[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic blog] — Phoenix’s budget outlook just got a lot gloomier. In an e-mail to city employees Tuesday, City Manager David Cavazos said the budget shortfall for the current fiscal year and next fiscal year is a combined $245 million, or 22 percent of the general fund that pays for police and fire protection, libraries, and other basic services. That approaches the record $270 million that was cut last year from the budget, including a $156 million hit to city services.
Cavazos said the national recession and lagging tax revenues continue to hammer city coffers. Layoffs are almost certain. “Given the size of the shortfall, we will need to cut positions and unfortunately layoffs are anticipated,” he wrote in the e-mail. “Our people are our greatest asset and we are focused on holding positions vacant and reducing costs to minimize the impact on our employees, and in turn, the public we serve.”
All city departments have submitted proposed budget reductions of up to 30 percent. Public safety departments submitted 15 percent in proposed cuts. After reviewing those proposal, Cavazos will present his proposed budget to the City Council on Feb. 2. Community members will be able to attend public budget hearings through the month of February, with a council vote taking place in early March. [Note: Read the full blog posting at City of Phoenix’s budget shortfall hits $245M.]