the annual tax. The average amount for a $200,000 home would be $197 a year; less than a dollar a day. Commercial properties use the same formula, except the assessment is 18 percent, not 10 percent.
The Town Council and I feel this is a responsible and reasonable way to fund our roads, and hope you support it. The mail-in election will be held in May. I am available to answer additional questions or speak to any neighborhood group or association. Please contact our Town Hall at 928-636-2646.
Again, I wish you a happy and healthy 2019. QCBN
By Darryl Croft
Darryl Croft is the mayor of Chino Valley.