Vice Mayor Paul Cunningham
I became very frustrated the other night at the council meeting over what might be considered an obscure subject: impact fees.
Impact fees are charged to developers for new construction. Cities and counties impose them because new development means that services in that area, whether it’s roads, parks, water or sewers, need to be expanded.
The commission that oversees the parks bond program made an important decision on Monday night for those of you that play either tennis or pickleball.
First, I want to give you a bit of background. In 2018, you and your neighbors passed Proposition 407, which authorized the sale of $225 million of bonds to fund parks and trail projects throughout the city. $5.5 million of that is set to be spent at Ft. Lowell, while $13.9 million will be spent at Udall Park.
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.
One of the frustrations with our plastic containers is that, for the most part, can’t be used over again. We use a lot of natural resources (namely oil) not to actually make a product but to make something that a product is stored in. We then toss that container away and it ends up in a landfill.
And that brings us to plastic pill bottles. Most of us have a prescription to something, and when we are done, we throw the bottles away. The thing is, those bottles are, unlike plastic bags and plastic water bottles, quite durable and can be used many times over.
Our local electric utility, Tucson Electric Power, is asking the Arizona Corporation Commission for a rate hike. There will be a hearing on Monday, January 13th and you’ll have a chance to weigh in.
The proposed rate increase would mean $76 million for the company, which would be $7.61 per month for the average residential rate payer.
I was briefed on the rate increase a few weeks ago, and there are a number of things that frustrate me beyond what is being asked of you as a consumer.
The Southern Arizona YWCA is now enrolling for the DreamBuilder Bootcamp.
The DreamBuilder Bootcamp is a 13 week class that provides support and structure as you learn key business principles & build a business plan. The bootcamp includes access to online learning portals and in-person instruction from established business owners and mentors in a supportive community of other local entrepreneurs. The bootcamp's classes are taught by new & established entrepreneurs who would like a weekly dose of accountability and structure to reach business planning goals.
This week, Tucson hosted the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl. The preliminary numbers show that it was a great success for Tucson.
According to Visit Tucson, the agency that works to get more tourism and tourism revenue for our community, Wyoming fans blew through their 5,000 ticket allocation and, according to estimates, brought over 10,000 fans to the game. Georgia State fans accounted for an additional 3,000 in ticket sales.
I’ve been beating the drum, or maybe the cistern, for water harvesting for my entire time on the council. Many of you know that the landscaping at my office is fed by a water harvesting system and I’ve always been looking at ways to encourage water harvesting in new developments around town.
Tucson Parks and Recreation dedicated a garden just outside of their office this month that will also utilize water harvesting. The garden, called the Sonoran Desert Rain Garden, will serve as a memorial space for employees and their families.
This is my last update before the Christmas Holiday, so I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and of course a joyous Hanukkah holiday as well.
On Friday, December 20, 2019, crews from KE&G Construction, under contract with the City of Tucson Transportation Department, are scheduled to mill (remove) asphalt at the Broadway intersection approaches at Houghton Road, Harrison Road and Camino Seco.
Crews will work from approximately 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. During this work, there will be periodic traffic shifts at the intersection approaches and officers will assist motorists through the intersections.
I wrote about our dockless scooter program a few weeks ago, and we had a discussion at a study session last week.
As many of you know, the attempt to short-circuit the pilot program failed. As I have been saying here and at the council table, I support the program, although I think we can make some changes to encourage safer use.
For the 23rd year, residents can recycle their Christmas trees through the City of Tucson’s TreeCycle Program. The program begins on Thursday, Dec. 26 and continues through Sunday, Jan. 12. TreeCycle collection sites are located throughout Tucson and Oro Valley. Please remove all lights, ornaments, decorations, plastic tree bags, and tree stands before dropping off at the TreeCycle sites. Trees collected are chipped and these items can cause damage to people and the equipment. Please do not leave trees outside the collection time or area due to fire hazard.
As my staff and I were getting last week’s update ready to post, I heard the news of the death of Judith Blair. I was able to get a sentence or two up, but her work in our community deserves a lot more than that.
Judith was a Tucson transplant (a word I choose with good reason), coming here when her son Joseph played basketball for the Wildcats. She grew to love our community and stayed after Joseph became a professional player.
You all have turkeys to defrost so I’ll keep things short. This week, I’m thankful that I have a wonderful family: my wife, my sons and two magnificent parents. I’m also thankful that I get to serve the people of a city that I love for another four years.
Tucson’s struggles aren’t unique, but we have faced our challenges while in ways that other communities haven’t. I’ll take some credit for that, but credit also goes to all of you as citizens and taxpayers. Thank you.
The Thanksgiving Day holiday will be observed on Thursday, Nov. 28. Residential and commercial trash and recycling will not be collected on Thursday. All City of Tucson residential and commercial customers with regular collection on Thursday and Friday will have their trash and recycling service delayed by one day.