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Karin's Note: Thursday, March 7, 2013

-Navajo Wash Cleanup is Saturday

-2nd Annual Youth and Peace Conference

-Eggstravaganza at Mansfield Park

-Future Neighborhood Meetings

- 2013 Tucson Festival of Books

-City of Tucson Annual Procurement Open House

-Spring Artisans Market at Tucson Museum of Art

-26th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

-UA4U

- Did you know....?

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 Dear Tucsonans,

 

City Budget

The City Manager presented his preliminary FY 2014 budget recommendations to the Mayor and Council on Tuesday. While we face another challenging year, I believe we can find reasonable strategies to close the projected $15M shortfall while sustaining core services and honoring the hard work of our employees. I have been taking a close look at departmental trends and listening as people across the City share their concerns and priorities with me.

We discussed the immediate shortfall for 2014 and also some longer term, structural challenges ahead. My hope is that we will not use any debt restructuring to balance this year’s budget, as that would push pressure into the future. At the same time we have to be realistic about the pace with which we budget to resolve long term shortfalls so we meet our goals over 10 years (the timeframe for our self-insurance liability reserve) or twenty to thirty years (the timeframe typically applied to pension funds) without undermining current, core City services. Those same services have already been hurt by state budget cuts as well as the economic crisis. Cutting further to frontload progress on long term liabilities could in fact shortchange critical services we need in order to sustain our economic recovery (our track record as a safe and quality community affects our ability to attract jobs and investment). To date we have done well, retaining positive bond ratings as we balance these short and long term dynamics.

A few key questions in focus in these early stages include:

Pensions- We have to be good stewards and fulfill our benefit obligations responsibly; with input from employee and retiree groups as well as investment/actuarial experts and the Pension Boards, we will be adjusting certain underlying assumptions and cost-factors to keep pensions on solid footing.

Public Safety- for years we have tried to identify a dedicated local source of funding for police and fire so we become less reliant on federal grants which may or may not continue a few years from now. We raised this concern again at the table Tuesday, and will be evaluating whether changes in state legislation or new ideas open any doors for Tucson to consider.

Parks and Recreation- We have been firm in our insistence that the Golf Enterprise stop drawing support from the General Fund and that we evaluate the whole of the Parks and Rec budget to provide the best service to the most people possible with General Fund dollars available.

Projected Operating Costs for the Modern Streetcar- while the project has already drawn nearly $200 million of private investment and lots of jobs to the route area, we must finalize our agreements with the University of Arizona, the Regional Transportation Authority and others and we must demand that costs be contained in order to minimize the City dollars needed for operations.

You can see the materials for the Manager’s presentation at this link: http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/budget. Please offer your feedback to me over the coming month as we again seek the best balance for Tucson through this process.

Prudent Investments

Decisions today have to take into account the immediate fiscal challenges facing City government. That doesn’t mean totally sacrificing those things important to our community. One case in point has to do with the planned investment of County-approved Bond funds for things like Parks and Recreation facilities.

In Ward 3, the 2004 Bond program included funding for a new/improved Northside Park. Supervisors Sharon Bronson and Ally Miller and I recently met to review the full implications of the options being considered for that investment. The original plan developed by the City in far better economic times called for the construction of a new building for recreational services to augment a County planned site development.  But would building a new center make sense, when we have had to cut back the hours and staffing levels of our existing facilities across the City in recent years? As hard as it is to accept, I believe that any capacity to invest more in our Parks and Recreation budget will need to be used to strategically restore some vital services lost during the economic downturn. Simply put, we won’t have money to maintain and operate new facilities for the foreseeable future.

I have therefore advocated with City staff and my County colleagues that we concentrate the Northside focus on the County site plan that, when completed,  will mean a tournament-caliber complex of soccer fields which the County can operate and maintain to the benefit of residents across Tucson and our entire region. 

Too often progress for our community gets derailed by bickering over jurisdictional control. We need to make good on our shared promises under the 2004 Bond program and complete a meaningful investment on the Northside together. I am grateful to Supervisor Bronson, the Pima County Bond Oversight Committee, and the City and County Parks Departments for collaborating further to develop a community asset that will be valued, highly utilized, and sustainable for Tucson. And because we this kind of tournament-caliber complex does not yet exist here, it can also become a new economic draw for the region.

An Honor

I am proud to be nominated for a Tucson/Pima County Women’s Commission Leadership Award this year. To learn more about the work of the Commission and their event acknowledging Women in Government you can visit:  http://pimatucsonwomen.org

Have a great weekend,

Karin

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Ward 3 Events:

-Navajo Wash Cleanup – Saturday, March 9 from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Join your neighbors for the monthly care of this Hedrick Acres public space.  Meet at the northwest corner of Hedrick and Mountain. More info: Lorraine at 327-7587.

-2nd Annual Youth and Peace Conference – Saturday, March 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Doolen Middle School, 2400 N. Country Club Road. Conference focuses on non-violent behavior through workshops, speakers and performances. More info: www.youthandpeaceconference@gmail.com

-Eggstravaganza – Saturday, March 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Mansfield Park, 2000 N. 4th Avenue. Family fun, carnival games, egg hunts (starting with 4 years old and younger at 10:30 a.m.), food vendors…and of course, the Easter Bunny! Kids should bring an empty basket for the egg hunt. More info: 791-4873.

