In late March the City Manager’s Trial Budget was released, making the city of Phoenix’s budget available to residents for community input. A series of Community Budget Hearings will be held throughout the city in April and input from these public hearings is key in developing Phoenix’s budget.

The February 2017 Five-Year Forecast projected that without any action, the city would have a General Fund budget deficit of $43 to $64 million for the upcoming fiscal year 2018-19, which would begin on July 1, 2018. The City Council worked with city staff and took several steps to lead to a projected balanced budget for the fiscal year 2018-19, assuming that no actions by the state change revenue from existing projections. The steps taken included accumulating one-time savings of $14.4 million in fiscal year 2016-17 and proactive steps in 2017-18 to reduce ongoing costs and to defer and reduce spending wherever possible.

Over the last few years the City Council has taken action to protect city services and led fiscal reform measures including:

• $134 million in efficiency and innovation savings since 2010

• 2,700 positions eliminated since fiscal year 2007-08; resulting in the smallest government per capita since 1970-71

• Consistently shoring up the contingency fund

• Balancing the deficit in the Public Safety funds without sworn layoffs and the planned hiring of more than 465 Police officers and 79 firefighters between now and the end of fiscal year 2018-19.

With this fiscal planning and early action, there are no budget cuts projected for fiscal year 2018-19. In addition, funding for part-time staffing for Fire Station No. 55 was incorporated into the budget. Firefighters began operations from “temporary” Fire Station No. 55 at the Marriott Residence Inn, using a four-person fire engine crew, seven days per week 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to respond to calls in the Norterra area in north Phoenix. Construction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter 2018-19 and funding to operate the station full time will be requested in the 2019-20 budget.

Although we are not anticipating any budget cuts to services, I encourage you to get involved in setting the city’s funding priorities and welcome you to attend a Community Budget Hearing to provide your input before the City Council votes to make a final decision. You can attend any hearing in any Council district that best fits your schedule. Visit phoenix.gov/budget for detailed information on the city’s budget and a complete list of Community Budget Hearings.

Following the Community Budget Hearings, input from residents is incorporated into the City Manager’s Proposed Budget and will be presented to the Phoenix City Council on May 8, the City Council is expected to make a decision on the budget on May 22. Formally, the City Council will consider final adoption of a budget-balancing plan on June 20. The approved plan will take effect July 1, 2018.

If you have any questions or comments, contact my office at council.district.1@phoenix.gov or call 602-262-7444.

Councilwoman Thelda Williams serves as the District 1 representative which encompasses north west Phoenix from Northern Avenue to New River Road; and the Interstate 17 to 67th Avenue.