Those of you that follow council meetings know that they usually are a study session in the afternoon followed by a regular meeting in the evening. Both of these are public meetings and they get noticed as such.
Tuesday’s meeting will be a break from that pattern, but not unprecedented. It will be a mayor and council retreat. It won’t be nearly as much fun as it sounds. We’ve had several of these over the past few years, particularly under the leadership of City Manager Michael Ortega.
Although it is still a public meeting, it is still less formal than a study session and we can discuss what will be the council’s priorities for the coming year. This will be particularly important as we have a new mayor and two new councilmembers.
Transportation and public safety are both high up on my list and judging from calls to my office, they are yours as well. One of my goals in transportation is to secure state money for Golf Links Road to improve east-west travel in our city. For public safety, we have improved the pay package for our police officers and authorized new training classes. I’d like to make sure we have the funding to continue those.
I’d also like to get mayor and council support to make KIDCO available to every Tucson family as well as seeing about doing what they’ve done in Boston, Vermont and several other localities: secure health insurance for every child.
The retreat starts at 10 am on Tuesday over at Fire Central, which is on Cushing Street near Granada. Our regular council meeting will start at 5:30 at our usual spot at City Hall.
Tax season is underway. I want to remind all of you that the Ward 2 office does not provide tax forms. The federal and state governments do not make them available to us.
I’ve written before about CHRPA, a home repair program for low income residents of Tucson and Pima County. We all value home ownership and neighborhood stability. Programs like CHIRPA advance these goals by keeping lower income residents in their homes. There is also another program that the city has that helps residents with urgent repair issues.
The City Home Advocacy Rehabilitation Modification Program (CHARM) provides financial and technical assistance to low income homeowners faced with an urgent housing repair situation. Eligibility is limited to owner-occupied homes within the City of Tucson, individuals or families of limited income or assets, with homes with hazardous and/or unsanitary conditions which threaten the life or health of their present occupants.
The program is a cooperative effort of the city, CHIRPA, DIRECT Center for Independence, Tucson Metropolitan Ministry, and FSL Home Improvements.
The program covers mobile home repairs, as well as repairs to free standing homes up to $25,000. They also administer a program to abate hazardous lead paint, including getting medical help for children who are affected.
For more information, visit the CHARM web page: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/hcd/home-owner-programs