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City may opt for layoffs despite likely $22M boost

Citizen Staff Writer



Tucson City Manager Mike Hein pumped a lot of news into a single Monday memo: furloughs, layoffs and a $22 million jump from previous expectations in projected revenue for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The memo lays out spending targets for city departments in the next fiscal year.

Instead of $422 million for next year’s operating budget, the new number is $444 million to pay for services ranging from parks to police, with about 80 percent spent on payroll.

The difference between the projections includes $4.7 million in higher-than-expected sales tax and court fee collections, $6.7 million from a Rio Nuevo development loan repayment, $4 million in savings, $1 million from annexation and $5 million in “revenue enhancements to be determined.”

Among the techniques that will be used to make up the remaining shortfall are 12-day work furloughs for employees who do not work in public safety, increased employee benefit contributions and a $4 million cut to social service agency funding.

Public safety-related departments are being asked to cut spending by 2.5 percent. Other departments have a 7.1 percent savings target.

Sun Tran will get $4 million less than planned.

Add to that a massive reorganization of the city’s planning, zoning and permitting operations that Hein writes in a Friday memo will likely lead to about 30 layoffs and save the city about $2 million.

The reorganization would bring the city into closer alignment with Pima County’s development setup and disband the Urban Planning and Design Department.

Planning employees would be divided between two new merged departments: a Planning and Development Services Department and a Community Development Department.

Current Director of Development Services Ernie Duarte would lead the Planning and Development Services Department, and current Director of Urban Planning Albert ElĂ­as would head the Community Development Department.

The consolidations and layoffs would take effect July 1, Hein wrote.

Human Resources Director Cindy Bezaury said Tuesday laid-off employees would be notified in March.

The City Council has not formally signed off on the plan.

It is scheduled to discuss next fiscal year’s budget Feb. 24.

Tucson may opt for layoffs despite $22M jump in budget projection

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