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Road Sales Tax on November Ballot

June 19
15:54 2014

Tax DollarsThe Coconino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday supported a plan to help address the County’s growing road funding deficit by placing a 3/10-cent sales tax on the November General Election ballot.

The funding, if approved by county voters, would provide approximately $7 million per year to invest in roadway maintenance and infrastructure throughout the County. The resolution approved by the Board calls for county voters to consider a 3/10-cent sales tax that would expire in 20 years.

The Board agrees that our transportation infrastructure is at a critical point. The County has done what it can to insulate our residents from service cuts, but this is no longer sustainable. Without additional funding, significant cuts to road maintenance and snow plowing is inevitable.” – Board Chairman Matt Ryan

In an effort to cut costs, the County scaled back snow plowing operations, has held vacant positions open and more services will be reduced in the future. The County can no longer sustain the current level of road maintenance using available revenues and projects a $100-million budget shortfall over 10 years.

The funding shortfall is the result of reduction in payments from the Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF), which is funded primarily through a gas tax that has remained flat for more than 20 years and isn’t adjusted for inflation. The County has also been impacted by a reduction in federal funding.

The reduction of state and federal funding, while local governments continue to recover from the 2008 Great Recession, means that the County no long has the funding to get the job done properly. We cannot maintain today’s county road system with revenues near 1998 levels. Without additional funding, road maintenance services must be reduced by approximately 40 percent.”– County Manager Cynthia Seelhammer

The decision to place a transportation tax question before county voters in November was made following more than two years of public meetings, input from stakeholders and through coordination with the City of Flagstaff.

The County maintains 930 miles of roadway, including 460 miles of county-owned roads in addition to 258 miles of U.S. Forest Service roads and 212 miles of U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs roadways on the Navajo Nation. USFS and BIA roads are maintained through partnership agreements between the County and both agencies.

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