Friends & Neighbors, we are in “Budget Season” at the City of Tucson. For nerds like me who love spreadsheets, it’s one of the best times of the year. 🤓 Beyond my excitement about spreadsheets and charts, I’m excited about this opportunity to strategically fund the needs of our organization and community, and address some of our biggest pain points.
In April, we had a speaker attend the “Call to the Audience” opportunity at a Mayor & Council meeting. He shared that he was in an accident and needed the police report in order to file his insurance claim. We weren’t able to provide his report in a timely manner, and this set off a series of events in his life that made things much harder than they already were for him.
Our Records Section in the Tucson Police Department has been struggling to get requests processed efficiently starting around 2016, when body-worn cameras came onboard. We added the body-worn camera capability to our department, but we didn’t adequately increase resources on the backend to keep up with the additional information/video being collected and provided back out to the community. Additionally, the federal government mandated the implementation of the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which added a major amount of work to the department without providing any funding or resources to comply with the requirements.
Last month, I visited the Records Section to learn more about what our teammates do daily to better understand their needs, challenges, and objectives. These City of Tucson employees have a very important job that directly impacts Tucsonans, every day. Due to the nature of the information, pictures, and videos they interact with daily, they are exposed to trauma, and they often see the worst of what humans are capable of.
As I observed, I saw the photos that one of our employees, Marta, was reviewing. I asked Marta how she was able to look at pictures like that on a daily basis and not have it deeply impact her. She shared that her goal is “to bring peace to the families” and that her motivation to help Tucsonans keeps her going. > > Our budget process gives us the opportunity to make strategic investments in departments, like the Records Section, to implement plans that will help our employees be successful, ultimately delivering better results to Tucsonans.
In addition to the Records backlog, other key areas I’m focusing on for the upcoming fiscal year are the Code Enforcement and Planning and Development Services backlogs. I am specifically looking for plans and funding recommendations so we can really move the needle for the community this year. This is on top of our core mission of delivering high-quality, reliable services to Tucsonans per the City Charter.
Budget conversations will continue, and below is the current timeline:
- May 9: Continued Study Session Budget Discussion
- May 23: Tentative Budget Adoption / Public Hearing on Recommended Budget
- June 6: Public Hearing on Tentative Budget / Special Meeting for Final Adoption
We will also have a Ward Public Budget Participation Meeting and will share those details once they are available. I am interested in your feedback and thoughts on the budget, as well as the challenges and opportunities we’re hoping to address in the next fiscal year. Please send your thoughts over to email@example.com.