Request for Virtual Budget Hearings

Dear Mayor Gallego, Councilmembers, and City Manager Barton,

It has come to our attention that the City of Phoenix intends to hold all eleven of this year’s budget meetings in-person only. We, Phoenix Spokes People, The Urban Phoenix Project, Bike Laveen, Poder in Action, The Pueblo’s Budget, and Chispa AZ: League of Conservation Voters, are concerned that limiting participation to only those Phoenicians who can take time out of their day to physically attend a public meeting will reduce the valuable community feedback that you seek for next year’s budget. We would like to see some virtual options added so that community members can speak in their own voices, in real time, to their councilmember and city staff.

While we understand that there is a benefit to having public meetings in person, we feel it is even more important to make it easy and welcoming for all residents to participate. Providing an option for Phoenicians to actively participate remotely would make budget hearings more accessible to a wider range of people, and therefore improve community participation. We can imagine many barriers to accessibility –- health, transportation, scheduling–that could be reduced by offering the opportunity for residents to attend virtually. As longtime participants in city budget hearings, we have witnessed the power of multiple voices sharing their priorities and values.

We recognize that some of the meeting locations are not conducive to being broadcast online in real time. However, given the importance of accessibility, we request that the City of Phoenix offer virtual real-time access to at least two sessions: one meeting in the morning and one in the evening. Please let us know which meetings you decide to make virtual, and we will help spread the word

Covid taught us that we could do a lot of things virtually that we hadn’t thought possible, and that sometimes this is a more accessible and inclusive option. Let’s learn from this and continue to include the possibility for more Phoenicians to participate in public meetings.

Thank you,

Phoenix Spokes People    
Bike Laveen Poder in Action The Urban Phoenix Project
Chispa AZ The Pueblo’s Budget