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Pinal County Board denies Babeu's request for staff pay raises

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has lost his bid to get his employees a raise. The Board of Supervisors  on Wednesday passed a scaled-back $374 million budget that denied the sheriff’s request.

Another year of tight revenues because of reduced state funding and lower property values meant that Pinal County Supervisors had to cut spending by $7 million in the new budget that starts July 1.

Despite the shortfall, Babeu asked for a nearly $3 million increase so he could hire more deputies and provide pay hikes, plus holiday pay to his staff members who have not seen a raise in five years. 

But County Supervisor Pete Rios said the sheriff’s proposal wasn’t based in fiscal reality. 

“If we’re going to look at pay equity for deputy sheriffs then we need to look at it for all county employees. We don’t want to do this piecemeal,” Rios said.

Instead, the $3 million Babeu wanted is going to pave dirt roads. Pinal County has had to pay hefty fines to the EPA for dust violations. The budget got initial approval and is expected to receive a final vote in the next week or two.