-Ward 3 Events
-Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s)
-Did You Know?
Through this year’s budget process we’re poised to take some steps long overdue. The Manager has proposed reorganization to trim management and administrative costs. While I support most of the initial budget outline, I’ll be proposing alternatives to approximately $4.5M in elements he has outlined to date. To keep this in perspective, $4.5M amounts to less than one percent of our $472M General Fund budget.
Here are the elements I will seek to have reversed:
*I support much of the Transit Comprehensive Operational Analysis ($2.4M savings) but oppose raising transit fares to net the General Fund $1.3M. The fare proposal takes $2.4M directly out of riders’ pockets ($1.1M would be returned to the Regional Transit Authority) and would reduce ridership. Our goal must continue to be increasing ridership – that’s the best way to generate more fare box revenues.
*I will push to restore full funding to the partner organizations we have already cut 40-75% over recent years. The $2.6M we invest in human services, the arts, workforce development, and other priorities impacts community quality of life and leverages lots of additional resources.
*I will advocate that we seek employee benefits savings of roughly $500,000 (vs $1.2M initially proposed) and will not support any rollback of the modest raise provided this fiscal year (a raise specifically structured to benefit workers on the lower rungs of departments more than those at the top).
Here are a few alternatives I will propose to cover that $4.6M (plus the $2M shortfall originally projected):
*At Mayor and Council’s urging, the City will retain the $2M RTA allocation for streetcar operations (vs $1.2M) netting us $800,000 against the Manager’s first figures.
*The Manager’s budget proposes $4.4M in General Fund spending that has been assigned to transit for vehicles and a Compressed Natural Gas fueling facility. But we know we have annual federal funding that can be assigned for vehicle purchases and that the CNG facility would primarily serve Environmental Services. I believe we can reduce the General Fund burden for vehicles and the CNG facility by at least $1M (ideally closer to the $4M mark).
*In addition we should reevaluate our Revenue Projections to bring them more in line with the Arizona League of Cities, Phoenix, and other Arizona cities. Every year for the past three I have pushed on this and we have adjusted base assumptions. And every year we have landed almost to the dollar in accuracy even with those adjustments. This year I would simply suggest a one-quarter to one-half of one percent adjustment to the Manager’s initial baseline which would yield an additional $1.2M to $2.3M.
*Before we cut outside contracts that we know contribute to the quality of life in Tucson (e.g. human services, workforce development and the arts) it’s high time we cut or renegotiate contracts and reduce association memberships with less measurable, direct impact. We spend close to $1M on lobbying services, state and national association memberships, and other contracts that ought to be reconsidered (in fact, some contracts have lapsed but are still listed in the budget).
Reevaluate our 5-year plan for the management of debt, capital investments, one-time revenue sources, and reserves. For example, there’s a proposed $18M issuance of new Certificates of Participation (COPS) debt (which would cost the General Fund up to $1.8M annually beginning in FY2015). Yet we have one-time revenues from legal settlements and land sales and assigned/unassigned reserves which might best be used to avert new debt. If we can reduce a COPS debt by $10M we will save $1M annually out of our General Fund debt service spending.
The General Services Department and a few other sections of the City organization have not been slated for any savings that could be realized through vacancy management. Most other Departments have (some will also implement layoffs). It’s quite clear there could be further savings by holding open positions vacant and additional restructuring.
These obviously aren’t the only ways we could close a $6.5M gap (1.4% gap) within a $472M budget. I look forward to hearing further from the Manager, my colleagues and the community as we settle on the best balance we can find.
To the Table
I do not include in my proposal the end of Access Tucson or the end of sick leave buyback for public safety personnel. For these and other questions facing us, I will urge that we direct the Manager to get to the table to openly negotiate transition.
On Access Tucson, a transition plan that formally pulls in partners (UofA, Pima, JTED, area school districts, KXCI radio, etc.) must be devised so that within eighteen months we can consider the sale of the building (which will only appreciate in value during the planning time) and the best use of the most valuable asset associated: the cable bandwidth of our two basic tier, analog television channels.
On sick leave buyback, Management and Mayor/Council have evaluated our full public safety compensation package against other Arizona cities for several years now. Our base salaries fall low but, with premium pay bumps like sick leave buyback, we’ve remained competitive. To address issues raised about public safety compensation, we have to do what’s both legal and fair. The courts will determine legality (in the meantime I think the associated pension allocations should be held in escrow). We have to engage the community and public safety personnel in what constitutes fair and just compensation. I’ll advocate that we focus on base salary levels so we get back to a more transparent and even-handed approach to compensation across our police and fire departments. Any other approach immediately sparks mistrust and becomes harder to manage.
