Phoenix city manager wants $114 million in budget surplus to go to employees

By Christina Estes
Published: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - 7:54am
Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - 8:12am

Thanks to high inflation generating more sales tax revenue, a one-time boost in state shared income tax revenues and savings from unfilled positions, Phoenix has a budget surplus of $134 million. City Manager Jeff Barton wants most of the surplus to go to employees.

Back in the 1990s Barton said, Phoenix was the premiere hiring entity in Arizona, “And our employees, they were very prideful of working for the city of Phoenix. We lost that.”

And they lost employees. Last year, Phoenix couldn’t keep up with trash collection. And the city is falling short in its plan to reach more unhoused people experiencing mental health and substance abuse problems because they don't have enough caseworkers

garbage truck moving down road
City of Phoenix
City of Phoenix solid waste truck.

Barton wants to council to devote 85% of the budget surplus — almost $115 million — to address compensation

“It shows the value that you, and that we have, in our city of Phoenix employees,” he said during a Tuesday meeting.

Phoenix’s overall vacancy rate is 17%. Results of a citywide compensation study are expected to be released in the next several weeks before council members vote on a budget.

In June 2022, the City Council voted to make the Phoenix Police Department the highest-paid law enforcement agency in Arizona. Pay for police recruits and officers increased $20,000 annually. Sergeants’ pay increased $30,000; lieutenants close to $50,000. 

Residents can learn more about the city manager’s trial budget and share input by emailing [email protected] or calling 602.262.4800. Eleven budget hearings will be held in person and broadcast on the city’s Facebook page and YouTube channels in April.

Hearing schedule

  • District 6, Monday, April 3, at 8:30 a.m.
    Devonshire Senior Center, Multipurpose Room
    2802 E. Devonshire Ave.

  • District 2 and 3, Monday, April 3, at 6 p.m.
    Paradise Valley Community Center Multipurpose Room
    17402 N. 40th St.

  • District 3, Tuesday, April 4, at 8:30 a.m.
    Shadow Mountain Senior Center
    3546 E. Sweetwater Ave.

  • District 5, Tuesday, April 4, at 6 p.m.
    Washington Activity Center, Building B Multipurpose Room
    2240 W. Citrus Way 

  • District 1, Thursday, April 6, at 8:30 a.m.
    Cholla Library
    10050 N. Metro Parkway E.

  • Bilingual Community-wide, Monday, April 10, at 6 p.m.
    Maryvale Community Center, Multipurpose Room
    4420 N. 51st Ave.

  • District 7, Tuesday, April 11, at 8:30 a.m.
    Desert West Community Center
    6501 W. Virginia Ave.

  • Youth Community-wide, Tuesday, April 11, at 6:00 p.m.
    Central High School Student Union
    4525 N. Central Ave.

  • District 4, Wednesday, April 12, at 6:00 p.m.
    Steele Indian School Park, Memorial Hall
    300 E. Indian School Road

  • District 8, Thursday, April 13, at 6:00 p.m.
    South Phoenix Youth Center
    5245 S. 7th St.

  • Arts Community-wide, Saturday, April 15, at 10:00 a.m
    South Mountain Community College, Library Community Room
    7050 S. 24th St. 

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