I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year! The district I represent covers the area from the Paradise Valley border south of Shea, north along Scottsdale Road to Carefree Highway, west across to I-17, and drops back down. There are eight council districts and we each represent about 200,000 or so residents. That’s much bigger than many other Valley cities and towns.
We’re pretty spread out because of all the state trust land in our area and that poses unique challenges when it comes to infrastructure. For example, we have more miles of streets than the other districts. Of the 5,000 miles of city streets, we have 705.
As a council member, I’m basically part of a board of directors; we hire a City Manager to be our CEO, and he or she hires the 14,000 city employees who provide the backbone for our city services and infrastructure. That includes the police department and fire department, whose members make up about 65 percent of the workforce.
The city of Phoenix staff run such diverse operations, such as Sky Harbor Airport, the Water and Public Works departments, our library and parks systems, and the Phoenix Suns Arena. Our overall budget is roughly $4.5 billion every year.
Obviously, in these trying times, we’ve had our challenges. I’m doing everything possible to ensure our police force has what they need to protect us all. Unfortunately, even though the city has raised the police budget, recruitment and retention of officers has become a major issue. Our 2,750 officers make approximately 1.2 million contacts with the public every year. They carry a heavy burden, and they deserve our respect and support. If you get the opportunity, please thank our officers for the sacrifices they make on our behalf.
I look forward to what this year will bring and wish you a happy 2022!
Councilman Jim Waring will be contributing regular articles on city issues pertinent to our readers. To learn more, visit phoenix.gov/district2.