Tucson must bridge $15M gap in budget

2013-03-06T00:00:00Z Tucson must bridge $15M gap in budgetDarren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Tucson needs to figure out how to close a $15 million budget gap next fiscal year.

While city revenues are expected to increase 4 percent, expenses will grow 7 percent.

The biggest causes for the deficit are salaries, benefits and debt service.

To balance the budget by June 30, the City Council is going to have chose among cutting services and departments, finding new sources of revenue or delaying the city debt.

Since finding a new revenue source to cover the deficit is unlikely, restructuring the debt, as has been done in previous years, or cutting services services are prime targets.

But neither the council nor city staff offered any hint where cuts may come.

Finance Director Kelly Gottschalk said continually restructuring debt isn't a sound financial plan, and if the city does it again, it risks negative consequences from the ratings agencies.

If the council doesn't offer suggestions within the next few weeks, the city manager will present them with his proposed budget in mid-April, at which time the council can pick and choose what makes it into next year's budget.

As of now, budget levels will remain at last year's scale, and there are no plans to increase them.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com

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