Tempe City Council holds first discussion on budget cuts due to impacts of coronavirus
Tempe, AZ – At its Regular Council meeting last night, the Mayor and City Council took the first step in reducing the size of the fiscal year 2020-21 budget in anticipation of lower tax revenues because of the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Councilmembers reviewed $14 million in identified adjustments to the city’s General Fund that are needed because tax revenues have fallen sharply since businesses were closed or had scaled-back operations due to the pandemic.
On June 11, the 2020-21 budget was approved by the Council and it represents the maximum spending for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Now cuts must be made to reduce the size of the budget to match anticipated revenues, which are expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels for an unknown amount of time.
Councilmembers listed several items that they would like to discuss more at an August Work Study Session. City staff will come back then with more information, so the Council can make decisions and approve budget adjustments at that meeting. The items for further review and discussion include proposed cuts in the areas of code enforcement, Tempe Beach Park custodians, AED equipment maintenance, recreation programs/classes at Kiwanis Recreation Center and multi-generational centers, desert park encampment cleanups, employee training and preventative maintenance of buildings.
The August discussion will be under the leadership of a different Mayor and Council. Mayor-Elect Corey Woods and Councilmember Doreen Garlid will take the oath of office July 2. At the August meeting, the Council also will consider reductions to the city’s Performing Arts Fund, Transit Fund and Highway User Revenue Fund. These funds also derive a significant portion of their revenues from taxes that have fallen sharply due to the economic impact of the pandemic.
Councilmembers said last night that evaluations about police and human services spending will require thoughtful, intensive analysis over many months, but that they have heard the voices of those community members who want to see changes. At any point during any given fiscal year, the city has the ability to transfer budget from one area of the city to another.
Tempe 11 video of last night’s discussion is here.
For more information about the formulation of the 2020-21 budget, as well as the pandemic-related budget adjustments, visit tempe.gov/BudgetPlan.
Media contact: Nikki Ripley, City of Tempe, 480-313-8850