Mayor Kate Gallego and members of the Phoenix City Council approved the city’s budget on June 16 for the 2021–22 fiscal year.
The plans contained in the budget align with Mayor Gallego’s priorities, her office shared. Those priorities include:
- Dramatic expansion of mental health response
- Climate action and heat readiness
- Business resilience and recovery
- Affordable housing and prevention of homelessness, and
- Continued COVID-19 response and relief
“Each of these issues speaks directly to the quality of life in Phoenix,” said Gallego. “Improving and expanding the way we respond to mental health crises is essential, so people get the help they need. We must protect our environment and climate so our families can live and grow. Likewise, every individual and family deserve a safe, comfortable place to live. We will continue our work to restore small businesses that suffered during the pandemic. Finally, as I have said many times, the fastest way to recover from the economic ravages of COVID-19 is to recover and protect public health. This balanced budget addresses those priorities in a way that is responsible and effective.”
Gallego says that a top priority is the $15 million expansion of the Community Assistance Program (CAP). This civilian-only mental health response program is part of a larger slate of reforms intended to increase public safety accountability, responsiveness, transparency and trust. The number of crisis response units will increase to a total of 10, while establishing nine new behavioral health units in areas that experience the highest concentration of calls. Appropriate training for crisis de-escalation will be critical and provide a coordinated and collaborative approach to crisis management.
Other priorities include:
Climate action and heat readiness
Addressing climate change and the rising temperatures is critical to ensuring the vitality of our city. Mayor Gallego ensured the budget addressed these issues head-on by proposing a first-of-its kind Office of Heat Response and Mitigation, which includes the following:
- Tree and Shade Administrator
- Solar Energy Inspection Program
- Greenhouse gas emissions inventories
- Updated tree inventory & database
- Cool Corridors Program and Tree & Shade Master Plan.
Business resilience and recovery
Another of Mayor Gallego’s priorities is to help the recovery of small businesses that were ravaged by the pandemic. The budget funds a variety of initiatives that will provide services for small business including help in finding, training and retaining employees.
Affordable housing and homelessness
With home prices increasing and many still feeling the effects of pandemic-related job losses, issues of homelessness and affordable housing have never been felt more sharply. Mayor and City Council recently approved the Homeless Strategies Plan to increase and improve affordable housing units, leverage federal funding, and work with community partners to provide direct aid to the community. With today’s increase in funding of an additional $2.8M and four new staff positions, the city will move another step closer achieving its goal to decrease homelessness and increase affordable housing.
The budget for Fiscal Year 2021–22 takes effect July 1. For additional information, visit phoenix.gov.