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Phoenix Trial Budget: More Money For Police, Fire, Homeless
Public safety, homelessness and neighborhoods are among the top priorities in the Phoenix City Manager’s trial budget.
As Phoenix continues to hire more police officers, City Manager Ed Zuercher wants to add nearly 20 civilian positions to help speed up testing in gun cases and handle public records requests.
The Fire Department could see 8 new civilian positions to review building plans and conduct inspections. The trial budget also calls for adding four positions to support the city’s homeless outreach program, PHX C.A.R.E.S., which launched last November.
During Tuesday’s council policy session, Councilwoman Kate Gallego said it’s been hard to hear stories from residents and business owners impacted by homeless encampments.
“It is also equally hard to hear from individuals experiencing homelessness so I don’t want to in any way say we should not take that seriously and invest additional resources,” she said. “But as we are working to end homelessness we also need to make sure we take care of their people who are impacted most directly by it.”
The proposed budget also includes two new park ranger positions to enforce rules at flatland parks and provide additional support to PHX C.A.R.E.S. as it relates to homeless issues.
Resources for a sober living home licensing program, a priority for many neighborhood groups, is also part of the proposal, along with funding for the installation and maintenance of 750 trees.
The trial budget also calls for:restoring library branch hours to 48 hours per week which would be 67 percent of pre-recession hours; adding a project management position to oversee coordination and development of the Latino Cultural Center; and increasing funding by $30,000 for the Arts Grant Program, which would return it to pre-recession levels of $790,000.
The proposal will be shared and discussed at 15 public meetings across the city before the council’s scheduled vote in May.