Councilman Daniel Valenzuela’s Statement on 2017-18 Budget AdoptionCouncilman Daniel Valenzuela’s Statement on 2017-18 Budget Adoption<div class="ExternalClassFC46C971AFD34AFF999C62A20C3E1C7A"><p>​I believe residents of Phoenix will truly feel the positive impacts of the enhancements of the budget approved by the City Council this week. The most noticeable advancements will be the decision to prioritize funding to hire 259 additional police officers. Adding this to the 305 police recruits and lateral officers hired last fiscal year means that over two years we will add over 560 officers during this period. <br><br>This year’s budget also calls for the addition of a core group of new police assistant positions in an effort to relieve police officers from performing administrative tasks and allowing them to focus on higher priority calls for service, 22 park rangers that will be hired by the Parks and Recreation Department, 70 fire fighters, and additional contractual services for homeless outreach and engagement in our Human Services Department.<br><br>As a first responder in another valley city, I state with certainty that one thing police officers and fire fighters agree on is when we can keep first responders out on the street instead of in an office, we can perform more high priority calls for service. The addition of new police assistants, who will be responsible for responding to civil traffic collisions, and handling traffic control, administrative responsibilities, and other misdemeanor crimes, will improve the Police Department's ability to respond to emergency calls for service.<br><br>Overall, park rangers will increase from 55 to 77. Currently there are no park rangers assigned to flatland parks, which many times leave those calls to police officers and fire fighters. Again, these new positions will allow our police officers to focus efforts on more high priority calls for service.<br><br>The addition of new resources for homeless outreach services through Homeless Navigators is significant because many times our police officers work hand in hand with the Human Services Department to address homeless issues. This new funding will improve the city's ability to respond to community concerns regarding homelessness, freeing up our police officers. Unlike traditional case workers, Homeless Navigators will be on-call and available 24 hours per day, seven days a week.<br><br>Formulating the city’s budget is a difficult and time-consuming process that requires strategic planning, prioritization, and most importantly, input from our residents through the city’s longstanding community budget hearing process. Thanks to this process our priorities as a city are clear. Public safety remains the number one priority for our residents, and the Police, Fire and Municipal Court departments continue to account for nearly 75 percent of the General Fund.<br><br>Our budget priorities for 2017-18 do not end with public safety, as residents of Phoenix have made it clear the quality of our streets is important to all areas of the city. This is a priority reflected in the new budget, which allows our Street Transportation Department to provide quality streets for our residents by using a variety of treatment types. Through voter-approved T2050 and other funding sources, the Street Transportation Department has nearly quadrupled the number of street miles in the street pavement preservation program, from an average of 120 miles per year to over 470 miles annually. This investment will continue to replace damaged and degraded curb, gutter, and sidewalk, and will also improve curb ramps prior to repaving streets, providing better mobility options for persons with disabilities. Staff will also continue a 10-year initiative to repaint all the city’s traffic signal poles at major intersections, continue adding left-turn arrows at approximately 35 major intersections over the next five years to improve traffic flow and roadway safety, and expand bicycle-lane miles through the Bicycle Master Plan.<br><br>I was proud to vote in support of a budget that added many tangible, high priority enhancements to our city services plan, but it is also important to remember that our most important asset at the city are people. Local government provides police and fire protection, parks, street maintenance, senior centers, after school programs, community centers, and many more because our employees carry out this vision. They continue to be the backbone of our service delivery, and we are grateful for the services they provide every day. </p></div>6/23/2017 8:30:00 PMMatthew Heil602-534-0108