North Central News

Property taxes will rise in Phoenix

By Teri Carnicelli
The fiscal year beginning July 1 will have Phoenix homeowners seeing a bump in their property taxes as the city sets to increase its secondary rate while anticipating overall increased revenues from primary property taxes.

In the meantime, one of the city’s largest school districts also looks to increase its revenues.

On May 17, the Phoenix City Council adopted its budget for fiscal year 2016-17, which included a proposed $0.35 increase to the secondary property tax rate to generate approximately $37 million needed to address ongoing debt service payments. Secondary property taxes are used by the city to pay for its debt services, such as general obligations bonds that are used to buy land, build new city-owned facilities, and more.

Although the city expects to have a $60 million General Fund budget surplus this coming fiscal year, rather than using those funds to pay down the debt service—a one-to-two-year fix at best, city officials say—the city manager and some council members want to put that surplus toward other uses, such as adding police body cameras over the next 4-5 years, addressing chronic veteran homelessness in the city, and partially restoring employee compensation. The Phoenix City Council was set to vote on the tax increase at its July 1 meeting, and if approved, it will go into effect immediately.

In addition, the Phoenix City Council held a public hearing June 15 regarding changes to primary property taxes. The city actually will decrease the primary property tax rate from $1.34 to approximately $1.33 per $100,000 of assessed valuation for 2016-17. However, the overall growth in the value of Phoenix homes will result in an actual increase in the primary property tax that homeowners pay, by about 1.3 percent. The city anticipates that this will bring in an additional $1.845 million in primary property tax revenues during the next fiscal year.

Since residential property valuations conducted by the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office are only updated every 18 months or so, the city’s budget office says the anticipated tax increase is usually accurate to within a percent or two.

Homeowners residing within the Phoenix Union High School District boundaries will see an even bigger property tax bill as the district’s Governing Board voted in favor of an increase to its primary property tax rate at its June 21 meeting.

The Governing Board approved an increase in its primary property tax levy of $750,000. The new rate will cause Phoenix Union High School District’s primary property taxes on a $100,000 home to increase from $132.75 to $134.48. That new rate also goes into effect July 1.

What that all means for Phoenix homeowners will be determined by the most current Maricopa County valuation of their home. For more information about your home’s current valuation, visit http://mcassessor.maricopa.gov and type in your street address or call 602-506-3406.

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