A Message from Mike Letcher, Tucson City Manager:
Tucson is a wonderful city. We have the highest quality of life and place of any city I’ve ever known. But like other cities across America, Tucson is facing hard times. Our citizens are dealing with serious economic difficulties. This recession is affecting everyone.
The bottom-line effect for the City of Tucson is this: City revenues have dropped. But demand for City services has not.
Here are some specifics. The City is experiencing unprecedented revenue shortfalls. The current City budget included $67 million in revenue reductions and only raised $17 million in new revenues. Therefore, our total general fund budget was reduced by a net $50 million, from about $470 million to $420 million.
What did the City do to address the deficit? Difficult management decisions were made at all levels to prioritize diminishing resources and to make strategic cuts in non-essential areas. And because we focused upon controlling expenditures and taking corrective actions last year, we were able to avoid major reductions in public safety budgets, wide-scale layoffs and drastic cuts in service delivery to our citizens.
But now we face an additional $46 million to $64 million budget deficit next year. Therefore the choices we face will be even more difficult and the potential solutions–more revenues or more cuts–will present a greater strain on our community.
This is why the Mayor and Council and I are asking you for your input.
Please join us for one of our Citizen Dialogues being held across Tucson. Or you can review the same information presented at the Dialogue meetings here on this website. We are presenting to our citizens in great detail the situation we face.
Once you review the information, we respectfully ask that you give us your ideas on how to address our budget deficit by answering the following questions:
- With fewer revenues to pay for city services, which services would you maintain and which would you cut?
- Would you recommend additional resources or revenues? And if so, what should they be used for?
- What long-term strategies will help put the City of Tucson in a stronger position in the future?
Your input will help set the course of our city’s future.
No one can predict with any certainty when this current recession will end. But what we do know is that Tucsonans appreciate candor and transparency. I have no doubt that if we can address these challenges head-on then this generation and future generations of Tucsonans will enjoy an even better quality of life and place than we enjoy today.