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Tucson City Council talks '23 budget, honors fallen TPD officer

City council members Paul Cunningham and Kevin Dahl at Thursday's meeting.
Posted at 10:36 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 01:40:55-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Mayor Regina Romero and Tucson City Council are in the process of hashing out the ’22-’23 fiscal year budget, set to take effect July 1.

The proposed total budget from City Manager Michael Ortega comes to $2,057,599,710, about a 10 percent increase from 2022’s total of $1,862,342,690.

The exact allocations of that money are still being discussed.

Prop 411 passing this week means tens of millions will be spent on road repairs and safety improvements each year.

Those are some of the investments Ortega says the city can make with a $158 million dollar surplus, which he calls the culmination of years of effective planning.

“To have the opportunity and the flexibility that is built in today is pretty amazing, quite frankly,” he said during city council’s study session Thursday. “When some of you joined the council, you were talking about furloughs and layoffs and a variety of very difficult decisions. Today, the decisions really are around where we invest, where you invest.”

One thing Tucsonans are facing next year: a property tax hike, going from 1.31 to 1.43 — or roughly 143 dollars on a 100,000 dollar home.

The budget is scheduled for final approval on June 7th.

Honoring Hite

At Thursday’s meeting, city council moved to rename TPD’s Rincon Substation on the Eastside to honor fallen TPD officer Erik Hite, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2008.

Hite also served in the Air Force before that.

“He was an amazing husband and father,” said Nohemy Hite, Erik’s widow, who joined the meeting virtually. “And this is an amazing opportunity for our family to have his name on the very station where he worked every day.”

Tucson Police Chief Chad Kasmar spoke on behalf of the department at Thursday’s meeting.

“It’s important that our community moving forward, and our department—as we have a youthful agency and new members that come through our organization—never forget the sacrifice that Erik made that day, and that his family continues to make today,” he said.

The substation will be known as the “Erik D. Hite Eastside Substation.”

The formal re-naming will take place on June 2, the 14th anniversary of Hite’s death.