Ever-increasing employee costs and a slowdown in development fees are forcing Chandler officials to cut the city’s operating budget for next year.
Pat Walker, the city’s management services director, is recommending reducing the city’s budget for fiscal 2005-06 by 1 percent, or $1.2 million, and has asked department heads to start considering how they can make cuts.
"The bottom line is the expenditures are outpacing the revenues," she said.
Walker expects even leaner times in years to come as budget deficits are expected to become the norm. Part of the anticipated shortfall, she said, comes from increases in city retirement contributions and increased health-insurance costs, as well as money from developers decreasing as Chandler nears buildout.
Budget figures for the upcoming fiscal year are not yet available, but the current year’s budget passed by the City Council in May is $636.4 million, a nearly 5 percent increase from the previous year. As officials begin hammering out a budget, the City Council directed the staff to find a better way to include public input into the budgetplanning process. Instead of simply holding one all-day budget hearing for both the public and council members, three shorter public meetings will be held in early May.
"These will be more of an overview for the public, not an all-day meeting," Walker said.
Those community budget meetings are scheduled for:
• 6 p.m. May 2 at Shumway Elementary, 1325 N. Shumway Ave.
• 6:30 p.m. May 10 at Chandler Basha Library, 5990 S. Val Vista Drive.
• 6:30 p.m. May 11 at Chandler Sunset Library, 4930 W. Ray Road.
The council’s formal budget hearing is slated for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 16 in council chambers on the second floor of the Main Library, 22 S. Delaware St. Staff members plan to present a tentative budget to the council May 26, with adoption planned for June 9.