OV Town Talk: Helping you understand the Town’s annual budget
Published on June 22, 2022
In the digital age, we are bombarded by volumes of information (and misinformation) everywhere we turn. In a mountain of data, it can be difficult to wrap our heads around the bottom line. Difficult to understand “What does this mean for me and my family?” Difficult to pinpoint what has changed and whether those changes are being disclosed. That is why so much time and effort go into developing the annual Town Manager’s Budget Message each year. This message, which can be found at the beginning of the Town's annual “Recommended” as well as “Adopted” budget documents, is a snapshot of the nearly 300 pages of budget data. While some citizens enjoy reading government documents cover to cover and digging through pages of line items, it’s fair to say that many people have neither the time nor the interest; however, that information is no less important for them. We work hard to distill large volumes of information and data into reader-friendly summaries and abbreviated documents that highlight the things that are most relevant to the day-to-day lives of our residents.
I am happy to announce that at the June 16, 2022, Council meeting, Oro Valley Mayor and Council approved a balanced budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 22/23. As many of you know, there is still a considerable amount of work that goes into producing the nearly 300-page, final budget document, which will be published in the fall. Those of you who enjoy a deep dive into Town finances have something to look forward to! For those who prefer just the highlights, we’ll have something for you as well. Later this summer, we’ll publish our annual two-page “Know Your Town’s Budget” document, which gives you a quick snapshot of key revenues, expenditures and priorities.
In the meantime, as we await the publication of these two important documents, I wanted to shine the light on the overall budget picture as we begin the new fiscal year July 1. Currently posted on the Town’s website is the 145-page “Town Manager’s Recommended Budget for FY 22/23.” While there were a few minor adjustments to the final figures when Council voted to adopt the final budget, the overall financial position and budgeting priorities remain the same, and they are accurately conveyed in the document’s introductory message—a personal message from me as your Town Manager.
That message gives an overview of topics such as: economic conditions that impact our operations; the Town’s financial priorities for the new fiscal year; an explanation of major budget changes when compared to last year; and an overview of each fund, including capital investments, general fund, community center fund and the like.
Because this message is so important, I'd like to share an excerpt with you here in the hopes that you’ll feel inspired to visit our website and read the message in its entirety. An important note: In order to reflect the final budget that was adopted June 16, the figures in brackets have been updated from the original April 20, 2022, message in the “Recommended” budget. These updates are the figures that will appear in the final “Adopted” budget document this fall.
The impact of the pandemic continues to be felt both individually and collectively across the region, nation and world. Coupled with the instability related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the growing concern of an economic recession in the future, the Town has been mindful to continue its conservative forecast of revenues, particularly in areas considered non-essential that are often the first things families reconsider when costs increase. Sales taxes for FY 22/23 are 19 percent higher than the current fiscal year budget, largely reflecting the results inflation is having on local purchases. This budget continues to provide the high levels of service our community has come to expect and enjoy, including exciting opportunities ahead with regard to significant additional recreational amenities that will expand offerings we can provide to both residents and visitors.
The FY 22/23 Budget reflects the following overarching themes, further explained in the full version of the Manager’s Budget Message:
Addressing notable cost increases in supplies, operations and maintenance across all departments.
Adding personnel to meet growing service demands.
Implementing a robust capital investment strategy utilizing Parks and Recreation $25 million bond proceeds and other one-time revenues.
Funding annual step and merit increases as well as planned changes to the Town’s classification and compensation pay plan to ensure the organization can continue to attract and retain quality employees.
The balanced fiscal year 2022/23 budget totals [$147.7 million], representing a decrease of [$14. Million], or [8.8 percent] lower than the adopted FY 21/22 budget of $162 million. The General Fund budget totals [$53.1 million], a [10 percent] decrease from the FY 21/22 budget of $58.9 million. This budget reflects the removal of the one-time $27 million contribution to the Town’s Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) unfunded pension liability from last year’s budget, a policy decision made by the Town Council in April 2021 that resulted in the Town achieving 100 percent funding for its police pension program. It also reflects substantially higher sales taxes and state shared revenues explained in more detail in the full message.
The past two years have been challenging in many ways. Through it all, under the leadership of the Mayor and Town Council, the Town government has continued delivering quality services and has planned and begun implementation of initiatives and capital investments that will significantly benefit the Oro Valley community for generations to come. I am very proud to present a FY 22/23 Budget that will continue that trajectory in the coming fiscal year.
In closing, it is an honor serving such an engaged community with residents who truly care about how their taxpayer dollars are spent. Whether you’re a 300-page deep-dive kind of person, or someone who prefers a brief, high-level snapshot, we work hard to ensure you have access to the information you want and need. And if there’s ever a time when you still have questions or can’t find the information you’re looking for, please let us know! Staff will research your question and personally respond to your inquiry. Just send an email to Ask@orovalleyaz.gov.