The Attorney General’s Office said it will continue funding patrols by Mohave County deputies of the polygamous enclave of Colorado City, despite Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to line-item veto a $500,000 appropriation for those patrols.
Brewer vetoed the appropriation, which was listed only for northern Arizona law enforcement in the attorney general’s budget, saying the budget did not specify what the money was for. The line-item veto was one of several Brewer made in the budget.
Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Tom Horne, said the money was intended to give the office a more stable funding source for the Colorado City patrols. The Attorney General’s Office in 2012 began paying for Mohave County Sheriff’s Deputies to patrol the town, which it said was needed because the local police force was loyal to Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a polygamous offshoot of the Mormon church.
The Attorney General’s Office had partly funded the patrols with money from a federal asset forfeiture program. But Grisham said the amount of money the office receives is inconsistent from year to year. For the past several years, federal forfeiture money received by the office has ranged from about $128,000 in fiscal year 2013 to $255,000 in fiscal year 2011. So far, the Attorney General’s Office has received about $203,000 in federal asset forfeiture money this year.
The rest of the funding comes for the patrols comes from elsewhere in the attorney general’s budget. Grisham said the office had hoped to get a dedicated funding source in the budget.
Nonetheless, Grisham said the office will likely continue to fund the sheriff’s deputies’ patrols.
“It’s obviously a big priority for our office,” Grisham said.
Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said the governor vetoed the money because she didn’t know what the money was for and wanted binding language that would have locked in the money for a particular use.
“It was an unknown appropriation, and a very large one,” Wilder said.
Brewer made that clear in her veto letter for HB2703, writing, “There is no specific detail provided in this bill that explains the intent of this line item or direction on how the appropriation shall be utilized.”
The veto was one of several line items that Brewer nixed in the fiscal year 2015 budget. The governor line-item vetoed about $4.6 million in spending, as well as $53,000 transfer of funds.