The community quickly polarizes on this issue. Folks are pegged as either afraid to stand up to police and fire employees or insensitive to the intense and unique sacrifices those employees make. We have to bring this discussion to an open forum so neither extreme trumps the understanding needed to best serve our community. No rip-offs; no negotiating in bad faith. Let’s lay out the facts and the comparisons with other cities and build from there together.
Have a great weekend,
Ward 3 Events:
- Donna R. Liggins Recreation Center Open House - Friday, April 11th from 4:30 - 7:30 pm at the Donna R. Liggins Recreation Center, 2160 N. 6th Ave. Tucson Parks and Rec invites you to sample enhanced programming. Between 5:30 and 7:30 show off your volleyball skills in a competition (with prizes!) for ages 11 and up. Tour the facility to see the new senior room and activities including Enhance Fitness, Walking Club, Needle Nook, and Billiards. Take a “Walk Through Time" with a display of historical articles and pictures of the El Cortez-Sugar Hill neighborhoods and Mansfield Park. Enjoy the activities for children and light snacks and drinks. For more information, call AJ Rico at 520-791-3247 or see the flyer at http://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/ward3/Donna_Liggins_Center_Open_House_4.1....
- Keeling Park Clean Up- Saturday, April 12th from 8:00 am at Keeling Park 245 E Glenn St. Join Keeling neighbors and help out at their monthly park cleanup!
- Navajo Wash Clean Up - Saturday, April 12 from 8:00 am - 10:00 am. Join your neighbors for the monthly care of our Hedrick Acres public space. Meet at the northwest corner of Hedrick and Mountain. For more information, please call Loraine at 327-7587.
- Free Tax Help – Saturday, April 12th is the last day to get free tax help at the Ward 3 City Council Office Community Room! 9:00 am – 12:00 pm at 1510 E. Grant Road. The VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program volunteers will be preparing tax returns free of charge. No appointment necessary, clients are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Those wishing to receive assistance must bring a picture I.D. and original Social Security card for each family member, proof of income, including W2 and 1099 forms, documentation of deductible expenses, prior year tax return if possible, and account routing numbers for those wanting to have direct deposit of refunds.
- Open Studio to Benefit Lend A Hand and Friends of Jefferson Park – Saturday and Sunday, April 12th and 13th, from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm at 1601 E. Waverly St. Do you need a bowl to give or to use during the holidays? Wooden salad, fruit and decorative bowls are on exhibit and for sale this weekend, with 5% of the proceeds going to Lend A Hand and Friends of Jefferson Park.
- License and Transaction Privilege Retail Tax Reporting Workshop – Tuesday, April 15th 10:30 am – noon at Woods Library 3455 N. First Ave. Learn your rights and responsibilities for Transaction Privilege (Sales) Taxation by attending a Tax and License Workshop sponsored by the City of Tucson Finance Department. Questions will be answered and written materials will be available. It is recommended that you bring a calculator and a pencil. The workshops are FREE and open to the public. For more info or reservations, email Taxpayer-Education@tucsonaz.gov or call (520) 791-4681. Please specify the activities and subjects that you are interested in reviewing.
- Neighbors Sharing Projects – Wednesday, April 16th 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Woods Library. Join the Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance to learn more about programs and resources in our Ward! Pastor Bob Holliday will discuss the Metro Center program for youth, Ironwood Tree Experience is providing information on their Community Action Toolkit Program for neighborhoods, and several community leaders will share updates on projects and events going on in their neighborhoods. Refreshments will be served and everyone is welcome.
- EGGstravaganza - Saturday, April 19th from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm at Mansfield Park 2000 N. 4th Ave. The City of Tucson Parks and Recreation and Tucson Water present the 15th Annual EGGstravaganza! Enjoy free family fun with carnival games, egg hunts, prizes and the Easter Bunny. Food available for purchase from local vendors. Bring an empty basket for the hunt!
NOTE: Ward 3 needs volunteers to help us set up our EGGstravaganza table and exhibits. If you can give us an hour or two beginning at 8:30 am on April 10th, please contact Judith Anderson at 837-4232 or email@example.com.
