New state budget provides financial relief to Cochise County
Cochise County will not be facing an anticipated increase of more than $600,000 in contributions to the Elected Officials Retirement Program (EORP), following assistance from the state legislature.
Legislators have finalized the $10.4 billion state budget, which includes a package of significant expenditure relief items requested by the County Supervisors Association (CSA).
The state’s lawmakers approved more than $20 million in general fund relief to counties, including a one-time appropriation of $1.7 million to offset the increase in EORP liabilities for Arizona's eight smallest counties, including Cochise County.
For Cochise County aid came in the form of suspension of many prior cost shifts and $195,000 in assistance funds, allowing it to fully cover its increased EORP costs of $622,000 for fiscal year 2018-19. Additionally, Highway User Revenue Fund payments to counties for road maintenance and developments were increased.
The legislators’ assistance was applauded by the Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting on May 8, where both Chairman Peggy Judd and Supervisor Ann English thanked the lawmakers for their work to meet the requests of the CSA.
The Board is currently reviewing the County's financial status before finalizing its 2018-19 budget next month, and a potential increase in EORP contributions had been a major concern.
County Administrator Ed Gilligan noted the efforts of the region's state legislators will go a long way toward balancing the county’s budget.
"Representative Drew John worked tirelessly to ensure we received this significant financial relief in the new state budget," he said. "We're thankful for his efforts, as well as the support and response of Representative Becky Nutt and Senator Gail Griffin."