Glendale City Councilwoman Yvonne Knaack said that overturning the city's new 0.07 percent tax hike will have a drastic negative impact on city services and jobs.
Two libraries would have to be shuttered as part of $20 million in budget cuts, Knaack said.
Public safety, already thinned out 10 percent over the past four years is on the line, Knaack said
Whether the Phoenix Coyotes stay or move to another city, Glendale will be saddled with debt from Jobing.com Arena.
GLENDALE, AZ (CBS5) -
The Glendale City Council is ready to take a Paul Bunyan-size ax to its budget if a recent sale tax increase is overturned in November.
The situation is so bad that city officials said popular events such as Glendale Glitters, the city's trademark holiday festival, could be on the chopping block along with others as the city looks to lop $20 million in possible cuts.
The budget cuts have become a volatile issue in Glendale, especially after the tax increase approved last month was ruled eligible for the November ballot.
CBS 5 News has been on the receiving end of calls and emails from residents fired up about the budget situation. Some people accused city leaders of playing politics, and city leaders countered they are simply trying to avoid crippling cuts.
"I don't want to scare the citizens of Glendale, I really don't, but I really want them to know this is really serious," said Glendale City Councilwoman Yvonne Knaack.
She told CBS 5 News that overturning the city's new 0.07 percent tax hike will have a drastic negative impact on city services and jobs.
"This is their livelihood and their jobs," Knaack said, "and we will have to make some very drastic, gut-wrenching decisions about people and their lives."
She said the city would have to cut more than 200 jobs, close two libraries, and turn out the lights on Glendale Glitters and other festivals. Public safety, already thinned out 10 percent over the past four years is on the line, she said.
"It's catastrophic, that's how we feel," said Julie Reed of Glendale's Fraternal Order of Police.
Reed said violent crime is up, and there's a direct correlation to manpower.
"Every area of our department is being shrunk," Reed said, "and there's no way that you can deliver the same level of service.
The sales tax increase would help the city close a budget gap of more than $20 million a year.
A citizen initiative hopes to help overturn that increase in November.
"I know a lot of people think it's the (Phoenix) Coyotes, Knaack said. The sale of the beleaguered National Hockey League team, which enjoyed its finest season ever in Arizona last year, is still pending, and the city is still paying for the team's arena. "It's not the Coyotes, they're a part of it."
Knaack said whether the Coyotes stay in Glendale or move to another city, the debt created by the arena doesn't go away.
"We are going to pay to run that arena regardless, whether the Coyotes are here or not. And that could be anywhere from $6 (million) to $10 million on operating and then maybe another $9 million on debt," Knaack said.
A workshop has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the City Council chambers and will be open to the public.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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