Phoenix City Council members are expected to cut 22.5% from the $1.2 billion general fund annual budget through fiscal 2010 as sales tax revenues continue to decline as the area’s economy falters.

 Budget officials said spreading the $269.7 million in cuts over 16 months would lessen the impact on services. The shortfall was trimmed earlier by $91.9 million through restructuring the city’s debt and entering into lease-purchase agreements for capital equipment.

The council is set to vote on the fiscal 2010 budget in early February. Fiscal 2010 begins July 1.

Most non-public safety departments are facing cuts of 30% in next year’s budget. The courts system and public safety agencies, which account for about 75% of the general fund budget, will see a 7.5% cut.

The city said it would not layoff any firefighters or police, but 1,300 city jobs are expected to be eliminated in the 2010 budget.

Sales tax revenue totaled $360 million in the first 11 months of 2008, down $30 million from the same period in 2007. The city relies on sales tax revenues for about 43% of the general fund budget.

Phoenix’s GO bonds are rated AAA by Standard & Poor’s and Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service.

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