On April 13, the City Manager presented a FY21 Revised Trial Budget to Mayor and City Council, focusing on the city's proposed response efforts to the current economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 public health crisis. The City Manager's plan outlines a balanced budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year by taking responsible actions that do not cut city services or jobs.

However, we don't have certainty on what economic conditions will be in the future. The City Manager has asked department directors to identify possible cuts of up to 25% within their departments. This exercise does not mean we are cutting 25%, but it means the city is preparing options in case an economic recession makes any level of reductions necessary. The Office of Arts and Culture has a very lean budget, and this reduction would impact our programmatic areas, including our grants program.

To ensure transparency with you, I want to share the city's budgeting timeline and how that will affect our grant's timeline as it will be different than before.

City Budgeting Process:
  • April 6: City Council approved $27M in Non-Programmatic Cuts to Balance FY21 Budget
  • April 24: List of Potential 25% Reductions from Department Directors Submitted to City Manager
  • May 5: City Manager's Budget is Presented to City Council
  • May 19: City Council Budget Decision (First Vote)
  • June 17: Budget Adoption (Final Vote)
  • June 1-30: List of Potential Reductions Submitted for City Council and Community Input
  • July 15: Budget and Research Updates Sales Tax Forecast and Budget Status
  • July 31: City Council Approves Cuts Based on Updated Budget Status

Grants Timeline:
  • April 1: Grants Deadline
  • May 19-28: Virtual Grants Panel
  • June 9: Arts and Culture Commission Meeting (Vote on Allocations)
  • July 31: Potential Budget Cuts/Office of Arts and Culture Staff Adjust Grant Allocations
  • August 11: Arts and Culture Commission Meeting (Vote on Adjustments)
  • August 26: City Council Approval
  • August 27: Award Notifications Sent

Based on this timeline, grant notifications will be sent almost two months after they have historically occurred. This change allows us to take into consideration any cuts and make thoughtful decisions based on our budget realities.

This timeline also allows us to keep the integrity of our process by running virtual grants panels. Panels will include members of the community but will also keep in our tradition of equity by bringing in out-of-state voices to the conversation. This year, the evaluation criteria will remain the same. However, staff will review the financial/administrative section of CIEG applications and reach out to applicants if any concerns or questions arise. Panelists will only discuss and score the community significance and artistic quality sections.

Our grants and services team will reach out to you with more specific information on the review process, including panel dates, how to participate, and allow you to provide optional information to panelists about how your organization is responding to the COVID-19 challenges.

On a personal note, thank you for all you do. The past few weeks have likely been some of the most challenging for our community. Even though we all have had to cancel or postpone performances, exhibitions, educational programs, and fundraising events, you have not quit. You are an inspiration and energize us in our work on your behalf.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or just need to talk!

-Mitch

Mitch Menchaca
Executive Director
City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture