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Phoenix council to vote on higher taxes, fees

PHOENIX -- It's decision day for city leaders.

After holding 20 public hearings, council members are scheduled to vote this afternoon on a $1.1 billion budget.

The proposed budget from the city manager calls for $11 million in new revenue through higher taxes and fees and $16 million in savings through employee concessions, which means workers would receive smaller raises and bonuses than they expected.

According to City Manager Ed Zuercher, Phoenix is facing a nearly $38 million budget shortfall. To avoid cutting services, he proposes the following:

• Extra $1.50 tax on residential municipal services bills (water, sewer and trash);

• $0.05 fee per plastic grocery bag to offset city costs associated with cleanup;

• Demand-based pricing for parking meter system where the current $1.50 per hour rate could jump to $6.00;

• Higher fees for annual passes for recreation and senior centers;

• Higher fees to use athletic fields;

• New $5 per hour fee for using athletic field lights at night.

According to the city manager's budget, the higher taxes, fees and employee concessions can help Phoenix hire new police and firefighters sooner than expected, with new officers being hired as early as next March and April.

The city council will meet at 1 p.m. at council chambers, located in Phoenix at 200 W. Jefferson St.

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