Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

For the second year in a row Glendale’s budget has topped a billion dollars. It reflects the current economic status of many other Valley cities such as Chandler, Tempe and Peoria, all showing a total budget of at least a billion dollars.

The city’s budget is based on several council-identified priorities. The first is Sustainability. We continue to invest in infrastructure. Just as we focused on our streets after years of inattention, we are employing the same philosophy to our parks as we make major investments in our parks to replace and maintain equipment in or serving our park system. Perhaps the most important focus in terms of infrastructure is maintaining our water capabilities and redundancy of systems. As we move into a Stage 1 drought declaration Glendale is in very good shape. No Valley City can exclusively rely upon Central Arizona Project (CAP) water which comes from Lake Mead and the Colorado River. Our portfolio includes Salt River Project water and SRP’s water reservoirs are about 77% full. But that is not all, the city has a portfolio of wells and it will be refurbishing 3 wells over the next 2 years. It also has been banking water underground. The city’s water doesn’t come from just one source. It is a blend of CAP, SRP, wells and ground water storage. We have also entered into Intergovernmental Agreements with Phoenix and Peoria and are now building interconnects so that should there be a water emergency among any one of the three cities, the other two will now be able to share water.

A second priority is Public Safety. Over half (61% or $158 million) of the city’s General Fund budget (total of $255 million) goes to Police and Fire. This city council is a strong advocate for Public Safety and is adding 10 new positions in Public Safety.

A third area is Economic Development. Continued growth of the city’s economic portfolio is essential as it provides funding for many of the amenities our citizens want and enjoy. One of the city’s trademarks has been its provision of “speed to market” for many developers. As our explosion of economic growth continues the city finds it must add new building inspectors, an architect, engineers, and project managers. The council continues to demonstrate its commitment to downtown Glendale by authorizing a $70 million investment in the renovation of City Hall, Council Chambers, the city hall parking structure, Murphy Park and the Amphitheater. As the city embarks on this project it is experiencing renewed interest by developers who are taking a second look at downtown and exploring development possibilities. Over the next few years expect to see the development of vacant parcels as well as new users of vacant buildings. All happening as a result of our investment in the downtown city hall campus.

The last, but certainly not least, priority is Neighborhoods. Sustaining and improving the quality of life for all residents. Projects that have begun or will begin after July 1, 2022 include improvements at the Main Library, replacement of playground equipment, irrigation and lighting at multiple parks, the addition of 8 splash pads and continued pavement management. There are 2 projects slated for Heroes Park. One is an expansion of the community meeting space at Heroes Library from accommodating 30 people to 75 persons. The other is building the ballfields in the northeast corner of Heroes Park.

Just as inflation is killing the family budget as the price of everything continues to increase relentlessly, so, too, is the city’s operating budget experiencing the same inflationary pressures. Everything is costing more from contract prices for all kinds of services, utilities, supplies and fuel. The city has been proactive in anticipating increased costs except for fuel. The prices rise dramatically week over week with no ceiling predicted. This will be one of the issues which council will have to address.

Another issue is the difficulty all Valley cities are facing in filling employee positions. In an attempt to attract well qualified employees, the city will give a 5% Cost of Living Increase (COLA) beginning July 1st. Currently the city is looking to fill 59 new positions, in every field from Public Safety to Parks personnel to Code Inspectors to Sanitation and Technology workers. We need you. If you want a good paying job with generous benefits you should be applying for a job with the City of Glendale.

Keep in mind that this is the single most important responsibility of the city council.  There are always competing needs between city staff and city council as well as between city councilmembers. Some needs are more compelling despite our advocacy for a specific project. For example, I did not get funding for the rehabilitation of 83rd Avenue between Northern and Glendale Avenues. However, staff is prepared to submit the project for federal funding should it become available.

I hope you have gained some insight with regard to the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget which begins on July 1, 2022, and ends on June 30, 2023. If there are aspects that you think were missed or were not addressed, please take the time to offer a comment to this blog. It is a budget that council reviewed and amended for over 4 months. Discussions were detailed and council posed many questions.

It is a budget forged out of consensus.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      


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