“For the past year, we have dealt with one crisis after another. Responding quickly and efficiently to the public health emergency has been a priority, but now’s the time to look to the future. What we do today will determine whether we retain a high quality of life for future generations,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers, District 1, said in a news release. “This budget puts people back to work, provides a stronger safety net for the most vulnerable in our community and invests in the infrastructure we need to make our incredible growth sustainable.”
The FY 2021-22 budget addresses needs identified as result of pandemic, according to the release. Highlights include:
- funding 30 new positions for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, which led the effort to protect the community from COVID-19 through case investigation, data sharing, testing and vaccination;
- $5 million toward long-term solutions to homelessness, including shelters and “bridge” housing;
- adding staff and resources to the office of the medical examiner; and
- funding a new command center for the emergency management department, which has distributed more than 20 million units of personal protective equipment over the past year and has been an integral part of the county’s unified response to the pandemic.
“Our job is to be responsive to the needs of our community and respectful of the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars. This budget does that,” Vice Chairman Bill Gates, District 3, said in a news release. “The pandemic taught us how tenuous health and financial security are for too many in our community, and so we invested in those areas. At the same time, the board wisely chose to lower the property tax rate and reduce our pension debt.”
The tentative county budget contains approximately $439 million in federal funding for continued pandemic response and recovery, which was part of the American Rescue Act passed by Congress.
The public will be able to comment on the tentative budget between now and the final vote, which is scheduled for June 21.