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Phoenix Proposed Budget Adds Homeless Clean-Up, Pedestrian Safety Position

homeless encampment
Jackie Hai/KJZZ
A homeless encampment built on the edge of 33rd Avenue south of Buckeye Road in Phoenix.

After holding 15 community hearings, Phoenix’s city manager has tweaked his proposed budget.

Ed Zuercher is calling for a pilot project to clean-up homeless encampments. The idea comes about six months after the city launched “Phoenix C.A.R.E.S.," an outreach program that offers professional services to people experiencing homelessness.

Zuercher’s proposed budget would shift some funding from the solid waste department to cover full time clean-up of homeless encampments in neighborhoods, alleys and washes.

Budget Director Jeff Barton told council members the one-year project would be evaluated and, “If it does continue, we’ll have to either incorporate it into the solid waste rate or we’ll have to find additional resources to pay for this program.”

Zuercher’s proposal also adds a pedestrian safety coordinator, someone who would analyze pedestrian collisions and evaluate infrastructure improvements, educational opportunities and enforcement plans.

It also recommends expanding hours of Fire Station 55 which currently operates on a part-time schedule out of a hotel suite near Interstate 17 and Jomax Road to a 24/7 operation. The 14 new positions to cover full-time operations would be funded through the reallocation of existing overtime and other savings. Construction on the new station could begin later this year.

The final change in the city manager’s proposed budget recommends increasing funding for arts maintenance to $100,000. The funding would come from the general fund facilities maintenance budget.

Council members will have the final say on the city’s budget. A vote is expected on May 22.

News Business
As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.