Tucson budget battle

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- There's just 3 weeks left before Tucson's city council has to approve its budget for fiscal year 2012.

Tuesday night the public got their chance to speak out.

They sliced, diced and debated, for months the city council has taken an ax to city services as they try to balance the budget.

So far the budget on the table will slash $10 million from police, $5 million from fire and $3 million from Parks and Rec.

"I think the big elephant in the room is transit," said Kozachik.

If the budget were passed today, transportation would be left untouched, and Councilman Steve Kozachik has a problem with that.

"We cant keep treating it as a sacred cow and expect to balance this budget. Its a blank check and we've got to get our arms around it," said Kozachik.

Tuesday in session, Kozachik pitched some last minute proposals for the budget.

Changes that would cut transportation's budget by 7.5%, good for $2.9 million.

But Kozachik is skeptical mayor and council are open to change.

"I really would hope they get a revelation and recognize that we need some cuts in transit.  We're paying almost $40 million from the general fund.,"

Taxpayers did their best to get involved in the budget process Tuesday night. They spoke up and gave their opinions.

Have you tried cutting cell phone expenses?

C'mon we gotta talk and we got more talking to do. We're gonna have a lot of talking.

You need to change the way you do business in the future if we're ever gonna pull ourselves out of this rut.

Council members just listened Tuesday night. They took no action on the budget. But they will have to soon, time is running out.

Council members plan on tenatively adopting a budget on May 17 before making a final decision on May 24.