Karin's Note: April 10, 2015

Karin's Note: Friday, April 10, 2015
 
- Ward 3 Events
- Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
- Citywide Events
- Did You Know?
 
*************************************************
 Dear Tucsonans,
 
Ward 3 Conserves!
 
This week Mayor/Council received numbers on average water consumption by City Ward. Ward 3 has the lowest per capita use year-round. Our average is just above 8 ccfs per month. We can take pride in that.
 
The Citizen Water Advisory Committee’s proposed structure of water rates starting next year (Option A) would add a block in the tiered pricing to encourage more people to use 0-7 ccfs per month by increasing cost to water use between 8-10 ccfs (right now and under Option B, the price tier changes at 11 ccfs). The recommendation is meant to cover the utility’s costs and further encourage conservation.
The impact on residential monthly bills would be:
 
                                      Current                                Option A                              Option B
7 ccf use                         $25.07                                   $26.46                                   $27.30
9 ccf use                         $29.09                                   $33.22                                   $31.70
10 ccf use                       $31.10                                   $36.60                                   $33.90
 
Two public sessions will occur April 14th and 16th for your input (visit https://www.tucsonaz.gov/water/FY2016proposedrates). Mayor and Council will also hold a Public Hearing on May 19th to consider the options (new tiers or maintaining existing rate block structure).
 
Historic Landmarks
 
Last year the Mayor and Council adopted an ordinance intended to make it easier for owners of historically significant properties to voluntarily restrict those sites for preservation purposes. I asked for a review of the ordinance this week because it’s become clear that our rezoning approach poses challenges (primarily because our process does not differentiate between “upzonings” and “downzonings”). After our discussion, staff was directed to bring back some options for consideration that could better fulfill our intention of preserving historic landmarks.
 
On the Budget
 
Mayor/Council continues to receive preliminary numbers that will ultimately help to inform our budget decisions for FY2015-2016. It’s clear that the primary structural imbalance stems from our involvement in the state’s Public Safety Pension System. It’s a huge obligation we face, and one that we must fulfill.
 
We can’t grapple with it as a stand-alone challenge. Funding the system will require fundamental changes in how we staff and operate our public safety departments and the city organization more broadly.
 
Yes Transit Again
 
I know we’re supposed to cower whenever the transit investment comes up. Horrible numbers are put in front of us every year (often out of context with shifting frames of reference). Last year we did not slash services and routes, and we did not (as we have several times before) raise transit fares.
 
So this time around we get the numbers, which conflate capital and operating expenses and, in doing so, make transit again look like an out-of-proportion burden on the General Fund. Here’s an example of the numbers game.
 
In the April 16, 2013 budget presentation to Mayor Council the dire prediction was this:
  • FY2013 General Fund Actual Transit Investment: $41.2M
  • FY2014 General Fund Transit Projection: $43.3M
This week we got these numbers:
  • FY2014 General Fund Actual Transit Investment: $39.96M
  • FY2015 Transit Projection $41.7M (PLUS $1.1M for Streetcar Debt Service PLUS $2.2M for Streetcar Operating PLUS $1.8M for increased Transit Capital Costs) =$46.8M
  • FY2016 Projection $43M (PLUS $1.1M Streetcar Debt Service PLUS $3.1M for Streetcar Operations PLUS $4.3M for Capital Costs) =$51.57
It’s important to recognize that the Streetcar is the primary cause of the added costs to the system. Capital costs are the other key cost increase.
 
Sun Tran and Sun Van core operating costs have increased from $41.2M in FY2013 to a projected $41.7M in FY2015 (if we believe the projections; note that the actual core investment went DOWN between FY2013 and FY2014). That hardly justifies slashing service routes or raising fares for the average bus or paratransit rider.
 
We need to find ways of harnessing the enormous economic impact of the streetcar to offset its costs. Capital costs of the overall transit system will also require a dedicated funding source or need to be accounted for separately (just as, for example, public safety fleet and IT capital costs are). And the best way to raise revenues will continue to be increasing ridership, not raising fares (which also decrease ridership).
 
