By Corey Woods

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On June 6, the Tempe City Council will vote to adopt the City’s budget for 2024/2025. Tempe’s budget is more than $1.5 billion this year. This includes the operating budget – used for daily expenditures – and the capital improvement budget – used for projects like water line improvements and city construction. Think of it like paying for weekly groceries versus paying to build a garden.

It’s not easy to determine how to best spend taxpayer dollars. Like with any budget, there are always more needs than there is cash. To help us make decisions, we reach out to the community. From December 2023 until the end of March 2024, people had the opportunity to tell us how they would spend a figurative $100 on city services. Hundreds of people participated. Their choices helped direct decisions. It was particularly important to hear from residents this year. The State of Arizona reduced Tempe’s budget significantly when it ended the ability for cities to charge a rental tax.

In our city, where about half of all residents rent, that means a reduction of $10 million in revenue this year and a loss of about $21 million next year. That means we have to make the most of the money we have and ensure we are budgeting with our community values in mind. The top budget priorities this year, based on community responses and input from Tempe City Council, included helping Tempe’s unsheltered, increasing the feeling of safety in our neighborhoods, improving the quality of neighborhood appearances by increasing code compliance and improving Tempe’s streets.

Tempe voters will have a chance to speed up our ability to pave streets in November. We estimate that it would cost $180 million to bring our city streets up to excellent condition over four years. The budget proposes bonding for these critical improvements through a bond authorization election. Without bond funding, it would take 15 more years. Waiting would not only result in bumpy streets for a substantially longer time, but repairs would likely cost significantly more.

If the bond election passes, residents can expect to see the first improvements by spring 2025. Also on that ballot will be an opportunity to approve $32 million in funds for affordable housing and historic preservation projects with total funding in excess of $12 million.

These align with what residents told us is important to them in the 2023 Community Survey and in budget outreach surveys. Your voice matters. This budget is a direct reflection of our city’s priorities – compassion, connection with neighbors and community pride.  

Corey Woods is the Mayor of Tempe



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