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Save or spend $80 million in city budget? Phoenix residents weigh in

Phoenix leaders will have to decide whether to save tens of millions to address future budget shortfalls or spend money on items some residents are pushing for. 

Phoenix City Manager Jeff Barton wants the council to save an estimated $80 million surplus in the next fiscal year to address expected shortfalls the following two years. The shortfalls are due to the state moving to a flat income tax and banning cities from collecting sales tax on residential rents. 

During Tuesday’s council meeting, Sebastian Del Portillo with Unemployed Workers United asked that the surplus be spent on adding water fountains outdoors and supporting people facing evictions.

“So, we demand funding for the right to counsel on evictions, to provide fair trials, due process in eviction court, keeping our communities housed and giving them a chance to remain safe and stable, out of the fatal heat,” he said.

Viri Hernandez, with Poder in Action, pushed for more housing options for the most vulnerable.

“What is best for the city is for people to stay alive and for people to stay sheltered. And those are priorities that we should have in this budget — $80 million could be critical life-saving resources,” she said.

Meetings will be held to gather community input in April. The council is expected to vote in May. 

Residents can also offer feedback by emailing [email protected] and by calling 602-262-4800. All comments are compiled and shared with council members.

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