Board of Supervisors Lower Property Taxes


August 16, 2010


For immediate release


The steep decline in property values during Arizona’s current housing recession will have one benefit for Maricopa County homeowners: The county-controlled portion of their property tax bills will be lower for most homeowners this year.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors today set property tax levies that will result in tax bill reductions for most homeowners, at least for the county-controlled portion of the total tax. The Board reduced property taxes on existing properties by $23.8 million, or 3.9 percent. The typical residence in Maricopa County, with a median market value of $148,800, down from $192,000 last year, will see a reduction of about $25.


Realty Ex


“I think the county has shown itself as a good steward of taxpayers’ money,” said Board Chairman Don Stapley. “It has been a rough year but we balanced the budget. Other jurisdictions in the state have not done the job as well as Maricopa County.”


Board member Max Wilson agreed. “I never lose sight that this is not our money. It’s the taxpayers’. Our action today will help in some way to reduce the burden on homeowners in Maricopa County,” he said.

County-controlled property taxes, which make up about 15 percent of total property taxes in Maricopa County, include the County primary levy, the Flood Control and Library District secondary tax levies. Maricopa County uses “pay-as-you-go” financing for capital projects, and unlike most other jurisdictions, does not use a secondary property tax for bonds. Property taxes collected by the state, cities, school districts, the community college district and other districts comprise the other 85 percent of property taxes.

“It is a delicate balance between funding important government services at adequate levels and keeping taxes low,” commented Supervisor Fulton Brock, of Chandler. “But that is the mission we ask of our staff and the departments. We’re staying the course. We are headed in the right direction.”

The Board’s policy of low, sustainable property taxes with no general obligation debt will save county taxpayers $128.5 million this year alone. Taxpayers have avoided an estimated $494 million in taxes since fiscal year 2002, according to the county Office of Management and Budget.

“Years ago, when we set off on a pay-as-you go policy, many we believe we couldn’t get it done. But we did it,” said Supervisor Andy Kunasek, of Phoenix. “Other counties across the country, even well managed ones, have struggled without facing any of the difficulties that we have faced.”

Today’s action followed the adoption in June of a “steady-as-you-go” $2.26 billion county budget for fiscal year 2011, which began July 1. The conservative budget anticipates little revenue growth in the next fiscal year and offers no cost of living adjustments or merit pay increases for county employees. Phoenix Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox said that even with the pay-as-you-go plan on capital construction, “The county has been able to keep up with infrastructure needs, with the construction of the criminal court tower, the Flood Control District projects and county roads. “

Additional Contacts:

Deputy Budget Director Chris Bradley, 602-506-4960

Lesley Kratz, Senior Advisor to County Assessor Keith Russell: 602-506-7154




Egg Recall- Keep your family healthy!

Voluntary Egg Recall Expanded: Less Than One

Percent of All U.S. Eggs Affected


ALPHARETTA, GA (August 18, 2010 – 10:30 p.m. ET) – Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, is expanding its voluntary recall (original recall date: August 13, 2010) of specific Julian dates of shell eggs produced by their farms because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Eggs affected by the expanded recall were distributed to food wholesalers, distribution centers, foodservice companies and limited retail outlets in California, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Texas, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Illinois, Utah, Nebraska, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. These companies distribute nationwide.

Eggs affected by the expanded recall announcement are packaged under the following brand names: Albertsons, Farm Fresh, James Farms, Glenview, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma, Lund, Kemps and Pacific Coast. Eggs are packed in varying sizes of cartons (6-egg cartons, dozen egg cartons, 18-egg cartons, and loose eggs for institutional use and repackaging) with Julian dates ranging from 136 to 229 and plant numbers 1026, 1942 and 1946. Dates and codes can be found stamped on the end of the egg carton or printed on the case label. The plant number begins with the letter P and then the number. In most cases the Julian date follows the plant number, for example: P-1720 223. There have been confirmed Salmonella enteritidisillnesses relating to the shell eggs and traceback investigations are ongoing. Wright County Egg is fully cooperating with FDA’s investigation by undertaking this voluntary recall.

All brands, plant numbers and Julian dates are listed in the Brands Affected document found here.

While this recall represents less than 1 percent of all eggs produced in the US, as always recommended by the Egg Safety Center and FDA, raw eggs should be handled and cooked properly with the egg yolks and whites cooked firm. Other egg brands that are not specifically in the recall list are not affected and should be safe to eat. Liquid, frozen, or dried egg products, because they are pasteurized, also are not affected by the recall and should be safe.

Consumers are reminded that properly storing, handling and cooking eggs should help prevent food-borne illness. For more information on proper handling and preparation of eggs and answers to other frequently asked questions, visit

Eggs previously announced as affectedinclude the following brand names: Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma’s, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps. Eggs are packed in varying sizes of cartons (6-egg cartons, dozen egg cartons, 18-egg cartons, and loose eggs for institutional use and repackaging) with Julian dates ranging from 136 to 225 and plant numbers 1026, 1413 and 1946. Additional brands specific to Northern and Central California and Reno, Nevada, include Bayview, Mountain Dairy, Nulaid, and Sun Valley. Affected plant numbers are 1091 (Julian date 167-174), 1686 (Julian date 142-149), and 1951 (Julian date 193-210).

The chance of an egg containing Salmonella Enteritidis is rare in the United States. Several years ago, it was estimated that 1 in 20,000 eggs might have been contaminated, which meant most consumers probably wouldn’t come in contact with such an egg but 1 time in 84 years. Since that time most U.S. egg farmers have been employing tougher food safety measures to help protect against food-borne illness. Chief among these methods are modern, sanitary housing systems; stringent rodent control and bio-security controls; inoculation against Salmonella Enteritidis; cleaning and sanitization of poultry houses and farms; and testing.

