BULLHEAD CITY — Mohave County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Hildy Angius provided an update on property taxes in Mohave County.
Angius, whose district on the board of supervisors includes Bullhead City, made a presentation at Wednesday’s meeting of the Colorado River Republican Women’s club.
“We do the budget. We collect the property taxes and those taxes go up to the county and then it’s disseminated into all the services the county does,” said Angius.
Angius said that the county has a surplus of $6 million.
“Every year, we are ahead of projections but this year is the first time that we are way ahead of projections,” said Angius. “This is my seventh budget but this is the first time that I’m in this situation.”
Because of the $6 million surplus, the county decided to drop the property tax rate; in previous years, the county has had to move money to balance the budget.
“One of those places was the TV district,” said Angius. “Seven or eight years ago, when I was running (for office), it was something that Steve Moss and I ran against. We didn’t believe that it was the government’s job to provide a television station. It didn’t have the support because what I found over the years is that a lot of people use it.”
Since the county took money from the TV district, it is now below what is needed to run it so the county is going to raise that tax by 2 cents, Angius said.
“The good news is that Mohave County has a sales tax of a quarter-cent and that sales tax was put in place in 1999 and that sales tax was solely for building and capital improvements,” said Angius. “That quarter-cent sales tax over 20 years has built the jail, our county administration office, the public works building, development services building, it has done everything that it was supposed to do,
“This tax sunsets at the end of this year so you’ll be paying a quarter of a cent less in tax to the county.”
Assessed values have gone up about 5%, Angius reported.
Angius said that with the surplus, the county is funding the sheriff’s office for a variety of things.
“About $550,000 is included in the budget for compression adjustments, $360,000 for jail operations, $64,000 for animal control, $10,000 for re-classification, $520,000 proposed for six new sworn positions and about $113,000 for protective gear and equipment,” she said.
Angius said that the county employees are to receive a raise.
The parks in Mohave County are in enterprise funds, which means that they are self-supporting, Angius said.
“When people go to our parks, the money that is paid to go in helps maintain them,” said Angius. “We have done some much-needed improvements over at Davis Camp. We are cleaning it out.”
Angius said that the administration suggested that $1 million of the $6 million should be put in the contingency fund.
“Right now, we have $2 million in the contingency fund so putting an extra $1 million is a good thing,” she said. “Then take the rest of the $5 million and put it in the building fund, so we decided that this was the year that we needed to build an animal shelter in Mohave County.
“My dream is that we build this animal shelter in a location where maybe the cities would like to join in and have a big animal shelter that people could come and be proud of. We could fundraise there and maybe the Humane Society can handle it.”
Angius also talked about the area’s burro population.
“I went up to Reno (Nevada) and went to a free-roaming equids conference, which is what they are calling burros now,” said Angius. “At this meeting, there were groups that ordinarily didn’t get along and the message was clear: It is at a crisis level. For the first time, I was told, the words compassionate euthanasia and unrestricted sales were allowed to be talked about.”
Angius said that in the Black Mountain Management Area, a 2017 Bureau of Land Management study suggested a sustainable burro population of around 472 animals. The population today is estimated to be more than 2,500.
“The BLM has started a program to where people can adopt a burro,” said Angius. “Apparently, if you adopt one you get $500 upfront and then another $500 after six months. For me, as a conservative, we are spending millions of dollars taking care of these animals. We can be making money, there is a market for both wild horse and burro meat because it is a delicacy in other countries.”
Angius said that an all-women 16-bed drug treatment center in Bullhead City is being built.
“I’m so proud,” said Angius. “Westcare is going to be running it and it’s going to take all instances. There’s another drug treatment, a smaller one, called Marina Point, run by Southwest Behavioral and that’s where the men are going to be. The ribbon-cutting for the drug treatment center is probably going to be at the end of October or November.”
Angius said that the county is working with the city for everyone to be counted through the census.
“There’s just so much going on and I expect our budget to look even better next year but we are still going be cautious this year,” said Angius.