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Karin's Note: Friday, January 17, 2014

Karin's Note: Friday, January 17, 2014

-Ward 3 Events
-Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s)
-Citywide Events
-Did You Know?


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Dear Tucsonans,


On Monday I attended the Governor’s State of the State Address at the State Capitol. You can read a copy of her outlined platform here: 
http://azgovernor.gov/dms/upload/PR_011314_FCR2014Edition.pdf
The work now proceeds with elected colleagues at all levels of government to shape responsible budgets, improve programs to reduce violence and better serve the public, and grow our middle class through strategic economic development.
Locally we have a substantive agenda for the Mayor/Council meeting next Wednesday. The agenda and materials can be found at this link: 

http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/clerks/mcdocs
 

Financial Management


We will review the FY 2013 Comprehensive Financial Report which provides the foundation for development of future budgets. The report, which you can read here: http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/files/finance/2013_CAFR_File_linked_content.pdf


In 2006 and 2007 I worked with several colleagues and the City of Tucson’s Chief Financial Officer at the time (Jim Cameron) to enact a formal policy for the City’s reserve funds. That included the adoption of explicit goals for our Stabilization Fund (10% of general fund) and our unassigned fund balance (7%). Our ability to manage the economic downturn would have been far worse had the Mayor and Council at that time not had the foresight to adopt those ambitious goals and build up healthy reserves.


These cushions are meant to provide a buffer during hard times (which it did) so crises can be averted and cuts can be implemented in an orderly and effective manner (e.g. vacancy management vs. rapid large scale layoffs to decrease personnel costs). Even after the worst economy since the Great Depression, we have managed to retain a Stabilization Fund at 5.2% and Unassigned Fund Balance of 3.1%. During any good times ahead over the coming years we must clearly work to restore the full goal balances in both of these funds so future budgets can be adequately buffered during downward economic cycles.


We do now see some positive trends taking hold. There’s some improvement in the position of pension funds as the performance of the stock market rebounds and the changes enacted by Mayor/Council (affecting the Tucson Supplemental Retirement System) take effect. Our actions have also helped to shrink the Self Insurance Fund deficit considerably.


Looming costs remain, however, including capital and infrastructure investments that had to be delayed. Our dialogue at the local level in many respects mirrors that at the state and national level, and in homes and businesses everywhere. We will need to prioritize annual spending and take additional steps to address the longer term, structural fiscal challenges (capital needs, restoration of reserves, etc.). There’s a balance we must find so we don’t overload a single annual budget with long-term demands. But ignoring those longer term bills coming due isn’t acceptable either. I’ll be looking for that balance in the coming weeks as we continue our discussions regarding the City budget.


Transit Planning


Also on the agenda will be the presentation of a recent Peer Review of our system facilitated by the Arizona Transit Association. Tucson requested recommendations for 1) increasing ridership 2) controlling costs and 3) increasing revenues. My greatest disappointment is that few if any of the recommendations address our most desired outcome: increasing ridership in order to increase revenues. I’ll be asking more specific questions about that at our meeting in the hope that we can identify some steps toward that end for the coming year and beyond.


The options for fare levels and ratios will receive further vetting at our meeting and during a prescribed process that includes at least one public hearing in the future. I am glad we have shifted to fiscal planning, system-wide and multi-year. We have to proceed cautiously with any changes; according to our team a 10% increase in any fare results in a 4% decrease in ridership. I’ll be spending considerable time before Wednesday reviewing the documents provided by staff.


I’ll share more with you next week about these discussions and any action that transpires at the meeting. In the meantime I’ll hope to see you at the March and Rally commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday.


Have a great weekend,


Karin
 

Note: The Ward 3 Council Office will be closed on Monday, January 20, 2014 in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.


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Ward 3 Events:


-Coronado Heights Neighborhood Beautification Project – Monday, January 20th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Ernie’s Market, 247 W. Laguna. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “National Day of Service” volunteers will spend the day beautifying the surrounding Coronado Heights neighborhood. Included will be a mural painting, graffiti abatement, weeding and picking up trash. Volunteers include Compass Affordable Housing/Glenstone Village, Coronado Heights NA, Ironwood Tree Experience, Lively Seniors of Tucson, Portable Practical Education Preparation (PPEP) and the Southwest Conservation Corps. More info: 520-647-9652

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Upcoming Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s):


-Cabrini NA – Tuesday, January 21 at 6 p.m. Vineyard Church, 3150 E. Fort Lowell Road


