Mesa will reduce its building safety department by 35 employees, more than a third of the division’s workforce, as a direct result of a steep drop in residential and commercial construction permits. The department is financed by revenue from permit fees, and receives no general fund appropriation.

City officials estimate it will take two weeks to determine which employees would lose their jobs, but said the reduction will affect every function of the division. The job losses come on top of a decision in 2007 not to fill 10 vacant positions in the division because declining permit revenue would not cover those salaries.

Officials said the number of building permits issued in November dropped by 14%, with another 11% decline in December.

Other city department heads have been asked to propose 5% reductions in their budgets due to a $12.5 million shortfall in anticipated sales tax revenues.

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