- “What You Always Wanted to Know About Water…” – Thursday, April 24th from 6:00 - 7:30 pm at the Ward 3 office. Tucson Water invites you to celebrate Water Awareness Month and learn more about water! Meet experts, ask questions, and enjoy light refreshments. Check out this link for more detail: http://1.usa.gov/1g9u7yf
- Shred-it Event – Saturday, April 26th from 9:00 am – noon at Mansfield Park 2000 N. 4th Avenue. Council Member Karin Uhlich and Pima County Constable Bennett Bernal invite you to bring documents that you wish to have securely destructed. Your first box is free and everything after that costs only $5.00 a box. Proceeds to benefit Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse and Lend a Hand.
- Fiesta to Benefit Lend A Hand – Saturday, April 26th at 6:00 pm. Join your neighbors for a delicious, fun-filled Mexican fiesta to benefit Lend A Hand, the non-profit organization that provides free services to Seniors in 13 Tucson neighborhoods. Menu includes fresh guacamole, Nando’s mesquite grilled carne asada, coffee flan and more! $35 per person ($25 tax deductible). RSVP to Junie at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 16th.
- Suppers for Signs – Sunday, April 27th 4:30 pm Reception and 5:15 pm Supper. Join the Jefferson Park neighborhood for supper, Louie’s famous Sangria, a raffle, and a display of historic photos from the oral history project. Supper is $15.00 and JP wine glasses may be purchased for $10. Proceeds will contribute to the purchase of 32 street signs for the Jefferson Park historic designation. By reservation only. Call 623-9044.
- Amphi Action Day - Saturday, May 10th 8:00 am - 1:30 pm at Amphi Park 510 E Navajo Rd. Save the date! Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Graffiti Protective Coatings (GPC) are teaming up to help us abate graffiti in the Amphi neighborhood. We are looking for 30 volunteers from the community to help with this special event. Breakfast and t-shirts will be provided as well as lunch at the wrap-up celebration in the park. Please contact Brianda or Matt at 520-791-4711 or email@example.com for more information or to sign-up to volunteer.
Upcoming Neighborhood and Coalition Meetings:
- Mountain/1st NA – Saturday, April 12th from 9:00 to 10:00 am at Mitchell Park 1100 E. Mitchell
- Cabrini NA – Tuesday, April 15th from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at Vineyard City Churches 1695 N. Country Club
- Samos NA – Tuesday, April 15th from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at Salpointe Trophy Room 1545 E. Copper St
- National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation – April 1 through April 30. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Tucson Water are asking residents to “pledge for water” in the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation and help Tucson repeat its 2013 first-place showing. Online pledges can be made at www.mywaterpledge.com until the end of the month. Participants in cities with the highest number of pledges in the five population categories are eligible for prizes donated by Wyland and several other organizations. Tucson Water’s web page at http://www.tucsonaz.gov/water/challenge offers resources for residents to help increase the number of local pledges made. The page will be updated throughout April and linked to Wyland’s national page which tracks cities’ rankings in real time.
- Pennington Street Block Party - Friday, April 11th 4:00 – 7:00 pm at Pennington Street downtown between Stone and Scott. City High School invites the Tucson community to the 6th annual Pennington Street Block Party. Join as City High launches Global Youth Service Day in Southern Arizona with a lively downtown street party! Enjoy live music, performances, art installations and more for all-ages. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will present the Ray Davies Student Service Award to kick off the event at 4:00 pm and City High will celebrate their 10th birthday with a cupcake celebration at 5:30 pm. Visit http://cityhighschool.org/community/blockparty/
- Tucson Clean & Beautiful Electronic Collection - Saturday, April 12th from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm at 5555 E River and 3360 E Speedway. Recycle your old and unused computers, laptops, printers, copiers, cell phones, stereo equipment and more at no cost! No large appliances accepted. CRT televisions and monitors carry a $5.00 fee. Whole Foods and Westech Recyclers sponsoring, with proceeds to benefit Tucson Clean & Beautiful. Get more info at 791-5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 20th Annual Earth Day Festival – Saturday, April 12th 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at Reid Park. Join the largest Earth Day event in Tucson to celebrate Southern Arizona’s unique environment. Be an exhibitor, join the parade, or come as a spectator. For more details and to register, visit www.tucsonearthday.org.
