Phoenix city manager proposes $114 million to boost employee pay
Phoenix city manager Jeff Barton released his $1.9 billion general fund trial budget Tuesday, suggesting the city use most of its anticipated $134 million surplus to raise employees wages.
- The trial budget is considered the starting point in the budget process. Council members will likely make changes before adopting it in June.
- Barton attributes the city's staffing problem to the tight labor market and below-market wages.
State of play: Phoenix expects to generate enough city tax revenue to continue all services in the current year's budget plus $134 million for the council to spend as it chooses.
By the numbers: Barton recommended about $5 million of the surplus be held as contingency for future needs and the remaining money go toward:
- $114 million for increased employee compensation to recruit and retain staff in critical services;
- $7.4 million to continue programs that help low-income families, crime victims, people experiencing homelessness and people with behavioral health issues;
- $3.8 million for 31 new fire department positions and other public safety needs;
- $2.8 million to expand the city's gated alleyway program, support local performing arts programs, hire overnight park rangers and increase security at libraries.
What they're saying: Multiple council members said they want city staff to evaluate its homeless services budget to determine if more money is needed, or if existing funding could be re-allocated to help more people.
What's next: The city will host 11 community budget hearings between April 3-15.
- Barton's trial budget set aside $1 million of the surplus for ideas generated at the hearings.
What we're watching: Two new council members, Kesha Hodge Washington and Kevin Robinson, will be inaugurated before the council votes on the budget this summer.
- We're curious to see how and whether their priorities make it into the city's annual financial plan.
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