A media blitz will hit airwaves, billboards and publications by August or September warning children across the state about the dangers of methamphetamine.
At least, that’s the vision of Maricopa County supervisors who included partial funding for the campaign in a tentative $2.1 billion budget approved Wednesday. The budget, which would take effect July 1, also includes provisions for a family and juvenile night court and an intervention program for seriously mentally ill patients.
District 2 County Supervisor Don Stapley, who serves Scottsdale, Mesa and portions of Gilbert, said the anti-meth campaign would be modeled after a Montana program and would dwarf an ongoing state campaign that warns children about tobacco.
“We’re having a meth crisis of huge proportions in this county, and in Arizona, and across the nation,” Stapley said. “This campaign will lead to a decreased use of meth.”
The proposed budget is about 2 percent larger than the fiscal 2005-06 budget despite rapid growth that has made Maricopa County the third largest in the nation behind Los Angeles County, Cook County, Ill., and Harris County, Texas. Property taxes would decline slightly under the proposal due to increased revenue from new construction.
“We’re living well within our means,” Stapley said.
County Treasurer David Schweikert said property tax bills might still go up for some residents because voters in many parts of the county have approved city, school or other types of budget overrides or bond issues.
“Property taxes we do to ourselves,” Schweikert said.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on its final budget on June 19.
Property tax Q&A
Q: Will county taxes go up or down?
A: Under the proposed budget, Maricopa County property taxes would drop $6.57 on a $250,000 home.
Q: Will some homeowners pay less to the county but more property taxes overall?
A: Yes. Most homeowners pay property taxes to nine or 10 entities besides the county. About two-thirds of property taxes go toward education. Homeowners who see increases in their tax bills probably live in areas in which voters approved school budget overrides, bond issues or other tax increases.
Q: How much of a typical property tax bill goes to the county?
A: About 15 percent. This includes the primary property tax and additional assessments for Maricopa County flood control and library districts.
Q: Who pays the most property
A: Residents in the Isaac Elementary School District in Phoenix. A $200,000 home in this area would be assessed $2,833. The same home on the fringes of the county outside municipal and school district boundaries would be assessed only $870.
Q: How will the spike in home values affect county property taxes?
A: Not much. The county budget grows about 2 percent each year regardless of home values. New construction pays for most or all of this increase. As property values go up, the county cuts the primary property tax rate accordingly.
SOURCE: Maricopa County Treasurer David Schweikert and county Supervisor Don Stapley.