Loss of HURF money hurting City of DouglasBy Trisha Maldonado
On Jan 19 Douglas’ City Manager Curtis Shook met with Legislature Representatives Peggy Judd, David Stevens and Senator Gail Griffin at the Arizona State Capital Offices to discuss the loss of State Revenue Sharing.
The City of Douglas and other cities and towns have had their HURF funding decreased since Fiscal Year 2008. HURF funding’s are Highway User Revenue Funds allocated to Arizona Cities and Towns.
In a letter written to Legislature Representatives Judd, Stevens and Senator Griffin, the City of Douglas has lost over 4.1 million dollars of State Shared Revenue since FY2007-2008.
“I would say that our two representatives listen and seemed to share our concern about sweeps,” said Shook.
The State Sales Tax loss is 18 percent; Income Tax loss is 39 percent; and the Vehicle License Tax loss of 5-10 percent.
“If we were to take the $500,000 the city was to receive per year we could borrow $7 million to redo all of the streets in Douglas,” Shook said.
ARS-28-6540 provides a method of distributing motor vehicle fuel tax revenues to Arizona Counties, Cities and Towns for the mandate purpose of road construction, reconstruction or maintenance of roads within the jurisdiction. The State has swept portions of these revenues each year since FY2008. According to the resolution format, that was submitted to The State of Arizona by the City of Douglas Council.
In FY2008, Douglas received $1,469,404. In FY2011-2012 Douglas will receive $1,105,914 a reduction of 24.74 percent. The Cities portion of State Shared Revenues declined $1,263,975. HURF revenues will no longer support minor or major street improvement. The decline in other State Shared revenue negates the General Fund being able to subsidize street improvements. The city maintenance streets program is now limited to pothole and sidewalk repair. Any further HURF losses will mean employee layoff and further street deterioration.
The construction on Third Street was paid from funds received from land sold to WalMart and some remaining HURF funds.
“It was a planned project it was the last one that we will be able to do,” the City Manager said.
Due to the loss of HURF funding there are currently 38 less employees working for the City then there was in 2008. Positions have been frozen or closed and according to Shook there hasn’t been any need for layoffs or furloughs.
“Unless the state hurts us again this year I promised employees we won’t,” Shook said.
There have been reorganizations within the City and employees have had to take on other responsibilities they didn’t have before, the City Manager added.
According to the League of Arizona Cities and Towns Resolution Format, State Sweeps have caused the municipal loss of over 100 million in Street repair monies to fund the operations of the State Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol (DPS).
“They are taking our money that we would rebuild our streets with and they are using it to pay salaries and operating cost for DPS Highway Patrol,” Shook said.
The City Council believes that the Sweeps of Arizona HURF should be restored to municipalities’ budget from the DPS to bring HURF fund back to FY2008 levels.
The State of Arizona should find the necessary funds for DPS Highway Patrol within its own General Fund as the economy recovers.
Anymore loss of HURF funding to the City of Douglas would cripple the city, Shook said.