Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On Tuesday night Mayor and Council approved a $1.335 billion budget for the city. It was not an easy task. We are still not out of this economic crisis and our budget reflects that fact. Steps we took include:
• Reduced expenditures by almost $90 million;
• Reduced salaries by 22% with 1,000 city positions eliminated;
• Cut 25% from my office budget;
• Merged departments and eliminated costly administrative positions.
As in past years, I have worked to direct our General Fund investments to core services, as requested by city residents.
• Approximately 66%, or two-thirds, of our budget is invested in public safety, including police and fire.
• We aggressively pursued a federal grant of $13 million to hire 54 new police officers.
• Approximately 12% of our budget is invested in Parks and Recreation and Transportation, including Transit.
• The remaining 22% of our General Fund budget goes to all other departments, including Development Services.
Mayor and Council protected Development Services from deep cuts that would delay plan and permit approvals for business expansion and opposed fees that would undermine recovery. We listened to the concerns of renters and small business owners, and said no to a rental housing tax, an advertising tax and business license fee increases. For the first time in more than 10 years, we authorized federal Section 108 business loans, in partnership with the Downtown Tucson Partnership and the Tucson Industrial Development Authority, to help stimulate the economy. We are researching all the new state and federal grant opportunities to build economic partnerships. We continue to seek opportunities to attract more private sector wealth.
We reinstated strategic financial support through a competitive process to the Microbusiness Advancement Center, Downtown Tucson Partnership, TREO, the Arts Council and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. We increased fees but we didn't dismantle the KIDCO after-school program for 1300 kids, allowing working families to keep working. I’m proud that our recreation and senior centers will remain open. 10 pools are open for the summer throughout the city. We know that youth who are involved in activities are less likely to get into trouble.
I view our investment in transportation and transit choices as a form of economic development, as it helps our city’s workforce get to their jobs. Our General Fund investment to transit has increased due to $3 million in cuts from the State Legislature, higher fuel costs, refunding our liability reserve and contractual costs at Sun Tran. Unfortunately, every one cent increase in gas prices increases the city’s transit costs by $30,000, so we raised bus fares again this year. We have directed our transit task force to work with our Department of Transportation to create a five year plan for transit, including the integration of the Modern Streetcar.
We are working to sell City land to minimize $9.5 million in debt restructuring. Two proposals are moving forward right now that could bring in approximately $6 million, and in the next two months we have more recommendations coming that could bring in additional revenue.
I appreciate the feedback I have received from you, and from everyone who made their voice heard at the budget public hearings. I wish everyone a safe Memorial Holiday weekend. Please take a moment in the coming days to remember our friends and family who served and lost their lives in service to our country, and those who are currently serving in our armed forces.
In this update:
-Saturday, May 28 Community Day for David at AVA Amphitheater
-Save Money & Energy! June 4 Workshop for Homeowners
-Santa Cruz River Farmer's Market Moving June 14 to Mercado San Agustin
-Save the Date! Dia De San Juan Fiesta Friday, June 24, 5-11 p.m.
Community Day for David at AVA Amphitheater
Join me at Community Day for David this Saturday at Casino del Sol’s AVA Amphitheater from 12-8 pm, to benefit the National Transplant Assistance Fund (NTAF) Southwest Lung Transplant Fund and to honor local longtime musician David Hernandez. David is in need of a double lung transplant. Transplants are expensive and many costs associated with the procedure are not covered by David’s healthcare insurance. There will be live entertainment, games and activities for kids, a car show, guest speakers and vendors. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids and are available at the gate or in advance at Micha’s Restaurant and Las Cazuelitas Restaurant at Grant Rd./I-19. For more information contact Karen Kane (520) 369-4352 or Hector Youtsey at (520) 820-6277.
Who/What: Community Day for David, a benefit for NTAF Southwest Lung Transplant Fund and David Hernandez
Contact: Karen Kane (520) 369-4352 or Hector Youtsey at (520) 820-6277
When: Saturday, May 28, 2011 from noon-8 p.m.
Where: Casino del Sol’s AVA Amphitheater, 5655 W. Valencia Road
Save Money and Energy! June 4 Workshop for Homeowners
Specially trained energy coaches will show you how you can save money by saving energy at home - from how to properly install weather stripping to how to install a low-flow shower head and much more. Conserving energy and lowering your monthly energy bill is the goal. Energy coaches Bill Mackey, Patricia Rigg and Joni Sawyer will lead the workshop which includes a conservation tool bag for you to take home - filled with supplies you can use immediately to make your home more energy-efficient. There will also be information about solar and water conservation programs.
Save the Date!
Saturday, June 4 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Ward 1 Council office
940 W. Alameda (west of I-10 at Grande and Alameda)
FREE - but seating is limited so RSVP today
918-8337 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information call Robert Bulechek at 302-4636
This workshop is sponsored by City Councilor Regina Romero, Tucson Electric Power and the Metropolitan Energy Commission.
Santa Cruz River Farmers Market is Coming to Mercado San Agustin!
Mercado San Agustin welcomes the Santa Cruz River Farmers Market beginning June 16 and continuing every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. All your favorites will be there! Shop for Arizona grown produce, meats, prepared foods, educational workshops and entertainment.
Who/What: Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market is coming to Mercado San Agustin
Contact: Kira Dixon-Weinstein at (520)46-1110x8 or Sara Rickard, (520) 622-0525
When: Beginning June 16 and every Thursday from 4-7pm.
Where: Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento (at West Congress St.)
Save the Date! El Día de San Juan Fiesta
The 14th Annual El Dia de San Juan Fiesta Friday, June 24 from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. at the Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento, just off Congress, west of Interstate 10. The Fiesta will feature a procession, live music and dance, food and arts & crafts vendors, games and activities for children, and free water. Making a special appearance, clowns from the newest Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus show “Fully Charged” (playing at the Tucson Convention Center from June 30-July 3) will be on-hand to entertain and hand out some fun giveaways. Free and open to the public, the Fiesta is non-alcoholic and boasts a family-focused atmosphere.
Who/What: 14th Annual El El Día de San Juan Fiesta
Contact: Amy Santos at 791-4040 or email@example.com
When: June 24, 2010, 5-11PM.
Where: Congress Street at Avenida del Convento