By Patrick McNamara for Arizona Daily Star
A tentative budget Pima County supervisors approved on Tuesday includes a 20-cent increase to the county’s total property tax rate.
Despite the tax increase, the tentative budget of more than $1.2B is $22.4M less than the county is spending this year, largely as a result of reduced spending on construction.
Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the proposed tax hike would be conditional, saying the increases are needed to pay for added costs the state Legislature pushed onto counties in adopting the budget the state passed on March 7.
The county plans to mount a legal challenge against the state to fight the new costs, which county officials estimate could reach more than $23M. If that move is successful, Huckelberry said, the county would lower the rate residents pay.
As part of the tentative budget approval, supervisors voted to increase the library district secondary 8 cents, from 43.5 cents to 51.5 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The county had considered closing or limiting hours of operation at eight libraries over budgetary concerns.
But Huckelberry said any closure plans are off the table for the time being, as are plans to close some libraries on Sundays.
He said library staff would still conduct usage and volume studies to determine whether future efficiencies could be found in the library system.
Huckelberry said the county would then use the findings to present any proposed changes in library operations.
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