Transit Planning
 
The better way to balance our transit investment will be to work with the Pima Association of Governments and plan, not through a contrived budget-cutting lens but through a system-strengthening, rider/revenue-generating lens. Thankfully PAG and a great cross-section of our community have invested in that planning process, which will take place April-June of this year. Planner Jarret Walker has international experience with optimizing transit systems serving urban and regional markets. PAG has engaged his services in partnership with the City. I raised the City’s 25% matching share for the contract, and want to thank all those who contributed to make this planning process happen:
 
UofA Drachman Institute
Bus Riders Union
AT&T
Cox Communications
Unisource/TEP
 
Other cosponsors of the process include Sustainable Tucson, Living Streets Alliance, Bus Friends Forever, Southern Arizona Transit Advocates, and the Climate Change Committee.
 
The process may mean that we make changes to services/routes and even to fares. The difference will be that the changes will be based on what make sense and strengthens service, and what adds value for riders.
 
I am proud of the fact that Mayor/Council has not compromised the transit system in a way that could have debilitated it in the future. It is a system that will be increasingly important to our entire region in the future. The streetcar has proven the economic benefits of transit, and that the system has an extraordinary return on investment. I’ll continue to advocate that we invest wisely to build on our successes.
 
Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance
 
Next week City Manager Martha Durkin and I will attend the Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance meeting. Each year I offer a “State of the Ward” address. This year I’ll offer that and more focused time on some of the citywide issues central to our work in 2015, including proposed Charter Changes, the City Budget, Water and Transit Planning, and the hiring of our new City Manager and Police Chief. Join us if you can:
 
Wednesday, April 15th
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Woods Library
3455 N First Ave
 
Have a great weekend,
 
Karin
 
*************************************************
Ward 3 Events: 
 
- Last day for Tax Prep at the Ward 3 Office! – Saturday, April 11th 9:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Ward 3 Council Office 1510 E Grant Rd.  The United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is an excellent community service which provides free (free!) in-person tax preparation that particularly focuses on getting refunds and credits to low-income households. In 2014, the VITA Task Force of Arizona helped to return $21.7 million in federal refunds and credits to Arizona.
Appointments not necessary – participants will be seen on a first come, first served basis. For more information, and if you have any questions, please call 520-791-4711.
 
- Trim & Spruce Clean-up Event – Sunday, April 12th 7:30 am 4901 N Oracle Rd. Help clean-up the Rillito River Bed! Join Tucson Subaru and Tucson Clean & Beautiful to help take care of this corner of our ward. Gloves and grabbers will be provided. Bring refillable water bottles and make sure to dress for safety and sun. To RSVP or get more info, contact Tonya at tonya@tuccicreative.com or 520-296-7678.
 
- State of the Ward - Wednesday, April 15th 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Woods Library. Bring yourself and your neighbors for an update on the state of our ward! Council Member Uhlich will discuss policy and projects, plans for the year ahead, and welcome your questions and feedback on what you see happening in your neighborhoods and the city. Interim City Manager Martha Durkin and the Ward 3 Staff will also be present to answer questions. Contact the Ward 3 office at 520-791-4711 or ward3@tucsonaz.gov for more info.
 
- Doolen/Fruitvale Neighborhood Association Annual Meeting - Saturday, April 18th 9:00 – 10:00 am at the Sparkman Butterfly Garden. Puppy meet-and-greet after. Includes breakfast potluck, juice/coffee/water will be provided. First item on the agenda is crime with TPD Officer attending to answer questions.
 
- Jefferson Park History Hunt – Sunday, April 19th 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. The street signs are up and the debt is paid! Celebrate with a scavenger history hunt, historic photos of vanished times, music and food. For more info, visit http://www.jeffersonpark.info or check out the Jefferson Park Facebook page.  
 
- Amphi Movie Night! – Friday, April 24th 5:30 pm at Amphi Park. Bring your friends and family for this annual free event put on by the Amphi Community Action Group and TPD! The movie will start at sundown but before that you can get a free booster seat, Diabetic testing, and bicycle helmets. The Amphi High band will also be joining at 6:00 pm to kick off the event.
 
