Local voters will head to the polls Tuesday to decide the fate of a proposed countywide health care tax and the financial affairs of several East Valley schools districts.
The one ballot question facing all voters, Proposition 414, is also one of the most debated. If approved, the proposition will create a Maricopa County health care district and raise property taxes to help fund the Maricopa County Health System.
Supporters want to see the county hospital and other health services improved by increasing funding by $40 million a year from new tax collections.
Opponents say the county hospital would survive without the tax dollars, and they argue against forming a new taxing district to solve the funding problems of specific government programs.
If the tax is approved, property owners will pay an additional tax of $21.84 per year on a $150,000 home and an additional $54.60 on a $500,000 business.
Voter approval would also give the district bonding authority, but the district would have to get subsequent approval from voters to issue bonds. A proposed plan is to issue bonds to construct a new county hospital.
Polling places will be open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Other issues include:
Carefree voters are being asked to app rove a $3.3 million project for construction of a 1 million-gallon water storage tank town leaders say is critical for ensuring a safe and reliable water supply. The tank’s technology would allow Carefree Water Co. to meet safety requirements for removing arsenic from groundwater.
No new taxes would be needed to finance the project. The town expects to pay for it with a loan from the state Water Infrastructure Financing Authority or by selling bonds.
CAVE CREEK UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Cave Creek Unified School District voters will decide whether to approve:
• A $15 million bond issue to pay for school buses, a new administrative center and school bus annex, and school renovations. Approval would raise property taxes an estimated $57 per year on a home valued at $370,000.
• A $2.7 million budget override would pay for furniture, computers, textbooks and other school supplies and equipment. Approval would raise property taxes $91 a year for a home valued at $370,000.
• Annexation of 18 square miles into the district. The area lies north of Jomax Road, south of the National Forest and west of 176th Street.
As for the bond and override, a proponent group says the money is needed to upgrade technology and prepare for growth, while an opposition group says it would be less expensive to contract a busing company and lease computers so they can upgrade without buying new ones.
CHANDLER UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Chandler Unified School District voters are being asked to approve extending the school district’s override budget of $11 million annually that supplements the district’s $114 million budget. The override collects about $80 a year in property taxes on a $100,000 house.
The override was first approved by residents in July 1989. Voters can renew it every five years. The override will enable the district to maintain a low studentteacher ratio, security guards at schools and raises for teachers and staff, district officials said.
If denied by voters, the current override will be phased out over the next three years.
FOUNTAIN HILLS SANITARY DISTRICT
Fountain Hills residents will be asked to vote for three seats on the board of directors of the Fountain Hills Sanitary District.
A separate government entity from the town, the district is responsible for the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage waste water in the community. The district is governed by an elected five-man board and funded through various hookup, connection and user fees as well as property taxes.
Incumbents Bert Putterman and Bob Thomson and write-ins Bruce Hansen and Dennis Regeski are facing off for three four-year terms.
HIGLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Higley Unified School District voters will consider approving:
• A $31.3 million bond issue to buy land to expand schools and administrative offices, construct administrative facilities and provide student transportation. The bonds would increase property taxes $44 a year for the owner of a $144,000 home.
• A budget override for $350,000 a year for seven years to replace outdated technology and for expansion of technology. The override would increase property taxes almost $29 a year on a $144,000 home.
• A maintenance and operations override to maintain current salary structure and class sizes. It would increase property taxes $136 a year on a $144,000 home.
- Compiled by Ray Stern, Joe Kullman, Beth Lucas, Susan Padilla and
Scott C. Seckel.