[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]