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Pima County supervisors adopt property tax rate; proclaim opposition to use of rubber bullets
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Pima County supervisors adopt property tax rate; proclaim opposition to use of rubber bullets

The Pima County Board of Supervisors have set the county’s new tax rate for the 2021 fiscal year.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Monday to adopt the property tax levy for fiscal year 2021, completing this year’s budget process.

The total levy to be collected from property taxes is $486,725,027 — an increase of $343,568 from the previous year. The board approved a new county budget in June of $1.42 billion.

On June 23, the board adopted the fiscal year 2021 budget and set the overall tax rate at $5.3524, a 4.5% decrease. The tax rate was then applied to property values — which have gone up — resulting in the overall levy.

A levied property tax is a tax imposed on property owners, based on the value of their property and the local government’s needs. For Pima County, its overall tax rate is comprised of the primary property tax, the Public Library District tax, the Flood Control District tax, and the debt service tax. Property owners are also taxed by other jurisdictions, like fire districts and school districts, based on where they live.

For fiscal year 2021, the county’s primary rate, which funds the majority of the general fund, is reduced from $3.9996 to $3.9220, a 2% decrease. The debt service rates are reduced from 69 cents to 52 cents, a 25% reduction. The rates for the library, 53.53 cents, and flood control, 33.35 cents, remain unchanged from the previous year.

For a median assessed value home of $154,000, the combined county tax rate would result in about a $38 decrease in the county’s portion of a homeowner’s tax bill. This amount would vary based on the limited value of the home, which is determined by the County Assessor each year.

Other action

The supervisors also passed a resolution condemning the use of rubber bullets by law enforcement in Pima County. The resolution does not ban the department from using rubber bullets, which are often used by law enforcement agencies to disperse large crowds.

In a 3-2 vote, the board approved the resolution, which states the use of rubber bullets by law enforcement to disperse crowds can cause life-threatening injuries and blindness if fired at a person’s eyes. The resolution was brought to the board by District 5 Supervisor Betty Villegas, who said that an increase in protests throughout the country this year has made this issue abundantly clear and highlights the need for continued police reform.

“While we understand that this resolution does not give the board the authority to stop the use (of rubber bullets), our goal is to include this item in any new policy being worked on by the sheriff and the justice reform department in the future,” she said.

Supervisor Ally Miller voted against the resolution, saying there was no evidence of the inappropriate use of rubber bullets in Pima County. She was joined in opposition by Supervisor Steve Christy.

“The thing that really concerns me is that you’re automatically assuming that the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, as soon as somebody is peacefully assembling, they’re going in and shooting them with rubber bullets. We know that is not true,” she said. “What you’re doing by suggesting this is you’re eliminating the use of less-lethal means for law enforcement, which is forcing them to use their guns in the event that there is an unruly or out of control protester. You’re eliminating tools that are less lethal.”

The Sheriff's Department has used rubber bullets 13 times since 2010, according to department officials. 

"The Pima County Sheriff’s Department shares the concerns of the Board of Supervisors about the possibility for unintended injuries from the use of 'rubber bullets.' The use of less lethal impact projectiles by the [department] is limited to very specific high-risk activities and only used by specially trained personnel," said a statement released by the Sheriff's Department Tuesday. "Less lethal tools provide a valuable intermediate level of force within our force options. We only use them when doing so would mitigate the potential need for a higher level of force and would reduce the potential for greater risk of injuries to the public and our personnel."

Contact reporter Jasmine Demers at jdemers@tucson.com

On Twitter: @JasmineADemers


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Reporter

Jasmine joined the Star in 2019. With a master’s degree in journalism, Jasmine served in a variety of leadership roles, including The Daily Wildcat's editor-in-chief. She was also named Outstanding Newsperson of the Year by the UA School of Journalism.

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