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City officials announce Phoenix on path to a balanced budget
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City officials announce Phoenix on path to a balanced budget

PHOENIX — Despite a projected budget deficit of up to $52 million for the upcoming fiscal year, Phoenix city leaders announced Wednesday they are on the path to breaking even.

City Manager Ed Zuercher’s tentative general fund budget is balanced at $1.1 billion.

Zuercher said it was not easy and the city council had to make some tough decisions.

“First thing was to negotiate labor contracts that gave us some savings,” Zuercher said. “In December, the council cut about 160 vacant positions and the costs with those positions out of the budget.”

Zuercher said those decisions are paying off quite literally: The budget is balanced without cuts to public services or increases in taxes or fees.

Among other measures, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and the city council have ended pension spiking for city employees, which is expected to save the city $233 million over the next 20 years.

Councilwoman Laura Pastor said city council members have a duty to be responsible with taxpayer dollars while keeping essential services in mind.

“I firmly believe budgets should reflect priorities, and in this case, a city striving to be innovative, competitive and safe,” Pastor said in a press release.

Stanton said balancing the budget was a team effort.

“The city council made hard choices, and city employees have been great partners by using innovative thinking to find savings and keep our finances in check,” Stanton said in the press release.

KTAR News’ Cooper Rummell contributed to this report.