SHOW LOW – Show Low adopted the new fiscal year 2020 budget for July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 which totals nearly $52.6 million. This year’s total is down $6 million from fiscal year 2019.

The two major areas that the city spends its money on are capital projects and city personnel. Both have remained pretty much the same as last year.

“Our fiscal position has remained strong by making significant operational and long-term adjustments over the last few years,” wrote Administrative Services Director Justin Johnson in the city’s 2019 July-September quarterly newsletter.

Overall, actual expenditures were generally less than what was budgeted, explained Johnson during the June 18 regular council meeting. He added that the trend showed that staff “did a good job under-spending the budget.”

Expenditures by type break down as follows: 29 percent for capital expenses, 32.7 percent for personnel, 23.8 percent for operational, 4.6 percent for debt service, 9.3 percent in reserves and 0.5 percent for contingency/Capital Improvements Program (CIP) reserves.

“Unlike many cities, Show Low does not have a general property tax. Instead, we rely on sales tax revenues, state-shared revenues and user fees to fund the city’s operations and programs,” Johnson wrote.

During the fiscal year the city anticipates collecting an additional $41.7 million through taxes, utility fees and grants. Of that $41.7 million, $10.5 million is raised from the local city sales tax generated by purchases made at local businesses.

Other revenue sources include sales tax, utility fees, grants and state-shared revenues which are allocated to the city based on the state’s population estimates which have ranged from 11,377 to 11,098.

City projects

Show Low is known for its consistently healthy reserve balances which are used, in part, to complete capital improvement projects.

This year, $14.2 million has been allocated for capital projects, ($2.3 million of which is grant funded). Last year was somewhat higher, with $19.4 million allocated for capital improvement.

This year, $1.6 million has been set aside for future capital projects, and $2.9 million held in reserve as a “rainy day” fund, also according to the budget overview provided by the Johnson.

Key projects already completed or in progress include $3.2 million budgeted for water system improvements including the replacement of about 3,800 linear feet of six-inch line with eight-inch PVC line including new fire hydrants and services. Water lines were also upgraded in Fairway Park, water storage tanks were improved as well as backup generators for wells. The water line was replaced in Sierra Vista (Reidhead), South Cub Lake Road and on West Cooley and parts of McNeil.

Roadway improvements include $4.8 million milling and overlaying roads in the Sierra Vista Subdivision, completing the East Thornton Road extension. And, pending grant approval, a project is planned to install 2,600 linear feet of roadway on Joe Tank Road with draining crossings and ribbon curb. In addition, sidewalks will be added on several areas of McNeil.

Show Low Regional Airport projects include a pavement improvement project on the south apron.

Kids and families will be happy to hear that a new double zipline will be added to Show Low City Park and the Old Pavilion will be upgraded. Also, the carpet will be replaced at the City Campus Gymnasium.

Public safety is “our largest expense,” says Johnson. “We estimate the city will spend nearly $8.7 million in fiscal year 2020 on public safety activities.”


“… we anticipate spending approximately $45 million this fiscal year,” explains Johnson. “The variation comes from our reserves, savings and the estimated grant amount in the adopted budget total. In actuality, the city never spends all of these funds.”

A copy of the final budget is available online at the city’s website at Direct questions to Justin Johnson, Administrative Services Director at 928-532-4024.


Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

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