OV Town Talk: Aug 4 primary election ballot will include Prop 480

Published on June 17, 2020

Prop 480 logo not stacked

On August 4, Town of Oro Valley residents will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in the Primary Election. An item you will see on the ballot for the election is Proposition 480, which is a Permanent Base Adjustment for the Town.

In the State of Arizona, state law limits the amounts cities and towns can spend to the amount of local revenues from Fiscal Year 1979-80, irrespective of the amount of present-day revenues collected. As one can imagine, the Town of Oro Valley and its needs have changed immensely over the past 40 years, as has the economic environment. To deal with these challenges, and to provide local budgetary control, Arizona state law provides two primary alternative remedies utilized by most cities or towns: an Alternative Expenditure Limitation (Home Rule Option), or a Permanent Base Adjustment. Both of these options require voter approval, and both options allow the Town to set its own budgetary limits to correspond with revenue collection. Neither of them have any impact on tax rates nor on tax collections of the Town.

The Home Rule Option is the option the Town has utilized historically to temporarily increase its budgetary spending authority. It requires voter approval every four years, as well as Arizona Auditor General review and approval. Home Rule has been approved by Oro Valley voters every four years since 1982. This option requires ongoing staff time and monetary investment in the election process every time re-approval is necessary.

Rather than requiring a vote every four years, the Permanent Base Adjustment would permanently raise the spending limitation to an amount adjusting the 1979-80 limit to current dollars. This option also requires Arizona Auditor General review and approval. The Town engaged the Budget and Finance Commission, comprising Oro Valley residents, to study the issue, and the commission recommended the Town Council approve allowing voters to decide whether the Permanent Base Adjustment is preferable or not.

To help Oro Valley voters understand this ballot item and provide facts about the Permanent Base Adjustment, the Town will be hosting two public informational sessions. Typically, Town staff would offer to present in-person at various groups and organizations; however, due to COVID-19 and ongoing social distancing protocols, the sessions will be held via Zoom video conferencing. Sessions will be held on June 25, 2020, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Residents who have questions or concerns are welcome to participate to learn more. Information on these public information meetings, as well as a detailed explanation of Prop 480, can be found on the Town’s website at www.orovalleyaz.gov. Just look for the blue “Prop 480” button.

If you have questions but are unable to participate in our June 25 sessions, please contact us via email or phone at ask@orovalleyaz.gov or 520-229-4711.

As mentioned earlier, the primary election will be held on August 4, 2020. Voters may request an early mail ballot for a specific election or they may request to be placed on the Permanent Early Voting List and receive mail ballots for all elections. The early mail ballots for the Primary Election will be mailed on or about July 8, 2020. For information about your ballot or polling place, please visit the Pima County Recorder’s Office website at www.recorder.pima.gov  or call 520-724-4330.

By David Gephart, Town of Oro Valley Chief Financial Officer



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