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Rural neighborhoods going commercial

For the past four years, a group of people have been meeting with Maricopa County Planning and Development staff members behind closed doors to amend a zoning ordinance that will affect properties countywide. The issue will go before the County Board of Supervisors for a vote on Aug. 19, yet property owners know little of its existence.

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‘Arnold v. Sarn’: Helping or hurting? (access required)

The lawsuit that led to the creation of the modern behavioral health care system in Maricopa County has created what many experts say is an artificial set of standards that ignores the real needs of patients. But confusion and disagreement over ways to improve the system have delayed the kind of meaningful reform that almost everyone in the health care community recognizes as necessary.

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Mental health care: 30 years of broken promises (access required)

Magellan Health Services has adopted a slogan since taking over Maricopa County's behavioral health care system two years ago: "Getting Better All the Time." The reforms promised by the Maryland-based company in the months before taking control of the system were put on hold while the company tried to rebound from the loss of medical records, a critical audit by the court and a series of well-publicized murders committed by untreated patients.

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Records show errors on county property-tax bills

Thousands of property owners in the Phoenix-area may have paid more or less than what they owe in Maricopa County property taxes. The city of Phoenix is going over records of the city's 500,000 parcels "and we would be surprised not to find errors," said Mark Cernetic, deputy budget director.

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Delay in tax referral may cause election complications (access required)

If lawmakers are going to put Gov. Jan Brewer's temporary tax hike proposal on the November ballot, they may want to do it soon. Maricopa County must order the paper for its ballots by July 16 in order to comply with the 26-day early-voting period mandated by Arizona law, according to Maricopa County Elections Director Karen Osborne. The orders can be placed past the deadline, she said, but each additional day likely will mean one fewer day of early voting.

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