City Manager's Letter

Fiscal Year 2022/23

A Message from City Manager Michael Ortega

The City's strong financial position, combined with continued voter support and federal funding, has given us an historic opportunity during this fiscal year. I am pleased to present the City of Tucson’s Fiscal Year 2022/23 Adopted Budget totaling $2.1 billion as it reflects the City's ethic of financial sustainability and strategic investment. The Mayor and Council's recent vision and direction have put us in a position to make transformative investments in our community, our infrastructure, and our people. Through this budget we will have transformed from an organization that once struggled to produce a structurally balanced budget to an organization that will invest $150 million in supplemental funds into our community over the next five years.

The key to a strong organization is a strong staff culture of service and a strong financial position. We have continued efforts to create an employee culture that allows staff to best serve our community and build confidence with our residents. Additionally, the Mayor and Council have made key financial decisions that have increased fiscal stability and contributed to community confidence. Voters reflected that confidence by approving an extension of the half-cent sales tax in May. This will result in a $740 million investment in neighborhood street and street safety improvements. Over the next decade, every residential road in the City of Tucson will be improved and we will invest millions of dollars in making our streets safer for all modes of travel. This funding results in significant planning and implementation work for staff, and this year we will be laser focused on the delivery of this and other voter-approved programs.

This budget also reflects investment in high-priority emerging issues that address long term systemic challenges. Climate resiliency will begin to become foundational in everything we do as this budget invests in a Climate Action Plan implementation and millions of dollars dedicated to fleet electrification for departments and the transit system. Another foundational investment includes the operationalization of the Equity Office to address inherent biases and historical disinvestment in areas of our community. This budget also reflects a new level of investment in housing affordability and programs relating to homelessness. We will increase funding to City resources for litter clean ups and the Housing First initiative, while using state and federal funding to address housing security and affordability. Investing in these areas reflect the goals of the Mayor and Council and community at large.

The pandemic set the stage to demonstrate the leadership necessary to move forward the community and our organization. This leadership took many forms ranging from frequent, open, and transparent communication with staff, to leveraging federal funding. Using the lessons learned from our experiences over the last few years will be important going forward as we may continue to see fundamental changes to our current systems, processes, and procedures in unprecedented ways.

Having a clear vision of the challenges facing us, employees and I are committed to building upon our success, create resiliency in our community, and above all bring the vision of Mayor and Council to fruition. This budget gives us the ability to do that on a magnitude that was once inconceivable and put us on the cutting edge of what a municipal government can accomplish.