FILE - Maricopa County Superior Court building in Phoenix

Maricopa County Superior Court building in Phoenix

(The Center Square) – On Monday, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved a $3.4 billion budget for the 2022 fiscal year beginning July 1, cutting property tax rates and increasing public health and homelessness prevention funding. 

The $3,419,735,244 budget marks a $898,479 decrease from the board’s Tentative Budget. 

The board also moved to adopt its five-year capital improvement plan for Fiscal Years 2022-2026.

“I do think it is significant that we lowered the [property tax] rate, showing that we are very conscious of trying to ensure that we were staying as efficient as possible in Maricopa County,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers, District 1, said following the board’s unanimous vote. 

In a statement, Maricopa County said the budget addresses needs which resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Board of Supervisors will appropriate $439 million of federal funding from the American Rescue Act passed by Congress for continued pandemic recovery in the county. 

The budget funds 30 new positions for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, provides $5 million in additional funding to prevent homelessness and continues funding rental and utility assistance programs to prevent evictions. It adds staff and resources to the Office of the Medical Examiner due to the increase of deaths in the past year and funds a new command center for the Emergency Management Department, which the county said was instrumental in pandemic response efforts. 

The Board of Supervisors will also invest $76 million to improve the county’s technology infrastructure to meet Maricopa County’s goal of becoming an all-digital county. 

“For the past year, we have dealt with one crisis after another. Responding quickly and efficiently to the public health emergency has been a priority, but now’s the time to look to the future,” Sellers said. “What we do today will determine whether we retain a high quality of life for future generations.” 

Sellers said that the budget returns Arizonans to their jobs, strengthens the safety net for the vulnerable, and invests in the necessary infrastructure for the continued prosperity of Arizona’s fastest-growing county. 

“The pandemic taught us how tenuous health and financial security are for too many in our community, and so we invested in those areas,” Vice Chairman Bill Gates, District 3, said.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will meet on August 16 to vote on the final tax levy proposal. 

Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5, praised the county’s work in the last year.

“They’ve made sure COVID-19 resources, information, and vaccines are available to everyone in our community and supported people who have lost jobs or businesses or homes due to the pandemic,” Gallardo said. “With additional funding for Public Health and a brand-new Homeless Initiative, I have no doubt we will make a huge, positive difference in the lives of our residents in the coming year.”