Glendale at odds with residents over possible repeal of temporary sales tax

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Hundreds of local government jobs and services could be cut if voters approve a ballot measure to repeal a temporary sales tax in Glendale.

Some members of the Glendale City Council have proposed closing two libraries and an aquatics center, and eliminating almost 250 jobs, including from public safety, among other services, if the temporary tax hike is repealed. They said that the tax would help offset a budget shortfall of about $25 million annually.

"We need the sales tax," said Justin Harris, president of the Glendale Law Enforcement Association. "If not, our calls for service are going to increase. Our ability to fight crime will decrease. Making our community safer will become increasingly more challenging."

One of the hot-button topics at a council meeting Tuesday was whether to keep the Phoenix Coyotes, which some local government officials argue cost more than the few million dollars the team brings in annually. Regardless, the city would still have to pay for Arena.

Voters could have their say in November. The temporary sales tax was implemented last month. The previous rate was 2.2 percent. It was raised to 2.9 percent.

"A lot of people have lost confidence in our city government and they want to have a voice," said longtime resident Rod Williams. "I can't see why the city is scared to let people vote."