Daily Archives: July 21, 2009

City of Phoenix’s development services department cut by 81

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix eliminated 923 positions in the latest round of general-fund budget cuts.  But City Manager Frank Fairbanks wrote the City Council last week that those reductions didn’t include 81 additional jobs that were cut from the Development Services Department.  The department, which enforces building codes and issues permits for residential and commercial property, operates under a cost-recovery model.  That means DSD relies on customer fees rather than public tax dollars. 

The need for the cuts is evident after reviewing the sharp drop in demand for permits.  During the construction boom, the city averaged about 1,500 single-family housing permits per month.  Phoenix granted builders just 35 in February, though demand has picked up slightly in recent months.  Only three people were laid off from DSD in the latest round; the other cuts were achieved by eliminating vacant positions or moving employees to other jobs in the city. 

The July reductions bring to 374 the number of positions that have been axed from the department since 2007, when it had a high of 578 employees, said spokesman Michael Hammett.  But less manpower doesn’t mean a decrease in service levels, Hammett assured.  “When someone comes in, we want to make sure we can serve them in a timely manner,” he said.  “That’s revenue, and that’s key.”  [Note: Read the full blog entry at City of Phoenix’s development services department cut by 81]

Award winning author offers up favorite Arizona trips

As part of United Airlines’ Hemispheres Magazine’s “Three Perfect Days” series, Peter Aleshire shares his favorite places in Phoenix, Arizona, and recommends the perfect three day itinerary for people visiting the city.

Epicurious.com returns to farmers’ markets nationwide (first stop, Phoenix)

[Source: PRNewswire] — For the second year in a row, Epicurious.com is hitting the road to visit farmers’ markets across the United States, offering seasonal recipes, advice from editors on using local ingredients, as well as free tote bags and gifts.  First stop: the Downtown Phoenix Public Market on Wednesday, July 22.

In seven of the country’s major cities, Epicurious.com editors will have a booth at select farmers’ markets, giving away recipes printed on reusable cards, based on ingredients that are currently in season at that market, such as green beans and summer squash in Phoenix, apricots and avocados in San Diego, and blueberries and tomatoes in Washington, DC.  To discover what’s available in your local farmers’ market at any time of the year, consult Epicurious.com’s interactive Seasonal Ingredient Map[Note: Read the full press release at Epicurious.com returns to farmers’ markets nationwide (first stop, Phoenix)]

5 court divisions for crime in Mesa appear on way out (to downtown Phoenix)

[Source: Jim Walsh, Arizona Republic] — Efforts to fight the move of Maricopa County Superior Court’s criminal divisions from Mesa to [downtown] Phoenix appear to have hit a brick wall.  Presiding Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell rejected Mesa Mayor Scott Smith’s idea of leaving one criminal division in Mesa or to delay her expedited consolidation plan for six months.  “It seems like they have made their decision,” Smith said.  “They’ll do what they do.”

Smith, longtime Mesa activist Milt Lee, and former County Supervisor Tom Freestone also worry that moving the five criminal divisions to Phoenix might be the first step toward the loss of additional county services in the southeast Valley.  When the Southeast Regional Facility was approved by voters in 1986 and opened in 1991, the idea was to create a one-stop shop that would bring county services closer to southeast Valley residents.  “I think they have a lot of people watching them to make sure they keep their commitment,” Smith said.

A key setback in efforts to block the move was that voters authorized the criminal-court consolidation in 2002 when they approved the extension of a jail tax that built the Fourth Avenue Jail and other facilities.  [Note: Read the full article at 5 court divisions for crime in Mesa appear on way out (to downtown Phoenix)]