During a lengthy council workshop Sept. 25, council discussed its long list of potential cuts should the 7/10th of 1 percent sales tax be repealed during the general election this November.

The proposed temporary sales tax increase was passed by council in June to help generate revenue to pay for the city’s estimated $32 million deficit. The tax, which went into effect Aug. 1, is scheduled to sunset in 2017, is estimated to generate $22 million annually.

An outcry of business owners and residents soon followed, protesting the sales tax increase and pursued placing the decision on the ballot for the coming election. City staff and council contend if the sales tax does not pass, many severe cuts will have to be made to core services residents rely on.

Some of the most noted cuts discussed were:

· Eliminating all of the city’s downtown festivals, including Glendale Glitters, Glitter and Glow, The Chocolate Affaire, and the Jazz and Blues Festival.

· Closing the Rose Lane Aquatic Center.

· Closing the Foothills and Velma Teague libraries.

· Shutting down the city’s TV station and online videos, to no longer broadcasting public meetings.

· Eliminating a total of 258 employee positions within the city.

· Reducing firefighter staff and fire inspectors.

· Reducing police staff and graffiti response teams.

· Closing three GRASP after-school youth programs.

Vice Mayor Steve Frate pleaded with the audience and voters to rethink their decision in not supporting the sales tax increase.

“We’re talking about 7/10ths of a penny,” he said. “Bottom line is jobs and core services will be cut. Do any of us want to cut these things? No. I stand behind my vote. I care about this city.”

“I don’t believe any of these festivals make or break a small business." -- Councilmember Yvonne Knaack

Frate even suggested that outside agencies not located in Glendale paid companies to collect signatures from non-Glendale residents, opposing the sales tax increase.

Frate and councilmembers contended they were not being flooded with phone calls and e-mails from residents saying they did not support the sales tax increase.

Councilmember Lieberman said he believed the downtown festivals were vital to the survival of small businesses and the surrounding area.

“We have to keep what we are known for,” he said. “Glitter and Glow and the Chocolate Affaire bring people to Glendale.”

Mayor Elaine Scruggs suggested keeping most of the festivals, but eliminating the Blues and Jazz Festival.

“I support keeping festivals that generate revenue,” she said. “Glendale Glitters, Glitter and Glow, and the Chocolate Affaire.”

Councilmember Yvonne Knaack offered an even more stringent option.

“If we are going to cut, then we need to cut,” she said. “I don’t believe any of these festivals make or break a small business."

Interim Police Chief Deborah Black illustrated the cuts that would need to be made to her department should the sales tax not go through.

· Reduction of an added 186 positions from police, fire, and the city courts.

· Elimination of 19 sworn officers and 47 civilian officers from the police department.

Black said the cuts would dramatically alter the forensic program, sex offender notifications, downtown patrol, and security offered during public meetings, as well as response time of police officers on call.

Scruggs asked Black what the estimated cost was per officer’s uniform. Black informed council one of several outfits officers are required to buy costs anywhere from $250 to more than $300, including the tie, uniform, shoes, etc. Officers are currently budgeted $1,000 per year as an allowance for purchasing uniforms.

Scruggs suggested that departments consider having officers pay for their own uniforms out of pocket if it meant saving 19 jobs of their fellow officers.

“I don’t know of any other city employees who have their clothes paid for,” she said.

Councilmember Clark and Yvonne Knaack also suggested Black’s department looking into outsourcing and privatizing the care of city, sanitation, and police vehicles, to save money. They even suggested closing the servicing station if it meant saving money.

Clark reminded the audience that even with or without the Coyotes deal secured, there would still be $24 million that would need to be trimmed from the budget. The city has less than one week, until the deadline, to see if potential team buyer, Greg Jamison, will agree to the management agreement with the NHL.

“Nothing in this budget is sacred,” she warned. “We have nothing left. We are not bringing in enough revenue to meet expenditures.”

Clark also suggested looking into closing the Glendale Adult Center in an attempt to save money spent on keeping the center open.