Paul's Note - July 26, 2019

In 2015, we went through a discussion of changing the city’s charter, and voters approved new language in the following election. Back when that document was written in 1926, there weren’t a lot of departments. There was a provision for a streets commissioner and a water commissioner, and of course police and fire. Not too much more than that though.

Now, over 90 years later, we have a whole raft of city departments. Some of them do work that you see the results of daily, like Tucson Water; others are nearly invisible to you but are none-the-less critical to making sure the city operates, like the Finance Department.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be profiling different city departments and letting you know a little bit about how they operate.

So, how many city departments are there? If you count the City Attorney and City Clerk, there are thirteen: Clerk and Attorney plus Housing and Community Development, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Development Services, Transportation, City Court, Police, Fire, Environmental and General Services, Tucson Water and Finance.

Directly managing all of those departments is the City Manager’s office, which could be considered its own department, albeit a small one, as well.

Two of those departments, by the way, are “enterprise funds.” They are not run with revenues from our general fund, the part of city government funded through your tax dollars. They generate their own money through fees. Tucson Water is funded through your water bill, as well as fees for reclaimed water and connection fees. Environmental and General Services gets funded through fees for residential and commercial trash collection, as well as tipping fees at solid waste facilities.

I’ll be profiling these departments over the next few weeks. If you have specific questions about them you’d like me to address, drop a note to me at


The mural at Palo Verde Park is done!

Every two years Pima Association of Governments (PAG) provides the opportunity for the Tucson Department of Transportation to apply for Transportation Art by Youth (TABY) Summer Program Funding. The funding amounts to $50,000, a portion of which goes to employ students that create the art project.

Every January of odd years the city applies for this funding and works with The Arts Foundation and one Ward Office (it rotates from year to year. 2019 was our turn in Ward 2) to come up with a committee of community members, youth workers and a design and location of art.  This artwork will be maintained by the Department of Transportation

Initially, I was hoping to get some work done on the pedestrian bridge over 22nd Street near Palo Verde High School, but there were safety concerns. We settled on a mural by the pool at Palo Verde Park.

And it looks great!

Congratulations to the student artists Jenna Linneman, Alexis Hirth, Sarina Tuskey and Philomena Obono, as well as lead artists Alexander Gomez and Isaac Caruso.

I’d also like to thank Alfredo Araiza and Carol Vinson, who represented Palo Verde Park Neighborhood and Terra Del Sol Neighborhood on the review committee for the project, as well as my appointee to the Parks Commission, Norma Coffman (who lives next to Palo Verde Park), for the hours they put into making sure that this project would work.

All of you should stop by Palo Verde Park and see the work that these students did.