TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - During the Mayor and Council's study session on Tuesday, City Manager Michael Ortega presented his final budget recommendation.
This comes after months of discussion to create a balanced budget for the next fiscal year. In December, the projected deficit for fiscal year 2016 - 17 was more than $42 million.
Ortega's recommendation includes significant cuts to the Tucson Police Department, which have been widely publicized. It includes setting a lower staffing level for police department staff. TPD has decided to move 78 officers from the Operations Division Downtown, and transfer about 70 officers from special assignments back to patrol.
The Tucson Fire Department has proposed to eliminate 14 vacant commissioned positions and re-assign eight existing fire inspectors to support operational needs. They will also re-classify 13 paramedic positions to firefighters, and omit a paramedic class to reduce overtime.
Ortega has also proposed changes to the Transportation Department to save money. One recommendation is to reduce late night streetcar service and eliminate paper transfers. Thursday night service could end at 10 p.m. instead of 2 a.m.., and service on Friday and Saturday nights could end at midnight instead of 2 a.m.
The city manager also recommended increasing transit fairs by $0.10 over the next fiscal year and $0.15 in fiscal year 2017 - 18. Those changes will need to go through equity analysis and public comment before they are implemented.
The manager recommends cuts to various departments, many times eliminating already vacant positions.
There was much discussion previously on a proposal to close pools during the winter time and cut KIDCO Programs during the summer. Those are not in the manager's final recommendation.
For the Parks and Recreation Department, the manager recommends a $1 fee increase at the Reid Park Zoo. Ortega also recommends minimizing the number of adjustments to operation hours at recreation centers across the city.
Budget discussions will continue in the next few months. There will be a public hearing on May 3, and the council will adopt the tentative budget on June 17. The final public hearing will be on June 7.