On Wednesday, June 1, the Queen Creek Town Council approved keeping the primary property tax levy rate at $1.83. The levy is set by assessing a $1.83 rate for every $100 of a home’s assessed value. The $1.83 levy rate is consistent with that of the last two years.
The vote was four to two, with council members Leah Martineau and Emilena Turley voting no. Mayor Gail Barney did not attend the meeting.
The new budget is derived by combining revenues and fund balances. Revenues are expected to rise to $368.4 million next budget year compared to $300.4 million this year. The fund balance is $361.8 million for the upcoming year, compared to $186.8 million from this fiscal year.
Nearly 73% of the budget is for capital infrastructure investments, with $180.6 million for transportation improvements, an increase of $44.7 million.
The largest increase in spending is for parks and trails infrastructure. For the upcoming fiscal year, the town has budgeted $172.1 million for parks and trails infrastructure, up from $25.9 million this current fiscal year.
According to a staff report, the budget also includes funding to continue building the new Queen Creek Police Department and “continue our investments in new streets, water and wastewater infrastructure; continued funding for possible acquisition of water rights to meet our long-term water; and funding for construction of roads and utilities to accommodate potential development on the State Lands parcels.”
The budget also includes the creation of a council-approved ambulance service. The Queen Creek Town Council voted on April 5 to purchase ambulances, which are anticipated to be in service through the Fire and Medical Department by July 2023. Once fully operational, the ambulance service will generate $2.2 million annually and will cost $2.9 million to operate.
In terms of new employees, 64 new positions have been earmarked, they include 26 for ambulance transport, 15 for the police department and 23 other positions scattered across town departments.
The town’s operating budget is set at $93.4 million for the upcoming year, compared to $84.6 million this year. The operating budget excludes transfers out and reserves funding.
Operating budget revenue/sources are expected to generate $119.7 million for the upcoming year compared to $111.9 million this current year.
Driving revenues are population growth, the economy and new businesses. The town’s population is estimated to hit 79,000 next year. That increase will power new homebuilding, new businesses and sales taxes.
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