With state finances on the sunny side, cities and towns hope to convince lawmakers to relieve some of the budget pressures on local governments.
And it appears legislators are listening.
Already, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation to repeal a budget-balancing mechanism that partly passed on the responsibility of funding Arizona Department of Water Resources operations to local governments.
The state was cash-strapped last year, when lawmakers and the governor gave the water resources department the authority to impose an assessment on municipalities.
If cities and towns continue to help fund the water department, the state would save about $6.3 million in the next fiscal year.
But SB1288, sponsored by Hereford Republican Gail Griffin, would effectively repeal that fee. It has the support of nearly half of the Legislature, and was approved in committee early this month.
Instead of the money coming from fees, the measure sets aside $6.3 million from the state general fund for the water resources department.
“The DWR assessment never made any sense at all from a fairness standpoint or from a nexus standpoint,” said Doug Von Gausig, the mayor of Clarkdale and new president of the League of Arizona Cities and towns.
This and other issues affecting revenues for local governments will likely be hashed out during budget talks with the governor.