It could be worse. The district, he said, has tried to preserve a quality education for its diverse student needs, whether that involved assisting low-income families or high-tech job training for future workers. That task has been difficult, he said, with higher energy costs and reduced state funds for capital needs.
Office of the Commissioner
The cost of education: In many school districts, the combined tax rates have gone up nearly every year since the recession began. And education, by far, accounts for the largest chunk of property-tax bills. Between and , primary taxes earmarked for elementary, high school and community college accounted for 48 percent of tax bills, according to state treasurer records. In , some voters reached their limits. Nearly half the bond and override measures in 28 districts failed in November.
School budgets are tied more to enrollment than real estate. Tax rates for operations in districts such as Creighton and Kyrene Elementary and Mesa Unified went up three successive years beginning in Tax rates for bonds and overrides went up four years in a row in districts such as Madison and Roosevelt Elementary and Dysart Unified.
Many of us are just paying too much to schools. The disparity is due to the boundary of the Berridge Ridge irrigation district. Santoyas is allotted about 2 hours and 15 minutes to open the water valve and flood his property each year. The irrigation district, set up to flood yards a few times a year, is separate from what he pays for city of Phoenix water.
Thousands of special districts: While education usually tops the property-tax expenses, special districts can double the final bill for some homeowners.
Countywide, there are more than 1, of these districts, which collect taxes for services confined to the areas that need them. The services range from fire protection to street lighting to water services. Districts are created on a case-by-case basis by residents or a real-estate developer and essentially act as financing mechanisms for residents to pay taxes for a range of services in their own geographic area. Once authorized, these entities are inconsistently regulated. There is no indication anyone in local, county or state government routinely reviews these documents.
If special-district activities generally go unnoticed, their impact on property-tax bills is not.
Arizona Property Tax Calculator
Consider the example of two homeowners two houses apart in the Agua Fria Ranch subdivision of Youngtown. The main reason for the disparity is a special district called the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District. The owners of the house with the high water bill, who bought it in December, declined to comment on the bill. Central Arizona Groundwater collects money from homeowners to buy water and recharge groundwater and taxes homeowners based on usage. More than 1, subdivisions in the southwest and southeast Valley are part of this special district, which was created in the mids.
The district is currently trying to raise its rates 4 percent. Confused about how to interpret your property tax bill?
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