Four new City Council members and Mesa’s new mayor begin their innings today with some final comments from their outgoing counterparts, a swearing-in ceremony and then the real deal — adopting a tentative budget.
While most of the number-crunching has been done by the previous council along with the city staff, it’s up to the incoming council to set the legal limit on city spending for 2008-09.
A tough economic situation and a grim outlook projecting further declines in sales tax revenue means Mesa has to operate a tight financial ship.
The planned $1.2 billion budget includes a proposal to cut more than 100 jobs and trim more than $16 million in city programs and services.
In an earlier report to the council, City Manager Chris Brady had noted sales tax revenue could be down 3.6 percent by June’s end compared to the previous fiscal year and said the downward trend will continue into 2008-09.
That’s a historic downturn for the city, the report noted, in that Mesa has not experienced a consecutive two-year period of decline in sales tax revenue in the last two decades.
Mayor-elect Scott Smith, replacing Keno Hawker, has indicated that the budget, as well as looking over a proposed $408 million bond issue, is going to be at the top of his mind in the near future.
A vice mayor will also be elected Monday night.
The new council members are Dave Richins, Alex Finter, Dennis Kavanaugh and Dina Higgins. Kavanaugh is the only new face with prior council experience.
They join Kyle Jones and Scott Somers, whose terms end in January 2011.
The council is expected to adopt the final budget June 23.