Citizens express concern about Carefree revenue

By Curtis Riggs | May 6, 2009

Uncertainty about fiscal year budget
CAREFREE – Citizens and town council write-in candidates, John Traynor and Jim Peirce, raised enough concerns about potential revenue, or lack there of, at the Tuesday meeting that out-going Mayor Wayne Fulcher and new Town Administrator Gary Neiss agreed the council should discuss the 2009-10 budget again in late May.

Driving the concern about the $5.8 million budget is lack of information about how large the decreases are in state-shared revenue and local sales-tax revenue.

The irony of adopting the budget at this time is many of the town officials involved in it will be gone when a tentative budget is approved in June. Carefree must have its final budget approved in August.

Neiss announced the new budget is 28 percent ($1.3 million) lower than last year’s; the general fund is 18.5 percent lower.

Assistant Town Clerk Jim Keen said the projected revenues will be nearly $5.9 million, taking into account an anticipated 15 percent reduction in local sales-tax revenue and a 14 percent reduction in state-shared revenue.

Traynor maintained the council should prepare for lower sales-tax revenue. He recently received a letter from State Rep. Nancy Barto, stating sales-tax revenue statewide is expected to be down 19.3 percent.

Peirce said he “had issues with the amounts (listed) in expenditures” and the individual line items.

“We need another special meeting to find out where the expenses, and the revenue, are coming from,” he said.

The only major project planned is the resurfacing of Cave Creek Road from Scopa Trail to the town’s eastern border. This project will be done with the $588,000 the town expects to receive in federal stimulus money for transportation projects.