City manager’s public budget forum due Feb. 24 in So. Tempe

South Tempe residents can join their neighbors in a public forum from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the South Tempe Police Substation to discuss City Manager Charlie Meyer’s proposal to balance the city’s General Fund budget in 2010-11 and beyond.

The Tempe City Council has begun considering the plan and will make final decisions this spring.

Meyer’s plan (available at www.tempe.gov/budgetplan) is based on $30 million in reductions and revenue-generating ideas put forward by the city’s department managers in late December. The current proposal includes a variety of cost-cutting and revenue-generating ideas for the council’s consideration.

Among the ideas are workforce reductions, reduced hours at city facilities, program eliminations and new fees for some services. The measures proposed in the plan address how the city could correct a $33.7 million deficit that, without intervention, would occur in 2010-11 and in each year for the foreseeable future.

Final Council approval of the budget will be in May. The 2010-11 fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2011.

The City Council has agreed to move forward with a May 18 General Election ballot measure asking residents if they want to approve a two-tenths of a cent sales tax increase beginning July 1. The Council directed that the ballot measure would have language stipulating that the tax would go away after four years, in order to allow time for recovery in the local economy.

Visit www.tempe.gov/budgetplan for Meyer’s full proposal, a recap of the fall 2009 budget process, a feedback form and access to the online comments submitted to date from employees and community members.

The south Tempe substation is at 8201 S. Hardy Drive. A similar public forum is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. at Escalante Center in the senior center at 2150 E. Orange St.

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