Karin's Note: Thursday, May 16, 2013

Karin's Note: Thursday, May 16, 2013

-Karin’s Note
-Ward 3 Events
-Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s)
-Citywide Events
-Did You Know?

Dear Tucsonans,

Let me start with a giant and heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS to Flowing Wells High School, who this morning celebrated earning the distinction of "A+ School of Excellence" for 2013 from the Arizona Educational Foundation (http://azedfoundation.org). This distinction is awarded each year in order to identify and give public recognition to outstanding public schools in Arizona, and offer a way for all public schools across the state to learn and benefit from the best practices being employed at distinguished schools.

Flowing Wells High School was one of only 5 high schools across Arizona to receive this honor for the 2012-13 school year, and is now THE ONLY HIGH SCHOOL IN THE STATE TO HAVE RECEIVED THIS DISTINCTION FIVE TIMES (1986, 1991, 2004, 2010 and 2013).  It is a testament to the extraordinary leadership of Superintendent Dr. Nic Clement, FWHS Principal Jim Brunenkant, the dedicated teachers and staff at FWHS, the families, and most importantly, the Flowing Wells students, who year after year support each other in myriad ways and exemplify excellence in all their endeavors at school. Congratulations to all!

Water Resources

On the policy front, taking care of our water remains one of the Mayor and Council’s top priorities. In the last few weeks we reviewed two water related policies: 1) refinements for considering water delivery to areas outside the defined water service area boundaries we adopted in 2010, and 2) new guidelines for allowing other entities with Colorado River (CAP) allocations to hook into our infrastructure to access their CAP water.

The first set of policy revisions will refine and clarify the boundaries and limits we set for where we will deliver Tucson Water. You can see the established service area boundaries at this link: 


As part of an annual policy review, the Citizens Water Advisory Committee (CWAC) proposed nine (9) refinements to the policy which can be viewed here:  https://www.tucsonaz.gov/sirepub/cache/2/blheaf45u3e2jgbopin1pd45/522994405162013033717869.PDF

We had considerable discussion and editing during the Study Session dialogue, so I have asked for the full, next draft of the language to be made available to us in advance of any scheduled follow up session, leading up to final Mayor/Council action. I will be sure to distribute that draft to you.

The second set of policy guidelines we considered has to do with requested pipeline hookups to our Pima Mine Road recharge facility pipeline. Basically, FICO (the pecan orchards) and the Community Water Company in Green Valley, in partnership with the Augusta Mining Company, seek permission to hook into our system so they can draw water through our pipes, into their pipes and ultimately into the ground where water tables have no doubt been dropping for decades due to water well pumping. The draft guidelines discussed this Tuesday included:

1. The project positively contributes to attaining the Tucson Active Management Area  (TAMA) Safe Yield goal.
2. Project must provide a net gain of water to the Tucson basin in the TAMA.
3. A project cannot degrade or negatively impact the groundwater quality.
4. A project has a demonstrated financial capability to construct and operate the
     required facilities.
5.  Necessary permits for the project are complete.
6.  The project is scheduled for near term (i.e. less than 1 year) completion.
7.  Any agreement for connection should be contingent on a “No Harm” clause to protect  PMRRP operation.
8.  Service from the PMR pipeline to a third party will be provided on an interruptible basis,  consistent with the “No Harm” clause.
9.  Service to third party users will be limited to their then-current CAP allocations.
10.  If deemed appropriate by the City of Tucson, exclusive capacity should be reserved in  any proposed recharge facilities to offset any reduced capacity at PMRRP to maintain  the City of Tucson and CAP recharge capacity if PMRRP Alert Levels are triggered.
11. Any agreement for connection would allow Tucson or CAP to provide sufficient notice to  allow Tucson or CAP recapture use of all or part of the PMRRP pipeline capacity for  Tucson or CAP use.

These will be further edited based on our dialogue, and I’ll be sure to share the next draft with you as well as the timeline for further action.

Because the state CAP co-owns our Pima Mine Road facility, they have a say in what entities hook up as well. Mayor and Council will try to finalize standard criteria against which any applications can be evaluated. While at first the CAP staff indicated we should give all those with CAP allocations access to this infrastructure, I think they’ll agree that a level playing field for access can be offered while setting some reasonable limits and standards for proposed projects. Especially when third and fourth parties (like Augusta Mining Company) enter the mix, we can and should be sure we are protecting groundwater resources both in terms of quantity and in water quality. It’s no small step to tap into our extensive infrastructure, and it’s up to us to safeguard that infrastructure as well as our own groundwater and water allocations.


FY 2014 Compensation Plan and Budget

City Manager Miranda offered the following recommendations for employee Compensation at Tuesday’s meeting:

1.  Compensation increase for non-exempt Emergency Communication workers - a $1.00 per hour increase for all non-exempt   Emergency Communication  workers, to begin July 1, 2013. 

2.  Compensation increase for all civilian, permanent employees, and for exempt  commissioned police and fire officers not described in  number 4. – a .55 cent per hour  increase to begin the pay period that includes January 1, 2014.

3. Compensation for commissioned public safety officers (sworn, non-exempt) – those hired  before January 1, 2011 will receive a step increase, effective in the pay period that  includes January 1, 2014.  Those hired on or after January  1, 2011 and those at the top  of their range will receive the equivalent of .55 cents per hour increase based on a 2080  hour work year. 

