Pima County Bond Advisory Committee concurs: No bond election in 2014by Pima County News on Sep. 20, 2013, under Pima County, Pima County bonds, Southern Arizona, Tucson
The Pima County Bond Advisory Committee unanimously agreed Friday that it would be prudent to defer a future countywide bond election to at least 2015 given financial constraints tied to the still-recovering economy.
The recommendation, which will go to the Pima County Board of Supervisors, ensures the committee will have time to develop a solid bond package, given the long list of needs that outstrip available funding.
Regardless of when the election is held, no bonds can be authorized anyway until 2016 at the earliest given limitations on tax rates and debt repayment schedules.
With the tax base shrinking more than 23 percent from Fiscal Year 2009/10 – and with no anticipated increase in the tax base until three years out – it would not be wise to raise the voluntary tax rate cap that was put in place to provide certainty to voters, said County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. Other options, such as extending the term of the debt and delaying the County’s aggressive debt retirement schedule, or restructuring debt to pay interest-only up front and principal later, would similarly be bad choices, he advised.
Committee Chairman Larry Hecker also noted that the 2014 general election ballot already promises to be a lengthy one, with choices spanning federal, state and local offices, so a later election date would allow voters more time to focus on the package.
The Committee also established a process moving forward. A schedule will be developed to group proposals into larger categories that will then be discussed separately monthly meetings, which will begin again in February 2014. As always, the general public is encouraged to attend those meetings, whether their interest lies in specific categories or in learning about the whole series of projects.
For more information about Pima County’s bond program, please visit http://webcms.pima.gov/government/bonds/