- Samos NA – Tuesday, January 21 at 6:30 p.m. Salpointe Catholic High School, 1545 E. Copper


- Jefferson Park NA – Wednesday, January 22 at 6:00 p.m. Ward 3 Council Office, 1510 E. Grant Road   

  
-Keeling NA – Monday, January 27 at 7:00 p.m. Cornerstone Fellowship Hall, 2902 N. Geronimo


-Hedrick Acres NA – Tuesday, January 28 at 6:30 p.m. 2842 N. Mountain


-Amphi NA – Thursday, January 30 at 6:30 p.m. 240 W. Navajo

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Citywide Events:


-Tucson Association of Realtors “Shoot Out” –Friday- Sunday, January 17th through the 19th. Opening festivities kick off at Fort Lowell Park (2900 N. Craycroft) at 5:45 p.m. Friday. Over 300 teams and 14,000 spectators will be in Tucson to compete. Fun, food vendors and open to the public.

-Martin Luther King, Jr. Tucson Celebration – Monday, January 20 with a march beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the University of Arizona Mall (eastside Old Main) continuing to Ride Park DeMeester Performance Pavilion with a special tribute to Nelson Mandela. Festivities begin at 10:30 a.m. and continue to 3:30 p.m. with dancers, speakers, music and food. More info: Donna Liggins at 237-7806 or drliggins33@hotmail.com


-7th Annual Beat Back Buffelgrass – Saturday, January 25. Buffelgrass is a wildfire waiting to happen. Event is sponsored by Tucson Clean and Beautiful, Southern Arizona Buffelgrass and various groups and municipalities.  Volunteers needed throughout the Tucson area. Sign up online: www.buffelgrass.org

 
-Community Forum on Keeping Children Safe & Healthy: Prevention, Child Care, and CPS – Thursday, January 30 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road. Sponsored by Child & Family Resources, United way, Children’s Action Alliance, Easter Seals and Tucson Jewish Community Center. Free and open to the public.


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Did You Know...?


…that you can report “lost” shopping carts to the City of Tucson ? Call 791-3171 or 791-3172 with the location and within 48 hours, the carts will be removed.


….that In 2012 Nonprofit Loan Fund of Tucson and Southern Arizona  (NPLF) was formed  to bridge cash flow gaps, strengthen the financial capacity of nonprofits by providing affordable, operating loans and to help organizations qualify for conventional bank loans in the future.  With the help of many community partners, it began making loans to mid-size nonprofits late last year.

According to the Alliance for Arizona Nonprofits, Southern Arizona is home to more than 3,500 nonprofit organizations. Many of these agencies report cash flow gaps throughout the year as they await reimbursements such as grants and donations, forcing delays of important community programs and services.

For information on eligibility and to download an application, please visit www.nonprofit-loans.org or call (520)382-9203. 

 

…that the City of Tucson is hosting workshops on “Licensing and Transaction Privilege Tax Reporting?” Learn your rights and responsibilities for the Transaction Privilege Sales Tax by attending a FREE workshop sponsored by the City of Tucson Finance Department. Interested parties should email: taxpayer-education@tucsonaz.gov or call (520) 791-4681 for reservations or more information. Dates and Times:


CONTRACTING: Thursday, January 23 from 10:30 a.m. to Noon at Martha Cooper Branch Library, 1377 N. Catalina Avenue


RETAIL: Thursday, January 30 from 10:30 a.m. to Noon, Martha Cooper Branch Library, 1377 N. Catalina Avenue

 

…that the Veteran’s Administration Offers $600 Million in Funding to Support Services for Homeless Veteran Families? The following information is from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):

Grant Program One of Many VA Initiatives to End Veterans’ Homelessness

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the availability of up to approximately $600 million in grants for non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives that serve very low-income Veteran families occupying permanent housing through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.

“Those who have served our Nation should never find themselves on the streets, living without hope,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “These grants play a critical role in addressing Veteran homelessness by assisting our vital partners at the local level in their efforts.  We are making good progress towards our goal to end Veterans’ homelessness, but we still have work to do.”

The SSVF program is designed to assist very low-income Veteran families who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. The program employs a housing first model, an approach which centers on providing homeless Veterans with permanent housing quickly and then providing VA health care, benefits and services as needed.

