Quick read: 3 big things Phoenix City Council did this week
It was a busy week for the council governing the nation's fifth most populous city.
While Mayor Kate Gallego attended multiple policy conferences related to heat and water in Philadelphia and New York City, she also presided over two meetings Wednesday in which major decisions were made about how Phoenix will manage housing and labor issues. The day before, City Manager Jeff Barton gave council members a briefing on how the next fiscal year's budget is likely to shape up.
Here's what to know:
$2.5M bill to help families find housing passes, but it wasn't the win families wanted
Council members were asked to consider a package of four proposals to help families at three mobile home parks facing eviction, but two of the ideas — a zoning change and a temporary development moratorium — were almost certain to result in costly lawsuits that Phoenix had little chance of winning, city staff said. Five council members sided with city staff, which devastated families and their supporters, who hoped the council might take the risk. The council members instead voted to allocate $2.5 million to help the families find new housing.
More about the mobile home park vote:Mobile home evictions moving forward following Phoenix council vote
In a contentious vote, Phoenix narrowly passed a prevailing wage ordinance for construction workers on city-funded projects.
The four politically progressive council members who were outvoted on the mobile home park eviction package joined forces with Councilmember Sal DiCiccio, their political opposite, to pass an ordinance that will raise pay for construction workers on city-funded projects that cost more than $250,000.
The mere fact the council voted on the "prevailing wage" ordinance was political. The mayor and city manager set council meeting agendas, but items can be added if requested by at least three council members, which is what happened with this proposal. The vote took place around 9 p.m., after hours of emotional testimony about mobile home evictions, so tension and frustration were on clear display.
What we're watching: New council members the mayor endorsed, Kevin Robinson and Kesha Hodge Washington, will be sworn in on April 17. Will they work to undo the prevailing wage ordinance?
Read about it here:Phoenix council narrowly passes prevailing wage rule for city construction workers
City Manager Jeff Barton presented next year's preliminary budget
On Tuesday, Barton presented his trial budget for the next fiscal year, which begins in July. He told council members the general fund would see a surplus of $134 million, mostly thanks to inflation and sales tax revenue increasing. The vast majority of that — $114 million — is supposed to go toward raising city employees' pay. Barton has repeatedly said the city is struggling to recruit and retain employees across various departments.
Keep in mind: The budget has a long way to go before it is finalized. The public can attend any of 11 different outreach meetings in April to learn more and provide feedback. Plus, the council will discuss the budget in many meetings before it takes effect this summer.
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Who is on the Phoenix City Council?What to know
Reporter Taylor Seely covers Phoenix City Hall for The Arizona Republic. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @taylorseely95.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: 3 big things Phoenix City Council did this week