Phoenix city government cuts $270 million in spending

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Shorter library hours.  Fewer after-school programs.  Senior center and swimming pool closures.  Less money for homeless shelters and the arts.  The Phoenix City Council’s decision Tuesday to cut spending by $270 million, including $156 million in services, signals the start of tougher times for residents and employees as the city tries to cope with a national recession and its largest budget deficit in history.

On a unanimous vote, council members passed the city’s fiscal 2009-10 general-fund budget, a $1.2 billion spending plan that pays for basic services like police, parks, and road repairs.  The cuts will take effect March 2 so that savings can be realized before the July 1 start of the fiscal year.  Because the city recently discovered addition revenue, the council was able to restore about $6.5 million to pay for some of the most serious proposed cuts. 

But the reductions still will hurt.  Among them, about 1,090 city positions, from secretaries and attorneys to park rangers, will be eliminated, requiring as many as 50 layoffs.  Dozens of after-school program sites will be closed.  And the Luke Krohn and Senior Services East senior centers will be shut down.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.  To review the final budget, click here.]

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