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.

I haven’t written a blog in quite some time but I have a good excuse. The city council has just gone through its budget season which consumed our lives. In an effort to “do my homework” I have spent countless hours studying hundreds of pages of budget material. In addition to creating city policy the annual budget is the most important council activity.

Money is the life’s blood of our lives. If we have enough, we’re comfortable. If we don’t have enough, we’re miserable. Money is the life’s blood of all governments, from local to federal. Who ever directs its spending has the power.

The Glendale City Council has had 9 meetings since January building its annual budget.  For Fiscal Year 21-22 Glendale’s total budget is $1.242 billion dollars. It breaks down as follows:

  • An operating budget of $730 million dollars or 59% of the total budget. The police and fire budgets consume most of the operating budget coming in at 66%. This budget convers all employee salaries and benefits, all supplies, and all usual day to day equipment (such as computers and phones) and all minor purchases and contracts needed to operate (such as building cleaning services). In addition to employee salaries and benefits and public safety it convers such services as community services and transportation.
  • Our capital improvement budget totals $280 million dollars or 28%. This budget is used to construct new amenities such as Heroes Park Lake and the O’Neil Splash Pad and to repair and maintain all sorts of things such as a fire station, a park irrigation system, the adult center entry way or repainting Sahuaro Ranch fencing. It covers items such as streets, the airport and transit.
  • The contingency budget is $139 million dollars or 11%. Our contingency funds are just that. For example, the council approves a construction project that totals $500,000 but it turns out that lumber prices have tripled. Yet the council approved allocation is that $500,000. Contingency can be used to cover the costs associated with the rising and unexpected costs of materials.
  • The debt budget is $93 million dollars or 7%. It not only convers the debt on the arena and spring training facility but debt arising from the capital improvement program.

Some of the departmental highlights within this year’s budget include:

  • Community Services will continue to provide pass through services for the distribution of federal Covid funding for emergency rental and utility services.
  • Development Services will see the addition of 3 new inspectors to handle the tremendous amount of new construction we see at the Loop 303 and elsewhere throughout the city.
  • The Fire Department will add a second federally granted funded Medical Response Unit and will get new and replacement turnout gear.
  • The Police Department will provide cell phones for all sworn personnel and institute a drone program as a tool to combat crimes in progress.
  • The Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events Department will see Heroes Lake constructed this year in addition to upgrades to 3 community centers and Foothills Recreation and Aquatics Center along with park restroom replacements and the addition of a mid-city splash pad.
  • The Facilities Department will oversee City Court, Glendale’s Operations Campus, and amphitheater renovations.

There are two fiscal issues that should be noted. The Arizona Legislature will likely pass a presumptive fire fighter cancer bill. This means all fire fighter cancer claims will be automatically presumed to have occurred while being on the job. Previously a fire fighter had to provide proof that the cancer was the direct result of working as a fire fighter. Now, cities will have to prove that the cancer did not occur because of that work. In other words, all fire fighters’ cancers will have to be covered by cities. This new fiscal burden will add millions of dollars of liability to each and every city in the state.

Another legislative bill under consideration is the reduction of state shared income tax paid to all cities and will be a substantial hit. This will reduce the amount of state shared revenue received by every city in the state. So, at a time when the legislature is adding another fiscal liability by requiring all cities to cover all fire fighter cancers it is also reducing the amount of money received by reducing the income tax payments it shares with all cities. Don’t be surprised if some small cities and towns find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. These legislative mandates are unsustainable.

The good news is the Glendale city council has achieved a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 21-22 which begins on July 1, 2021. There are many elements within it that will upgrade all of Glendale and add amenities unable to be achieved due to the past recession. You will see parks that look and feel better. You will see roads that continue to receive pavement management or reconstruction of major arterial streets. You will see the city continue to assist those in need because of Covid. You will see neglected city facilities receiving long overdue repairs and upgrades. You will see a better Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.