The Pinal County Board of Supervisors this week set property tax rates for all districts and governmental entities in the county, although most of them were known in advance when budgets were set. Looking at them together, however, provides some good news.
The county’s total primary assessed valuation rose by a healthy $166 million, which contributed to the fact that many of the tax rates declined. The higher valuation certainly is a reflection of growth and also rising property values, after a serious downturn a decade ago.
Pinal County’s part of the total taxes, which accounts for only about a fourth of them, dropped another four cents per $100 net assessed valuation. The rates for some cities in western and central Pinal also declined, as did many of the school rates. Central Arizona College’s rate went down another 15 cents, following a trend since the rate was increased a few years ago.
Casa Grande’s rate went down 25 cents overall after the repayment of some bonds, and the city is still able to pay some of what it owes for public safety retirement. That is a big issue in Arizona and won’t be solved anytime soon, but Casa Grande’s effort is laudable.
Of course, rising valuations tend to push tax bills up, but the fact that officials at many of the various entities are able to cut rates instead of just keeping them the same or raising them helps taxpayers.
Looking ahead to future years, major commercial and residential development happening now or on the near horizon means a major growth in the tax base, especially in certain parts of the county. With that comes new costs, although impact fees help to cover at least the initial burden. Growth is challenging to manage, but Pinal and its various entities have done a pretty good job of that in the past. On the whole, a growing tax base is better than one that is declining.