We kick off a new series called "Central." We’ll be road tripping up Central Avenue, from South Mountain to North Mountain over the next few weeks.
Phoenix City Council Gives Initial Approval To Budget
Phoenix City Council gave initial approval Tuesday to a $1.2 billion budget for the next fiscal year starting in July. Despite a massive deficit, it does not cut any city services and speeds up efforts to hire firefighters and police officers.
Phoenix was facing a nearly $38 million shortfall and just a few months ago the city was reviewing plans to, among other things, close some community centers and public pools to reduce expenses.
Instead, council tentatively passed a budget that avoids those cuts.
But the council still has to vote on a series of proposals to generate revenues. They include a hike in parking meter rates, creation of a new nickel fee on plastic grocery bags and tacking a $1.50 on monthly water bills. Every city employee will also take a 1.6 percent pay cut to make ends meet.
Luis Schmidt is president of Phoenix AFSCME, a union representing thousands of city employees.
“Don’t put all the cuts on the employees. I know there’s some additional revenue. But it’s just frustrating for all of the employees, sworn and non-sworn, to be vilified,” Schmidt said.
Phoenix employees have taken pay cuts in five of the past six years. The city council narrowly passed the budget by a vote of five to four, but the measure won’t be finalized until June 18.