The Oro Valley Town Council last night unanimously approved the fiscal 2009 budget, a spending plan that tops $203 million.
The total represents a nearly $1 million reduction from what Town Manager David Andrews originally had recommended.
One stark reduction was the decision to end town support of the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber was set to receive $27,500 through the town’s community funding process — which also funds charities like the Community Food Bank — but the council opted to end its support for the organization.
Two weeks ago, Councilman K.C. Carter proposed cutting the group’s funding on grounds that the chamber had crossed a line when it chose to endorse candidates in recent town council elections.
The Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee this year endorsed incumbent Terry Parish in his bid for re-election.
Parish lost to Councilman Barry Gillaspie, who was not endorsed by the chamber.
Carter and other council members said the town should not give money to groups that advocate for political candidates or issues.
Council members on Wednesday, July 16, sat emotionless as speaker after speaker pleaded for continued funding of the chamber.
Others spoke in favor of the council’s decision to cut off the chamber.
With its budget vote, the town council also agreed to hire three new town employees, less than the five-employee increase proposed by Andrews.
The council also approved a 1.5 percent cost-of-living raise and up to 4 percent in merit pay increases for town employees.
The police step-pay raises also got the go-ahead. Roughly 30 percent of the department’s employees are not eligible for the raises, having already reached the top of the department pay scale.
The fiscal 2009 budget also includes $115 million for capital improvements, including roadwork and other projects.