Paul's Note - June 12, 2020

Unfortunately, Arizona is now among the places where COVID-19 is spreading the fastest. We were warned about this, and it is one of the reasons why I pushed so hard to use a portion of CARES Act money for a testing and plasma program.

My colleagues and I have adopted a strategic plan to use the CARES Act money. The $95 million federal allocation will be spent on things from support for small business to aid for families that are facing eviction due to economic dislocation.

Both the small business support and the housing help come from what we are calling “Community Investment and Support,” a line item that encompasses $22 million in spending. That includes relatively inexpensive items such as the ongoing “webinars” that our economic development team is doing for small business owners ($30,000) to $2 million in grants to small business owners to $4 million for dislocated workers.

Another $37 million is being spent on continued city operations. That includes money spent to cover payroll for city employees, extra clean ups of streets, protective gear for first responders as well as money spent to make sure that city facilities are COVID-19 safe for use as we reopen over the next few weeks.

An additional $2.5 million has already been allocated by the city manager for support for food delivery programs and care for vulnerable populations. The remaining money (over $33 million) is being kept in reserve for future costs. That will be allocated in July.

With all that said, we are on the cusp of a second wave of this virus. Please, make sure to remain careful. Also remember, when you wear a mask and take distancing precautions, it’s not only for your sake but for your family, neighbors and co-workers.

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Reading the news the last few weeks, it might be hard to remember the run-of-the-mill city business that is still going on.

For a long time, I had pushed for getting the rebuild done on East Broadway. For a bit of background, the Broadway between Camino Seco and Harrison was a textbook definition of a failed road. It was scheduled for work by the RTA, but only in a far off future phase. I got it moved up, but then there were issues with one of the utilities. Then, we had weather issues. Finally, work got started last year.

I would have loved to have had a ribbon cutting to show off the new road, but circumstances prevented that. We didn’t have any fanfare, but anyone driving that area has noticed that we’ve had a fresh piece of blacktop there, along with new lighting and sidewalks.

Despite the road accommodating traffic for a few months now, there are still people working out there. Our crews had to move a sewer line, so Pima County is out there to put the finishing touches on that part of things. There are also city crews working on landscaping.

If you have any questions about the construction, don’t hesitate to call my office.

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For those of you who pay your Tucson Water bill online, you will notice some changes on June 17th.

Tucson Water will be moving to a new payment system. The old one, Click2Gov, will be retired on June 16th and current users of the autopay system will have to reregister. If you currently pay through your bank or credit union, that will not change.

For an overview of the new system, Tucson Water set up an FAQ page: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/water/faq-new-online-payment-portal%C2%A0

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Stay safe, everyone.