Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Council passes budget cut plan, still has $5M hole to fill

The City Council adjourned to executive session after passing City Manager Mike Letcher’s budget cutting plan, though without a rental tax.

Council members Rodney Glassman and Steve Kozachik voted against the measure. Councilwoman Regina Romero had a baby yesterday and was not at the meeting.

The result is that the $32 million budget hole for this fiscal year has been filled with roughly $27 million in cuts and revenue enhancements.

Letcher must come back to the council next week with his ideas to cut the remaining amount, which is just under $5 million.

At the same time, new councilman Steve Kozachik has given him several pages of suggestions for other budget cuts and wants Letcher to study them and tell them how much they total. Letcher says he can’t get that done by next week, to which Kozachik offered to help.

The council will take up the budget again this evening at its regular meeting. That meeting was scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. but may start later because the council still has several items on its study session agenda to get through.

Hundreds of people were expected for the regular session, many of whom expected to address the council during call to audience or a public hearing to express their opposition to the rental tax or police and fire layoffs.

But that issue is mostly moot now because the council has once again folded in the face of community opposition to a rental tax, vowing not to pass one. Former City Manger Mike Hein brought a rental tax to the council last year but it was rejected by the council, which then followed that by rejecting Hein, firing him in a split vote a few weeks later.

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