You will be pleased to note that the tax rate has dropped by five percent, or .20 cents to $3.79 per $100.00 of assessed valuation. Tax relief is always good to help our middle class working families and all Pinal County taxpayers.
One of the big questions we have been facing over the past two years was the potential impact of a state prisoner shift. This would have taken state inmates with a year or less on their sentence and placed them in county facilities. This legislation, if put into effect, would have cost Pinal County taxpayer over $3 million a year.
I am pleased to tell you that through our efforts of explaining the massive cost of this legislation to legislative leaders and Governor Jan Brewer, the prisoner shift was rescinded. I give a sincere thank you to our state leaders for their help to stop this bad piece of legislation.
In the past four years, this county has been in the situation of many counties across the nation—we have been forced to do more with less. We have had to cut back on some services for the residents and we have had to let go of some workers while existing employees pick up their duties.
I feel it is time to reward many of these employees who have made sacrifices over the past four years with a small pay increase. I will be proposing to my fellow supervisors, in the next board meeting, to grant a two and half percent increase to any employee making $75,000 a year or less. Since our budget numbers are looking better than we had expected, Pinal County has the capacity to give these deserving employees a pay increase without any increase to our budget. Last month I proposed a one percent pay increase which was effectively derailed by Clerk of the Court Chad Roche and others for a more expensive merit-based system.
I would like to wish all of you a very happy and healthy Fourth of July holiday.