City News

Statement from Councilmember Richard Fimbres on his vote to move the Broadway widening project forward:

Close to four years ago, the Mayor and Council discussed this issue and the proposed eight lane roadway. I want to remind everyone that the eight lane project was a City transportation plan drafted in 1987.

The original plan was only to go to the north side and one Ward. The Mayor and Council met on this and a compromise was achieved. The project would also take in areas south on Broadway, encompassing two Wards.

The Mayor and Council voted to have the Citizens Task Force review this plan and to present the Mayor and Council with other options for consideration.

The Citizens Task Force brought forward a proposed six lane plan.

The Mayor and Council approved the concept and sent it to the RTA for consideration, since it was a approved ballot measure in 2006.

The RTA compromised, voting to approve the four plus two lane concept for Broadway.

City staff and the Citizens Task Force proceeded on a concept design for the four plus two plan.

Questions were raised and the Mayor and Council voted to extend the time and work of the Citizen’s Task Force, requiring a vote by the RTA for further funding to continue the work.

The RTA and authorized further funding for Staff and the Citizen’s Task Force to continue their work.

The concept proposal was discussed further, delayed twice due to questions and on June 9, 2015, the Concept Plan was approved by a 7 to 0 vote.

On April 5, 2016, the Mayor and Council held the public hearing on the proposed 30% design plan, hearing people at the meeting and through comments who favored building eight lanes, supporting the four plus two proposal, opposing the four plus two proposal and doing nothing and killing the project.

There has been talk of delay and killing the project.

If the project is delayed further, the cost for any further action will have to come from the City’s pocket.

If the Mayor and Council vote to kill the project, the City will be on the hook to the RTA alone for close to $8 million dollars, plus the more than $1.7 million the City has spent on early acquisitions.

If the project is killed, it would cost up to $40 million just to repair Broadway in its current configuration.

This Mayor and Council, with the City Manager and staff, worked together to deal with the projected budget deficit of $42 million. I am not prepared to scuttle that work at this point. Compromise was reached for our budget and can be reached for this proposal.

Questions have been about the 30% design plan about width, bus pullouts, bike lanes, lane width, medians, cross-width of the entire road and left turns.

If the Mayor and Council approve this agenda item, the 30% design plan will continue to be refined towards 60% design plans.

Public workshops will be held with regard to streetscape and landscaping to get input from the community for the vision of the corridor.

Property owners and businesses will be consulted by City Staff and the RTA Mainstreet Business program.

This project has gone on for nearly ten years, and we can’t delay it any further.

Court Night to Address Legal Issues

Pima County Superior Court and the Pima County Bar Association are hosting an event tomorrow that aims to educate the public about some of the top filings that appear before judges, such as divorce and child support, probate, debt, and landlord-tenant issues.

The free Court Night event will be held in two sessions (4-5:30 p.m. and 5:45-7:15 p.m.) at the Herbert K. Abrams Public Health Center, 3950 S. Country Club Road.

Emergency Dispatchers Honored This Week

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Telecommunicators are the police and fire professionals who take emergency calls and dispatch police officers, firefighters, and paramedics.

Tucson News Now (video) recently spoke with longtime Tucson Fire Department (TFD) Lead Public Safety Dispatcher Frances Robson about how challenging and emotional her career can be when answering tragic calls.

City Manager to Submit Recommended Budget Tomorrow

City Manager Michael Ortega will submit his Recommended FY 16/17 Budget to the Mayor and Tucson City Council at tomorrow's Study Session. The budget trims away at a projected $25.6 million deficit.

During a meeting earlier this month, the City Council generally accepted the amount of the cuts, but it directed Ortega to change a few of the items he suggested earlier in the process.

Final adoption of the budget is set for June 7, and there will be public hearings before that (May 3 and June 7). 

Final Open House for Tucson Parks and Recreation Five-Year Master Plan

The Tucson Parks and Recreation department wants to know how it can improve recreation and leisure opportunities for all of its users. This month, the department has been holding a second round of open houses to gather input on the process to create a vibrant, new five-year master plan that anticipates future needs and outlines the actions necessary to deliver high-quality recreation facilities, programs, and services to the Tucson area.

Judy Collins to Appear with Tucson Symphony Orchestra

Singer/songwriter Judy Collins will perform her “Hits” show in concert with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (TSO) for the first time since 1992. A Grammy winner for the top 10 hit Both Sides Now and a nominee for Send in the Clowns, Collins is known for her command of folk, show tunes, pop, rock, and standards. Collins recently finished her first studio album in four years.

Last-Minute Tax Help Available

Today is April 15, but state and federal income taxes aren't due until Monday, April 18, this year. Today is Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Internal Revenue Service are offering last-minute help and free electronic tax preparation for those in need. The extra help began today and will be available tomorrow and Monday.

Parks and Recreation Summer Activity Guide Available Now

Tucson Parks and Recreation’s Activity Guide for summer 2016 is available online and at all Parks and Recreation facilities, including administration offices, centers and pools. The Activity Guide contains information on leisure classes, summer KIDCO, aquatics, sports programs, registration, and the Discount Program.

Registration will open April 23 for City residents and April 25 for non-City residents.

For questions, please call Registration Services at (520) 791-4877.

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