The Mesa City Council on Wednesday approved a multimillion dollar amount and the rate to be levied on the November 2008 voter-approved secondary property tax. For fiscal year 2009-10, Mesa plans to raise $14.1 million. The money collected would go toward paying for police and fire capital projects as well as street improvement projects.
For every $100,000 in assessed property valuation, Mesa property owners can expect to pay $29.77. This rate also includes 2 1/2 cents, which would help pay for cost of operations of Fire Station 219. Construction for that station near Elliot and Signal Butte roads is scheduled to begin in September.
Property owners can expect to see the new taxes reflected in their October and March bills from the Maricopa County Treasurer's office.
This is the first property tax Mesa residents will pay in more than six decades. In November, voters authorized the city to trigger a secondary property tax totaling $169 million.
Meanwhile, any future authorizations voters approve in any subsequent elections could involve a lower rate paid by commercial property owners. Although that item was part of the budget package Gov. Jan Brewer recently vetoed, it's expected to find its way back into consideration.
Mesa's intergovernmental relations director Scott Butler told the Tribune earlier Wednesday that such a step, if approved by the legislature, could increase the amount homeowners would pay.
In the state budget Brewer vetoed, the agreement reached was that the new commercial rate assessed would go down to 16 percent in three years from the current rate of 22, but that it wouldn't impact current authorizations. That includes the secondary property tax Mesa voters authorized in November.
Butler said Mesa supports the move to lower the assessment ratio for commercial properties. The business community believes they shoulder an undue burden on property tax assessments, he explained.
At present, businesses are charged a 22 percent tax assessment ratio, versus 10 percent on homeowners. By current law, the business assessment ratio is scheduled to go down 1 percent over the next two years. But with the latest scheduled change, it would go down from 20 to 16 percent by the third year.
"We're okay with this, because we feel we'd be able to attract more businesses to Mesa," said Butler.
But at the same time, Butler acknowledged that there would be an impact with that lowered assessment on Mesa homeowners in future.
"This is a good compromise in that it meets their goal of lessening the amount, but at the same time it allows cities to keep their commitment to their residents on current authorizations," Butler said.