Required services include outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits, and providing or coordinating efforts to obtain needed entitlements and other community services.  Grantees secure a broad range of other services for participants, including legal assistance; credit counseling; housing counseling; assisting participants in understanding leases, securing utilities, and coordinating moving arrangements; providing representative payee services concerning rent and utilities when needed; and serving as an advocate for the Veteran when mediating with property owners on issues related to locating or retaining housing.  Grantees also offer temporary financial assistance that provides short-term assistance with rent, moving expenses, security and utility deposits, child care, transportation, utility costs, and emergency expenses.

VA announced the availability of funds today through a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) via the Federal Register.  VA is offering $300 million in FY 2014 funds and $300 million in FY 2015 funds, subject to available appropriations.   VA will make award decisions based on a national competition.

In FY 2013, VA awarded approximately $300 million in SSVF grants for operations beginning in FY 2014.  VA is focusing up to $300 million in surge funding on 76 high priority continuums of care in an unprecedented effort to end Veterans’ homelessness in these communities.  In FY 2013, funding from the SSVF program served over 39,000 Veterans and over 62,000 participants (i.e., Veterans and their family members).

In November, VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the results of the 2013 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, which was prepared by HUD.  The report estimated there were 57,849 homeless Veterans on a single night in January in the United States, an eight percent decline since 2012 and a 24 percent decline since 2010.

The SSVF program is authorized by 38 U.S.C. 2044.  VA implements the program by regulations in 38 CFR part 62.  More information about the program can be found at www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp<http://www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp>.



…that the Alzheimer’s Association and its Southern Arizona Regional Office have a wide range of special and ongoing activities planned for this fall?  Take a look at information below for some of what they offer!  For more information about any of the events or programs, please contact the Regional Office at 520/322-6601.   
          
Upcoming Events - Each month there are scheduled Alzheimer educational sessions**  throughout the community.
The following is a list of sessions that are being provided in January:
- January 21, 2014 @ 2pm at Armory Park Senor Center, Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters
- January 23rd, 2014 @ 2pm at Saddlbrook HOA#1, Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters

**If you know any groups that might be interested in an educational session, they can call the office. We offer a variety of topics related to Alzheimer's disease and caregiving including Behaviors, Communication, The Basics of Dementia, Family Caregiving to name just a few.

Annual Education Conference - The Annual Education Conference is scheduled for March 12, 2014 in Tucson at the Jewish Community Center from 8am to 3:30pm. Speakers planned include:   Keynote Speaker, Betsy Broyles-Arnold, Co-Producer of Coach Broyles Alzheimer's Playbook and President of Caregivers United;  Dr. Steven Rapcsak;  Dr. Richard Casselli;  Dr. Ole Teinhaus; and Dr. David Coon. Special breakout sessions for people with early stage memory loss and professionals as well as an opportunity to participate in the Virtual Dementia Tour will also be incorporated into this important educational event. Cost is $35 for family caregivers and $65 for professionals. A limited number of scholarships and respite vouchers will be available for family caregivers.

Wine To Remember - Sunday, April 27th at 3pm is the Wine To Remember event at Hacienda Del Sol. The freshest wines, featuring local wineries, along with some of the best hors d'oeuvres in a beautiful setting, make this relaxing afternoon the perfect opportunity to support the work of the Alzheimer’s Association to empower and support individuals affected by dementia in our community.

Early Stage Programs
Connections Plus is a social engagement program that helps people in the early-stage of memory loss to connect with others facing similar situations. Meetings are scheduled each month that include gathering for pot lucks, outings and volunteer opportunities. If you know anyone who can benefit from this program, please have them call Elizabeth Kinder at the Southern Az Regional Office.

EPIC, or Early Stage Partners in Care, is a program designed for individuals recently diagnosed with dementia or are living in the early stages to participate in a program with their care partners to address issues they are facing now and start planning for the future. Participants in the EPIC classes will meet for 2 hours over the period of 7 weeks in a group educational setting while working together to understand what each partner would like and how to communicate with each other to have a plan. This is such a great program for people in the early stages and their care partners that are often times weary of the future and not sure how to talk about it. The program is taking referrals now and will set the schedule for the groups as soon as possible.

Memories in the Making is a creative arts program in collaboration with the Tucson Museum of Art designed for persons with memory loss which provides social connections, pleasant activities for both the person with dementia and their care partner, and promotes creative expression through a variety of mediums provided at no cost.  A new series of this program is starting in February and March. These will be our last sessions until September and spaces are filling up quickly.
Finally, the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline number is 1-800-272-3900. A dementia specialist is available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week to assist.