Yuma City Council discusses budget

Yuma, AZ – The City of Yuma has proposed a 212 million dollar preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal year, up 11.5 million dollars from 2014-2015. City administrator Greg Wilkinson explains where some added expenses are coming from.

“This year the state decided to start passing costs of state department such as department of revenue, Arizona department of economic equality. They’ve decided they’re going to pass those costs onto cities and counties. We are now absorbing additional costs,” Greg Wilkinson said.

He said the City will pursue 23 million dollars in grant money to alleviate some of those costs. An increase in Yuma’s property tax rate is also proposed in the preliminary budget.

Council members will discuss that Wednesday evening.

“In 2012 and 2013, we implemented two tax cuts. We’re asking the council to roll those back as we can’t afford those anymore because of what the state has done to us,” he added.

Some residents fear the roughly 20% hike in property tax rates could put some locals in a pinch.

One homeowner said, “There’s a lot of people in Yuma that are on fixed income, so it’s gonna be just another expense.”

Wilkinson says increased medical expenses and costs from the state’s public safety retirement system must also come out of the city’s budget. He said the City is considering a higher freeze to make up for added costs.

Council members are simply approving a preliminary budget Wednesday evening. They will approve the final budget in a couple of weeks.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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