About the Egg Safety Center
The Egg Safety Center provides scientifically accurate information on food safety issues related to eggs. We work with egg producers to provide them with the most up to date information available and are dedicated to educating consumers on proper food handling to reduce the incidence of food-borne illness. For more information on egg safety visit

Zillow: Smaller Percentage of Homeowners Underwater in Q2

The percentage of borrowers underwater on their mortgage declined during the second quarter, but that welcome change of pace could come to an abrupt end as home values are again beginning to fall in markets across the country.

The real estate data provider Zillow

reported Monday that negative equity — which refers to the percentage of single-family homeowners with mortgages who owe more on the loan than their home is worth — dropped to 21.5 percent in Q2.

That’s down from Zillow’s negative equity reading of 23.3 percent in the first quarter of this year, and 23 percent during the second quarter of 2009.

The Zillow Home Value Index shows that home values, too, continued to drop in the second quarter, but the Seattle-based company says the rate of decline decelerated from the first quarter.

Zillow reports that home values in Q2 fell 3.2 percent year-over-year and 0.6 percent from the first quarter. It marked the second consecutive quarter of slowing declines. Based on Zillow’s market data, the national median home value last quarter was $182,500.

Conditions varied among individual markets across the country. In California, where both federal and state tax credits were available to some homebuyers, more than a quarter — 27.8 percent — of markets tracked by Zillow saw increases in home values in the past year.

Home values in five California markets have increased for the past five quarters, according to Zillow’s study, and four of those have increased by more than 5 percent since the second quarter of 2009. The Zillow Home Value Index was

up 7.3 percent year-over-year in the San Diego metropolitan statistical area (MSA); up 5.9 percent in the San Francisco MSA; up 5.6 percent in the San Jose metro area; and up 5.5 percent in the Los Angeles MSA.

Dr. Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, points to the double tax credits in California for stimulating housing demand there and raising property values. But he says the rapid rates of appreciation are unsustainable. He warns that once all incentives are removed the gains will surely slow, although Humphries says it is unlikely home values in California will re-test the low points reached in 2009.

Meanwhile, home values in Florida and Arizona continued to show dramatic declines. In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale MSA, they fell 15.2 percent year-over-year, while home values in the Phoenix metro were down 11.8 percent from a year ago.

Humphries says markets like Miami and Phoenix are not yet showing signs of reaching a bottom in property values, with high inventory levels still proving to be a challenge.

He called the picture of individual local markets “a mixed bag,” but said nationally, home values are moving in the right direction as rates of decline continue to decelerate.

However, Humphries says there is a large unknown on the horizon, since second-quarter numbers are still heavily influenced by the federal homebuyer tax credits. Home sales are declining significantly in the post-tax credits environment, but the impact of falling home sales on already-declining home values is yet to be seen, according to Humphries.

“Recent trends in home values suggest the nation could reach a bottom in the latter half of 2010, but we continue to be cautious about the impact of declining home sales,” Humphries said.

Zillow also reported that foreclosures again reached a new peak in June, with more than one out of every 1,000 (0.11 percent) U.S. homes foreclosed on during the month.

According to Zillow’s study, foreclosure resales fell in June, making up 16.9 percent of all home sales during the month, down from a 2010 high of 19.8 percent in February. Foreclosure resales continued to be high in most markets hit hardest by value declines, the company said.

Additionally, Zillow found that more than one-fourth — 26 percent — of the homes sold in June went for less than what the seller originally paid.

Great Testimonial!

This is one of the most difficult times of my life, and when you loose your home, on top of everything, it makes you feel humiliated too. Never once did I feel the staff didn’t treat me with the same respect they would of treated me if I was buying a home. Thank you again so very much, and when I buy another home, I will contact the Aladin group again. Thank You!
~The Crawford Family

How Bankruptcy Affects Short Sales & Vice Versa

By now, most Realtors are aware of many of the risks associated with short sales.  Either they know someone that has faced litigation or have read about problems that can arise from homeowners that either faced an unexpected foreclosure or who did not understand their deficiency or tax liability. 
Recently we have seen a new issue arise for some homeowners that completed a short sale before filing for bankruptcy.  The issue of concern is that a homeowner may no longer qualify for bankruptcy because the sale of their home lowered their debt ratio and, thus they became ineligible under the means test 11 U.S. C. 707. The means test compares the income against the expenses or debts of a homeowner and determines whether a homeowner is eligible to seek relief to discharge debt obligations under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding.
Residential mortgage debts are an expense which can be included in the means test. By including the residential mortgage debt in the analysis, the probability that a homeowner can qualify for bankruptcy is increased. By excluding or eliminating that debt, the probability of the homeowner to qualify for bankruptcy is decreased or, in some instances, eliminated altogether. So, if a homeowner intends to file for bankruptcy, a review of the homeowners eligibility under the means test should be completed by a qualified bankruptcy attorney before a homeowner is encouraged to complete a short sale.      
Another concern arises when a homeowner completes a short sale and then files for bankruptcy some years later.  Since the lender has up to six years after the close of escrow to file a deficiency lawsuit, it is possible that the lawsuit could come after the homeowner has been discharged from bankruptcy.  A bankruptcy attorney may not include the mortgage loan(s) that was involved with a completed short sale if a 1099 has been filed by the lender or if the homeowner fails to tell the attorney of the loans.  However, since the legal effect of a 1099 filing upon a homeowner’s deficiency liability is still in dispute under Arizona law, it is recommended that all loans from previously completed short sale transactions be included when filing bankruptcy, even if the short sale was completed several years prior (at least until the 1099 issue has been clearly settled by the courts).
Short sales are on the increase which means that it is a market segment that Realtors cannot ignore.  We hope this information helps you to avoid the pitfalls and makes you better prepared to handle these issues.