Town to debate half-cent tax increase
Results from the PASER evaluation done in two thousand seventeen demonstrating that 22.7% of roads in the town are in “failing” condition.
- BY Jordan Glenn The Independent
PINETOP-LAKESIDE — Pinetop-Lakeside is considering an increase in its Transaction Privilege Tax to help fund road repairs and maintenance, a topic the town refers to as “critical.”
The proposed half-a-percent tax increase would take many sales tax prices from Two.Five percent to three percent and is estimated to generate $600,000 of extra revenue every year. The money will go toward road repairs, which would rotate inbetween five different parts of the town every five years.
The measure would put the town’s total sales tax at 9.1 percent — including Five.6 percent to the state and .Five percent to Navajo County — making its rate one percent higher than neighboring communities Showcase Low and Snowflake and the same as Springerville.
The town has opted to have the council consider the measure, rather than get voter approval, which wouldn’t be on the ballot until November 2018, Town Manager Keith Johnson told The Independent. The council will consider the measure at its Sept. Twenty one meeting, during which the public will be able to voice their opinion.
According to the initial proposal brought before the council, “the town’s streets and roads are at a critical juncture as far as being able to maintain and preserve pavement.” It says the freeze/thaw cycle in the White Mountains is one of the harshest in the country and severely deteriorates roads.
Over the past decade, Pinetop-Lakeside and other White Mountain communities have struggled to pay for road maintenance due to the lack of funds provided by the state since a majority of the population only lives here seasonally.
“Overall, we’ve had a lot of positive feedback on the roadwork we’ve done but we also get seasonal residents who come in and say, ‘why don’t you work on my roads?’” Public Works Director Matt Patterson said. “The [seasonal] homeowners, their state share goes to Tempe, Phoenix or somewhere else. So in rural areas where their 2nd homes are, it hurts. For our sixty five miles of roads here, our total is only $600,000.”
Town officials are optimistic about the perception of a tax increase and believe that overwhelmingly, “citizens want their roads taken care of,” Johnson said.
“It’s the equivalent of fifty cents of a hundred dollars which I think when put into that context, it helps people grip it a little bit better. Fifty cents of one hundred dollars is not that bad,” said Patterson. “Through this sales tax, we’ll be able to benefit from all of the tourists and visitors we have up here and not just the permanent residents like a property tax would do. From that sense, it’s more fair because everyone is paying.”
The $600,000 the town presently draws from for repairs comes from the state HURF fund, which is generated through taxes on gas and diesel fuel which is collective across the state. With the numerous technological advances that have come to the auto industry over the years, it’s become more difficult to collect enough money solely from HURF.
“They haven’t enlargened the (Legal cent per gallon) gasoline tax since one thousand nine hundred ninety one and since then, cars have become more efficient. It makes it tighter for towns and cities to keep up with it all and fund the necessary repairs,” said Johnson.
In 2017, the roads via the town were evaluated from one to ten by a system called the Paser Rating System. After the data was compiled almost a quarter of all roads in Pinetop-Lakeside “failed.”
More information and documents concerning the tax can be found on the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside website under “Public Notices.”