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Rural fire districts feel budget burn

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona's 156 rural fire districts are working with smaller budgets this year under a new state law limiting property valuations.

The Prescott Daily Courier reports a provision of a 2012 law kicked in this year, setting an annual 5-percent cap on property valuation increases. Opponents of the law said it would cost the state millions in lost property taxes, but supporters contend it forces fiscal responsibility.

The Chino Valley Fire District, for example, has a $300,000 budget cut this year.

Unlike government-run fire departments, rural pockets of Arizona are primarily served by fire districts funded through property taxes and subscriber fees.

Fire districts are also seeing greater retirement costs after a 2014 Supreme Court decision required the state to fund cost-of-living increases.

Information from: The Daily Courier, http://www.dcourier.com