- Slam Into Spring: Slam Poetry Workshop with Logan Phillips - Saturday, April 25th 3:00 – 4:30 pm at Woods Memorial Library. Want to write daring poems and learn to perform them in front of a cheering crowd? Come explore the dynamic art of spoken word poetry with internationally-recognized performance poet Logan Phillips, author of Sonoran Strange and co-founder of the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam. Poets of all ages and experience levels are welcome to this safe space––writing and slamming a poem is easier than you might think. Come give it a try!  
 
************************************************
Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings:
 
Mountain/1st NA Saturday, April 11th 9:00 am at Mitchell Park
 
Campbell Grant Annual Picnic Sunday, April 12th 11:00 am at Conner Park
 
Alvernon-Grant Initiative (AGI) Tuesday, April 14th 6:30 pm at Emerge!
 
Flowing Wells Thursday, April 16th 6:00 pm at the Ellie Towne Center
 
Mountain View NA Thursday, April 16th 6:00 pm at Habitat for Humanity
 
************************************************
Citywide Events: 
 
- Arizona International Film Festival – Thursday, April 9th – Thursday, April 16th Various venues downtown. Staying true to its mission of showcasing independent film, the Arizona International Film Festival has exhibited over 2,400 films representing 90 countries to over 142,000 patrons in southern Arizona. And now, they are honored to select more exciting and innovative films from around the world for Arizona audiences.
 
 - Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – Friday, April 10th 5:00 pm at Fluxx Studio & Gallery 414 E. 9th St. Join SAAF for the National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, featuring free food, music, arts and crafts and open mic. Come be part of the celebration, and remembrance of those who have been and are impacted by HIV/AIDS. Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/831753286899530/ for updates and info.
 
- 2nd Saturdays Downtown - Saturday, April 11th Congress St and Scott. 2nd Saturdays continues its tradition of showcasing eclectic Tucson talent. Enjoy the tunes, the food trucks, vendors and Downtown businesses! http://www.2ndsaturdaysdowntown.com/
 
- Sam Hughes Home and Neighborhood Tour - Sunday, April 12th from noon until 5:00 pm. This self-guided walking tour of the one square mile neighborhood bounded by Campbell Ave./Country Club Rd. and Speedway Blvd./Broadway consists of private residences and gardens as well as several venues that represent the diversity of this historically-designated midtown neighborhood. Tickets are $20 and will be on sale day-of-the-tour in front of Rincon Market (2513 E. 6th St.) beginning at 10:00 am. Pre-tour ticket purchase will be available at Arte de la Vida 37 N. Tucson Blvd. beginning April 1. For more information, call 520-323-7891 or see samhughes.org.
 
- Tucson Water Town Halls – Tuesday, April 14th 5:30 pm at Quincie Douglas Library and Thursday, April 16th 5:30 pm at the William Clements Recreation Center.  Tucson Water is holding town halls to provide information about water rates, service fees, and water reliability. For more information on the meetings and the FY 2016 rates schedules and options, check out https://www.tucsonaz.gov/water/FY2016proposedrates.   
 
- Tucson Poetry Festival – Thursday, April 16th – Saturday, April 18th at Hotel Congress and Fluxx.
Since 1981 the Tucson Poetry Festival has been celebrating verse in the Old Pueblo. Over its 30-year history, the Festival has brought some of the most recognized poets of our time to Tucson: Allen Ginsberg, Sonia Sanchez, Joy Harjo, Simon Ortiz, W.S. Merwin, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sherman Alexie, Diane di Prima, Wanda Coleman, Gary Snyder, Donald Hall among many, many others. This year’s theme, “Poetry at Play,” promises to bring fun, innovation, and laughter to Tucson’s most beloved venue. This year’s lineup features Claudia Rankine, National Book Award Finalist for “Citizen”, a brilliant collection of essay, poetry and image that examine what it means to be a citizen in a “post-racial” society. This high-caliber festival is also known for its cutting-edge programming which includes games, impromptu happenings, and all-day celebrating downtown! http://hotelcongress.com/music/tucson-poetry-fest-2014/
 
