Monday, February 23, 2015

Planned Pima County Bonds Are No Bargain For Oro Valley Property Owners

In June of 2013, LOVE reported that Oro Valley had provided county administrator Chuck Huckleberry with $38 million in bond funding requests. You can visit this link to see the list of items requested and our analysis.  The total requested by the county and its communities at that time totaled $1.3 billion. This was twice what had been expected.

Several weeks ago,  the Pima County Bond Committee, the group that prepares the request for county supervision inspection and approval, approved a bond ceiling of $640.1 million. $30 million of Oro Valley's requests are in this amount. This is 4.7% of the total.

Amount In Million
Here's a table of what remains for Oro Valley in this potential bond issue. (Source:Pima County Bond web site)

This amount together with all of the other items in the bond request will be repaid by a secondary property tax that you'll pay on your annual county tax bill.

Oro Valley and Foothills Will Pay Far More Than They Get
Given current population and assessed property values, Oro Valley residents will pay a disproportionate share of any bond repayment assessment.

Oro Valley's population is 4% of the county's population but its property values are almost 9% of the county's assessed property values.

Mathematically, this means that Oro Valley residents will receive 4.7% of the funds borrowed but will pay almost twice that amount in repayment.

There are limits to how large the total bond issued can be. The most significant limit is a decrease in the the tax base of Pima County. The base must be supported by sufficient property values to keep the per thousand rate within county mandated limits. The tax base dropped from a value of $9.86 billion in Fiscal Year 2009/10 to $7 .58 billion today, a 23.1 percent reduction.

The county has confidence that voters will approve a bond issue. History is on their side:

"Since May 1974, voters in Pima County have approved bond proposals at countywide elections 12 separate times. A total of 54 bond proposition questions have been approved by the voters and only four have been disapproved."

It is no wonder that Pima county's voters approve these bond issues. After all, Oro Valley and Foothills are basically funding a portion of their projects.

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