The city manager’s proposed budget no longer includes closures of city community centers, but it does include employee concessions and $11 million in additional revenue for the city.
Mario Paniagua, the city’s budget and research director, said the additional revenue would be gathered through changes to the city’s parking meters, raising pass fees for community centers, and a $1.50 per month fee on each city water bill. The concessions (a 1.6 percent cut for 2014-15 and .9 percent for 2015-16) have been negotiated with city labor groups and will save the city $16 million. Not all labor groups have agreed to take those cuts to total compensation.
Paniagua presented the new proposed budget, which is a new version since the trial budget that was released in April, to the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce on Friday, May 2. The proposed budget was scheduled to be presented to the City Council on May 6.
The trial budget did not explore any ways to bring in new revenue. Those ideas had to be presented later on and must be online for 60 days before they can be accepted by the council. In April, the council voted to explore ways to increase revenue. The proposed budget includes some of those ideas.
The first idea would be to run parking meters more like a business with variable rates. Meters in spots with high demand would have a higher cost than those on the edge of downtown.
The second idea would be to increase fees for passes to community centers. This idea was mentioned by the public several times during the public budget hearings, Paniagua said. The third idea is to add a $1.50 fee to the monthly city water bills. The fee is not a tax on water usage. It is being placed on the water bill as an efficient way for the city to collect that fee.
The new proposed budget also resumes public safety hiring, Paniagua said.
The proposed budget will be presented to the City Council on May 6 and will be voted on for approval on May 20. For more information, visit phoenix.gov/budget.
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