The City of Somerton is seeking comments for or against HOME RULE by August 12, 2020 noon. Please send your comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
More than half of Arizona cities use home rule, which goes to a vote Nov. 3 in Somerton.
So what is home rule?
Home rule is a provision that allows a city to spend the money it collects from taxes and other sources. It lets the City Council, rather than a nearly 40-year-old state spending formula, decide what local services the community needs.
Home rule puts the budgeting power in the home community, although the City Council must still balance the budget, as required by state law.
Why do we have home rule?
The reason for home rule dates back to 1980, when Arizona voters amended the state Constitution to keep cities' spending in check. The amendment set spending limits that increase with population growth and inflation.
For a city or town to exceed the state-set spending limit, the council could send the home rule provision, formally called an Alternative Expenditure Limitation, to voters every four years.
Most AZ cities use home rule or alternative.
Almost half of Arizona's 91 cities and towns use home rule.
Data from the League of Arizona Cities and Towns show:
45 municipalities use home rule like Somerton, including Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Bisbee, Tombstone, Avondale, Florence, Gila Bend, and Nogales.
Impact of home rule
Home rule isn't a tax increase, but it allows a city or town to spend the tax or other revenue it has in place.
Somerton voters have agreed to home rule since 2000.
Under a Home Rule Option if approved by the voters, the City estimates it will be allowed to expend approximately
$26,595,000 in 2021-2022, $27,463,000 in 2022-2023, $27,484,000 in 2023-2024 and $27,506,000 in 2024-2025.
Under the state-imposed limitation the City estimates it will be allowed to expend approximately
$13,276,656 in 2021-2022, $13,774,513 in 2022-2023, $14,317,597 in 2023-2024 and $14,883,399 in 2024-2025 for the operation of your local government.