Queen Creek will chop spending by $100 million next fiscal year under a budget approved Wednesday by the Town Council.The council approved spending $134 million for the 2008-09 fiscal year starting July 1. This year's budget is nearly $230 million.
"This has been a particularly difficult process adjusting to the downturn in the regional economy," said Town Manager John Kross.
The council held a public hearing about the budget Wednesday, but no one spoke.
The town's capital improvement budget of $28 million took one of the most drastic hits. Assistant Town Manager Patrick Flynn said about 80 percent of that budget will be used to cover debt, but does include some projects for transportation, parks and dust-control measures.
Other major cuts include action taken during the current fiscal year - cutting 23 vacant positions and laying off 14 employees.
The town also reduced pay for salaried employees by 6.25 percent and instituted a 37.5-hour work week for hourly employees.
Queen Creek will also begin a four-day work schedule by closing Fridays beginning June 30.
Town officials say the measure will expand hours, making it more convenient for residents during the remaining four days.
Kross said the four-day week will also reduce energy, gas and personnel costs.
Queen Creek is adding to one area of its budget, the town's contingency fund, which puts aside about 10 percent of the budget in the event of a "further weakening of the economy," Kross said.