- Shift Your Potty Paradigm From Waste to Resource: CT Build Workshop - Saturday, April 18th 9:00 am – 4:00 pm WMG's Living Lab, 1137 N Dodge Blvd. WMG promotes safe and effective use of your waste by turning it into a resource. Come learn how to properly use and maintain a composting toilet with Brad Lancaster. Then assemble and take home your own kit-based barrel system composting toilet. The kit comes complete and ready to install at your home. Learn more about this 1-day workshop, what is included, and what you may need prior to installing your own system at https://watershedmg.org/civicrm/event/info?id=448&reset=1 . Also consider checking out WMG’s Kickstarter campaign to publish Poo to Peaches a children’s book on composting toilets.
 
- Open Studio Tours - Saturday and Sunday, April 18th & 19th, 11:00 am until 5:00 pm. Various locations
Artists will open their studios to the public so you can see the creative process at work. Artists will talk with you about their work, present demonstrations, and offer work for sale. You can visit your favorites, or meet new artists and see studios you haven't visited before. This is the ninth year that the Spring Tucson Artists' Open Studios has been a grassroots, artist-initiated event, produced by artists for artists and the public. http://www.tucsonopenstudios.com
 
- Cyclovia Tucson - Sunday, April 19st 10:00am - 3:00pm Downtown. Cyclovia Tucson is proud to be returning to the communities of downtown and South Tucson, highlighting the wonderful parks - Armory, Santa Rosa, and Santa Rita - and connecting neighborhoods south and north of 22nd Street. Be sure to check in at https://www.cycloviatucson.org/ for all the latest on routes, activities, plus how to get involved as a volunteer, business and more. This event is Day Two of Tucson Tandem, presented by Banner-University Medical Center. Day One is Heirloom Farmers Market's Viva La Local Food Festival happening on Saturday, April 18th. Continue the spirit of community, sustainability, and fun by joining 30,000 Tucsonans on the streets for Cyclovia.
 
*************************************************
Did You Know...?
 
that you can help your favorite park get a $20,000 grant? Nominate your favorite Tucson park to get a $20,000 makeover from the National Recreation and Park Association's Parks Build Community Grant. The grant program is an initiative to help revitalize parks across the country. The random drawing is part of Earth Month. Follow the link below to make a nomination and learn more about the program.
Parks Build Community Grants: http://www.nrpa.org/our-work/parksbuildcommunity/ Tucson Parks and Recreation Department: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks
 
…summer is almost here and that means exciting activities at the Donna Liggins Center! Check it out:
  • Pre-summer youth programs will be in full swing starting May 26-29. $2.00 per day per child, 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM, ages 5-14, (5 year old must have completed kindergarten). Registration starts May 11th.
  • Summer KIDCO (ages 5-11, 5 year old must have completed kindergarten) and IBC (ages 11-14, must have completed 5th. grade) registration begins April 25th. Registration information will be available through our Parks and Recreation Catalog or on our website at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks.
  • Leisure Classes Sports for tots, Potpourri of sports and Yummy for your Tummy. Registration information will be available through our Parks and Recreation Catalog or on our website at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks.
  • Active Aging Program (ages 50+) Get involved and take part in our Annual Cinco de Mayo / Mothers Day Fiesta. Tuesday, May 5th, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM. RSVP - April 24.
Call the DLC at 791-3247 for more info or just drop-by! They are located at 2160 N. 6th. Ave (just south of Grant at the intersection with 6th/Fontana).
 
 …that this weekend is Spring Fling at the UofA?  After 41 years there’s still nothing else like it! Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s Spring Fling is back again! Starting back in 1974, Spring Fling has become an iconic figure by providing carnival rides, games, food booths, and entertainment to both the University of Arizona and Tucson communities. Spring Fling is the largest student-run carnival in the nation attracting over 25,000 guests. Spring Fling provides over 35 rides and games to attendees, over 20 different food booths with a wide variety ranging from corn dogs to crab puffs. http://springfling.arizona.edu
 
*************************************************