Phoenix seeks to cut 500 police, fire positions to balance budget
Scott Wong - Jan. 28, 2010 04:38 PM
The Arizona Republic
For the first time in recent history, Phoenix leaders have proposed cutting hundreds of police officers and firefighters to help balance the city's budget.

The Police Department would eliminate 355 positions, from patrol officers to assistant chiefs. Fire would cut 144 positions across the board.

The proposed public-safety reductions are among dozens of cuts City Manager David Cavazos unveiled Thursday as part of his plan to help solve the city's $242 million deficit for this year and fiscal 2011. Cuts across all city departments would total about $140 million .

Cavazos' proposed budget also calls for closing six library branches, five senior centers, Arizona Horse Lovers Park, and the Shemer Art Center. Other Phoenix points of pride also would be closed or face reduced funding, as would recreation and youth-sports programs and facilities.

In all, 1,385 positions are slated for elimination.

"If there was a day when I didn't want to wake up, this was the day. It's so hard," said Cavazos, who spent today informing City Council members, department heads and union leaders about his proposed cuts.

Residents will have an opportunity to voice their concerns about the proposals during 15 public hearings that kick off Feb. 10. More than 1,500 citizens turned out at last year's hearings, and some vocal interest groups pressured the city to restore some programs slated for the chopping block.

The City Council is expected to vote on a revised budget on March 2. Cuts will take effect in April.

For a list of the hearings, visit