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Future Neighborhood Meeting:

 AGI/TNBC –Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Emerge on 2425 N. Haskell.

Campus Community Relations Committee (CCRC) – Tuesday, March 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the UA Memorial Student Union Ventana Room. 

Friends of Mansfield Park – Wednesday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m. Ward 3 Council Office, 1510 E. Grant Road.

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City Wide Events:

 -Tucson Festival of Books – Saturday and Sunday, March 9 and 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. “Where Words and Imagination Come to Life!” This year is bigger than ever with 450 authors and 275 exhibits. More info:  www.tucsonfestivalofbooks.org

-City of Tucson Annual Procurement Open House – Wednesday, March 13 from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. 6th Floor of City Hall, 255 W. Alameda. March is National Purchasing Month and this Open House is personally funded by the Procurement staff. Join the food and fun and meet the city staff to learn more about the services they offer.

-Spring Artisans Market at Tucson Museum of Art – Friday through Sunday, March 15-17, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. 140 N. Main Avenue. 200 artisan’s booths with free admission to the museum. More info: www.tucsonmuseumofart.org

-26th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Parade begins at 11:00 a.m. Festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. in Armory Park. Details and info: www.TucsonStPatricksDay.com

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UA4U  - Sarah T. Evans,  Sevans1@email.arizona.edu

 

Welcome to UA4U, an occasional communication from the UA Office of Community Relations. Its purpose is to share information of interest with core-campus neighbors and neighborhoods.

 

UA COLLEGE OF PHARMACY SPRING HEALTH FAIRS: 2013—Free and open to the public!

St. Philip’s Senior and Caregiver Health Fair

Date: Sunday, March 17

Time: 8:30am – 12:30pm

Location: St. Philip's Church (4440 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ)

  • Diabetes Screening
  • Asthma Screening
  • Hypertension Screening
  • Educational booths

 

Health and Safety Fair

Date: Saturday, March 23

Time: 10am – 1pm

Location: El Rio Neighborhood Center (1390 W Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ, 85745-2324)

  • Diabetes Screening
  • Asthma Screening
  • Hypertension Screening
  • Cholesterol Screening
  • Educational booths

 

For more information about the health fairs contact Info: Alina Kurita, kurita@pharmacy.arizona.edu, or 480-233-7381(cell) (APhA-ASP VP of Managed Care)

 

CCRC Meeting is March 12:

The next Campus Community Relations Committee (CCRC) meeting will be held Tuesday, March 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Memorial Student Union Ventana Room. 

CCRC’s membership is a unique blend of representatives from core-campus neighborhoods, City Council Wards 3 and 6, University of Arizona Medical Center (UAMC) and the University of Arizona (UA). CCRC meets with a stated purpose of “bringing together the University of Arizona, the City of Tucson, UAHN, and the neighborhoods in the university area to discuss issues, resolve conflicts, find and implement mutually satisfactory solutions to problems and work for the betterment of the community in an atmosphere of respect.” Guests are always welcome.

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 -Did you know…?

...that the City of Tucson is soliciting competitive proposals for the delivery of eligible economic development projects and special events offered by non-profit organizations located in the City? Contracts will be awarded for a one year period, beginning on June 1, 2013. Approximately five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) will be available for Fiscal Year 2014. All eligible organizations are encouraged to apply. Proposals due March 22, 2013. Applications may be found at: www.tucsonaz.gov/edrfp

..that the Ward 3 Council Office (in the community room) hosts Free Tax Help through April 13? The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITSA) program is sponsored by United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. Hours are Tuesdays from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. Assistance is given to low and moderate income individuals and families. You will need to bring your picture ID (for yourself and spouse if applicable), original social security card for each family member, proof of income, documentation of deductible expenses, account routing numbers for direct deposit and last year's tax return if you have it. First Come, First Served! The Ward 3 Council Office located at 1510 E. Grant Road.

…that the Loft Cinema is holding a special screening of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty on Saturday March 16? David Hallberg, the first American – and first foreign dancer – ever invited to be a principal dance with the storied Bolshoi Ballet will be at a private reception at the new Mooney Backlot, located behind screen 3. Saturday, March 16 with a screening and Q&A at 5:00 p.m. followed by a private reception at 7:30 p.m. Funds will allow the Loft Theatre to continue to bring great artists to Tucson! The Loft Cinema is located at 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Tickets and RSVP: Luanne@loftaz.com or 520-322-5638 X6

that the Animal Welfare Alliance of Southern Arizona presents Pet Fix, a free spay/neuter clinic? Residents within the area bounded by I-10, Prince Road to the north, Columbus Boulevard to the east and Speedway to the south qualify for a FREE surgery for up to two pets at a participating clinic. Participating clinics include the Humane Society of Southern Arizona at 881-0321 and Arizona Spay/Neuter Clinic at 624-5005. Call to make an appointment and for more information. Pet Fix is sponsored by donations, Pima County Health Department and Arizona Pet Friendly Spray/Neuter License Plate.