Carefree – No raises, but no layoffs in fiscal year 2009-10

By Curtis Riggs | April 29, 2009

CAREFREE – While town officials avoided laying off any employees this year, they announced last week in the first fiscal year 2009-10 budget workshop there would be no raises.

Despite lacking information about how much the town will receive in state-shared revenue from the State of Arizona, Carefree officials began their initial examination of the budget, which is expected to include $1.4 million in revenue and $1.3 million in expenses.

State-shared revenue numbers have been delayed this year because state officials and legislators are scrambling to balance their own budget, but they are expected any day.

Carefree Assistant Town Clerk Jim Keen said the last state-shared revenue numbers received in March were down 14 percent from last March.

Sales-tax revenue is down 15 percent in Carefree so far this year.

Carefree expects to reduce operating expenses by 20 percent this fiscal year to be able to balance its books in the face of declining revenues.

Carefree will hold five public hearing on the budget this year before it is approved in its final form in August. A preliminary budget must be approved in June.

Councilman Greg Gardner, who is the point man on the budget, expressed concern about rising health-insurance costs for town employees this year.

Gardner said reduced amount contributions would be given to area non-profit groups this year.