The Phoenix City Council has given the green light to several proposals aimed at closing the city's $38 million budget gap. The city will now impose several increased fees on parking, senior centers and residents' water bills.
"This is part of the bigger plan to solve the budget," said Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher.
By a consistent vote of 6-3 on all three measures, the Phoenix City Council approved raising senior center membership fees from $10 to $20, and instituting variable rate pricing on downtown parking meters.
Those higher parking rates are aimed at, "keeping parking turning over so that businesses can use it for having more customers coming in," Zuercher added.
Council members also passed a new tax residents will see on their water bills. Beginning July 17, the city will add a $1.50 "city services tax" on most bills.
"There was a sunset on the food tax," said councilman Bill Gates. "I am not supporting raising parking rates cause this does not have a sunset."
Wednesday's action comes a day after the city's parks board approved several proposals to help close the budget gap. Adults will pay more for membership fees at recreation centers, sports leagues will now pay a fee to use fields at local parks as well as a fee for field lighting.
But some do support city ideas when it comes to closing that budget deficit.
"The majority of business owners that we have talked to support this," said David Roderique with the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.
Wednesday's meeting marks the end of a long budget road this year. One that councilman Daniel Valenzuela hopes the city doesn't go down again.
"Our residents deserve better, our employees deserve better," he said. "We shouldn't find ourselves in a position like this again."
That market-rate parking in downtown Phoenix, as its being called by city officials, goes into effect in November. The increased senior center fees kick in with next year's passes.
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