-3rd Annual Youth & Peace Conference – Saturday, April 12th 9:30 am – 4:00 pm at Wakefield Middle School 101 W. 44th St. Join for a free conference for youth 10 to 23 years & parents/adults who work with youth! Workshops will be focused on three themes: Speaking Up & Out, Expressing Ourselves, and Engaging Our Community with Art & Technology. After Party for youth only from 4:30 – 6:00 pm. http://higherground.me/youthpeaceaz/
- 11th Annual El Grupo Bicycle Scavenger Hunt – Saturday, April 12th starting at 9:00 am at El Grupo’s new clubhouse location just north of downtown. Annual fundraiser to support El Grupo’s mission of empowering youth through bicycles. Bring your bike (and friends!). The event features a scavenger hunt, lunch, drinks, and a large raffle with prizes from awesome local businesses. Contact 520-304-9682 or visit www.elgrupocycling.org for more info and registration.
- Household Hazardous Waste Program - Saturday, April 12th from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm at 4004 S. Park Ave. Do you have unused chemicals, oils or pesticides sitting in your shed or garage? The City of Tucson and Pima County have an option for you to clean out your space while keeping these hazardous materials out of the environment. Drop off of HHW is free for residents. The program only accepts materials generated in homes—no commercially-generated materials are accepted. More information is available on-line at http://www.tucsonaz.gov/es/household-hazardous-waste, by downloading the “my-waste” App or by calling ES Customer Service at 791-3171.
- Tucson Artists Open Studios – Saturday, April 12th and Sunday, April 13th from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. Over 130 artists in 85 locations across Tucson open their studios to the public so they can see the creative process at work. Complete listings and detailed studio locator maps are online at www.tucsonopenstudios.com.
- Budget Roundtable – Tuesday, April 15th from 5:30 – 8:00 pm at the Ward 6 Council Office 3202 E. 1st St. Join Council Member Steve Kozachik, the City Manager's finance staff, and interested parties from across the community for an overview of the City's current and forecasted fiscal conditions and a discussion about the current situation, what different community groups bring to the table as a part of the overall solution, and what those groups need from the City in order to make that happen. For more info, visit http://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/ward6/Roundtable_Invite.pdf
- Alzheimer’s Association Wine to Remember – Sunday, April 27th 3:00 – 6:00 pm at Hacienda del Sol Resort 5501 N Hacienda del Sol Road. Enjoy an afternoon of fine wine and delightful company at the Desert Southwest Chapter’s 4th annual Southern Arizona Wine to Remember event. This event will be held at the award winning Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort in the heart of Tucson's Catalina Foothills. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in both a silent and live auction, both held on the exquisite grounds of the Hacienda del Sol. This event will feature fine wine, hors d'oeuvres and live music. Tickets are $50 per person, or $80 for two tickets. Sunday best attire is requested. Visit http://www.alz.org/dsw/in_my_community_63230.asp for more information.
Did You Know...?
…that the area now occupied by Mansfield Park and El Cortez and Northwest neighborhoods used to be called Sugar Hill, home to the thriving African-American community in Tucson? As part of this year’s EGGstravaganza celebration in Mansfield Park, Ward 3 will be working with the Donna R. Liggins Center to revive memories of Sugar Hill. Stop by the Ward 3 table at EGGstravaganza (Saturday, April 19, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm), take a look at the “Walk Through Time” exhibit, and add your stories or pictures. If you can’t come to the park but have memories to share, please contact Judith or Brianda at the Ward 3 office at 791-4711 or email@example.com.
…that Tucson Parks and Recreation Departments Summer 2014 Program Guide and Class Catalog is arriving Monday, April 14? Copies will be available for pick up at all Parks and Recreation facilities, including district offices, centers and pools. The summer issue can also be viewed on-line at: http://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks starting Friday, April 11.
….that April is Poetry Month? You can join in the celebration! Join the Woods Library for two events: The Haiku and Cinquain –Exploring Short Forms in Poetry on Saturday, April 19, 1:00 – 2:00 pm in the Large Meeting Room and Poem in Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 24th, 3:00 - 4:30 pm in the Children's Area.
…about Bookmans Read 10 Get 1 Freeprogram for youth? For every 10 books you read, Bookmans will give you one free. What’s the catch? You just have to write a short report telling Bookmans: 1. Your name and age 2. The title and author of the book 3. Why you liked or disliked the book You can even include drawings. When you’ve finished your 10 book reports, bring them to your favorite Bookmans and you’ll be rewarded with a free book for all that hard work.