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Phoenix City Council Gets Earful From Maryvale Residents On Budget Surplus
Phoenix City Council members heard strong and varied opinions on how to spend the city's upcoming budget surplus during a meeting in Maryvale on Wednesday night.
The surplus is $2.9 million for the next fiscal year. In his trial budget, the city manager proposed putting $510,000 of that into more staff for the Phoenix Police Department.
Kate Tutaya with the group Center for Neighborhood Leadership (CNL) said “doing right by the police union every year, increasing money for the union and officers” was the wrong priority.
“You have many members from the community here who are [asking you], please invest in the things that prevent crime, that make us safe, that give us a safe community," said Tutaya.
CNL wants the city to create a fund for families that need counseling after what they call “police violence,” and a legal defense fund for immigrants whose local cases end up in immigration proceedings.
Later in the meeting, Maryvale resident Vickie Jaquez with the Tomahawk Village Block Watch urged critics to enroll in the Citizens Police Academy to learn more about the work of officers.
“I believe that we still do need more police officers,” Jaquez said. “The training that they receive is not all bad. They protect us, and they have to go home and in some cases, they don’t go home.”
Members of the Phoenix police and fire departments made their cases for additional officers and firefighters. Councilmembers Laura Pastor, Daniel Valenzuela and Michael Nowakowski attended, along with City Manager Ed Zuercher.
The Maryvale budget hearing was one of 15 around the city before the council votes on the budget in May.