Continuing to build on the economic success the city has seen the past few years, Glendale councilmembers approved the fiscal year 2019-20 budget June 11.
During that same meeting, officials approved a decrease in property and secondary tax rates.
The budget, which totals $736 million, is a 6.8% increase over the prior year’s $689 million budget. The increase is mainly attributable to the capital plan, which includes a major expansion of the Pyramid Peak Water Treatment Plant for which the city of Peoria is paying.
With the passing of the FY 19-20 budget, city officials hope to align the budget with the strategic plan, ensure resource allocation is aligned with city council priorities, and include numerous initiatives dealing with the perspectives of citizens.
“To all citizens, you can assure that this city is being good stewards of your tax dollars and are focused on driving value for customers. That is the fundamental difference between success and failure,” City Manager Kevin Phelps said.
Phelps pointed to $236 million earmarked for the city’s operating budget, which provides police, fire, jail, emergency medical, 9-1-1 and other vital services for citizens.
“If we take that $236 million of operating budget and divide it by our estimated populations, which as of 2018 was 247,804, we spend approximately $952 per year, per capital, for all those services for citizens,” Phelps said. “Basically, that is $80 per month.”
While the budget passed six to one, Barrel Councilman Bart Turner was the lone dissenting vote.
“One month ago I voted no on this budget because it is more that just allocating dollars to departments. We are creating three new staff positions — two deputy city managers and a senior staff position — in the city manager office,” Turner said. “It is a month later and we have not gotten any job descriptions, salary range or their responsibility or qualifications for those positions.”
Turner argued against Phelps adding the deputy city managers, one to focus on police and fire, with the second to focus on public affairs and special projects.
“The votes are obviously here to pass this budget, and I would not vote against it if I thought it would not pass,” Turner said. “But, without knowing what those positions are and their responsibility, with that I will vote no.”
Other councilmembers, however, praised staff for the new budget. They are already eyeing future budgets.
“In those future budget years, we need to look at what we already have before we start investing in new amenities for other parts of the city,” Ocotillo Councilman Jamie Aldama said. “I want to maintain the integrity of all the districts citywide, but we do need to get back to the equality services for other communities in the city.”
As for the tax rate changes, propery taxes decreased from $0.4407 to $0.4144 per $100 of assessed valuation.
The secondary tax rate, which pays for capital expenditures, will be reduced from $1.5357 to $1.4441 per $100.
“It is kind of unheard of a city decreasing a tax rate,” Sahuaro Councilman Ray Malnar said. “This really shows this council is committed to keeping the citizens taxes down.”