4.   Compensation for commissioned public safety officers – rank of Police Lieutenant and  Fire Battalion Chief. – a percentage increase equivalent to the next closest non-exempt  rank in their departments effective the pay period that includes January 1, 2014. 


His recommendation passed on a vote of 6-1. It’s likely that we will not have resources to fund pay changes (beyond this action) in our FY 2015 budget. The Manager and Human Resources Director will continue to identify any specific areas of inequity or concern across the organization, and fortunately many of our civilian (versus commissioned public safety) workforce will see a notable drop in the cost of pension contributions as a result of action we took to revise and strengthen the Tucson Supplemental Retirement System this year.

Overall I have advocated that we offer what we responsibly can for our employees this year, after years of furloughs and significant staffing cuts (we had approximately 5500 employees in 2007; 4500 now). We no doubt face big challenges ahead that may require further reorganization, vacancy management, revisions to our capital (bricks and mortar) investment program and state-level advocacy to restore the massive cuts to our transportation and transit funds (a loss of $40 million since 2008).  I believe our best chance of meeting those challenges will be by holding together, recognizing the quality and contributions of our staff, and partnering with other jurisdictions across the region and state.


El Rio
Grand Canyon University has expressed interest in the El Rio Golf Course as a site to expand from their Maricopa base. As is true of any proposal for the site, this proposal impacts the existing golf course and programs there (including the El Conquistadors First Tee program) and the longer term vision for an El Rio park (tied to deep historical struggles and desires of area residents). Beyond that there are the ongoing City priorities (and sometimes tensions) of both preserving open space and supporting economic development across Tucson. Add to these issues, many critical questions about the policies and track record of GCU, and it’s clear we are nowhere near completion of appropriate due diligence or public process. At Tuesday’s M&C meeting that’s what we directed for next steps. 

Please keep reading for information and events of interest.


Ward 3 Events:

-Two Public Hearings Scheduled for “Plan Tucson” – Wednesday, May 22, 6 p.m., at City Hall, 255 W. Alameda, and Wednesday, May 29, 6 p.m.,  at Westside Police Service Center, 1310 W. Miracle Mile. These are the final public hearings for citizens to express their opinions before the Plan goes to Mayor and Council.
Upcoming Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s):

Mountain View NA – Thursday, May 16 at 6:00 p.m. at Water of Life Church, 3269 N Mountain Avenue.
Miracle Manor NA Annual Meeting - Saturday, May 18 at 11:00 a.m. at Jacinto Park, 2601 N. 15th Avenue.
Cabrini NA - Tuesday, May 21 at 6:00 p.m. at Tucson Vineyard City Church, 1695 N. Country Club Road.
SAMOS NA - Tuesday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Salpointe H.S. (Trophy Room), 1545 E. Copper Street.
Amphi Community Action Group (ACAG) - Wednesday, May 22 at 6:00 p.m.  240 W. Navajo Road.
Keeling NA - Monday, May 27 at 7 p.m. at  Cornerstone Fellowship Church, 2902 N. Geronimo Avenue.
Hedrick Acres NA - Tuesday, May 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Mountain Avenue Church of Christ, 2842 N. Mountain Avenue.
Jefferson Park NA - Wednesday, May 29 at 6:00 p.m. at the Ward 3 Council Office, 1510 E. Grant Road.
Vista del Monte NA - Thursday, May 30 at 6:00 p.m.at the Lighthouse YMCA, 2900 N. Columbus Boulevard.

Citywide Events:

- 2013 Historic Preservation Awards – Saturday, May 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at St. Philip’s In the Hills Episcopal Church, 4440 N. Campbell Ave.  Please join the Tucson-Pima Historical Commission and Tucson Historical Preservation Foundation to celebrate this year’s nominees and winners.  For more information go to https://preservetucson.org/

- Stories That Soar – Sunday, May 19 at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Avenue. There will be two different shows boasting the “2012-13 Best of Stories That Soar,” a program of Literacy Connects.  First show is at 4:00 p.m., second show is at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10/adults, $5 for children under 12. For tickets and information: http://literacyconnects.org/2014/04/join-us-best-stories-soar/ or call 520-975-9970.

- Infill Incentive District (IID) Forum -- Tuesday, May 28, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Ward 6 Council office, 3202 E. 1st St.  Do you understand the IID – the fast-track planning tool called the Downtown Area Infill Incentive District ordinance?  At this neighborhood forum presented by Core-BaNC and the Arroyo Chico Neighborhood Association, Adam Smith from the City of Tucson's Planning and Services Department will explain how the ordinance came about, what problems it was intended to solve, and what projects are now in the IID pipeline. Bring your own questions. For more information, email Richard at wuna.org@gmail.com.

- Third Annual “Night at the Ballpark” with Tucson Padres – Wednesday, May 29th, at 7:05 p.m. at Kino Stadium. The Tucson Parks Foundation, which celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year, is sponsoring its 3rd annual Night at the Ballpark with the Tucson Padres. Discounted general admission Padres tickets are available for $4 (a $7 value) from the Tucson Parks Foundation website. All fundraising from this event helps to support Tucson Parks and Recreation KIDCO programs. Purchases of 20 tickets or more will receive a 25% discount at checkout. For more information, Tucson Parks Foundation at http://www.tucsonparks.org/
-Did you know…?

…that Iskashitaa Refugee Network will redistribute garden herbs, veggies and greens bolting, flowering, or other things to waste in your garden plot?   Many gardens around the County are screaming to be picked or cut back, with much produce going to waste every year. Iskashitaa helps to solve this by redistributing excess produce to families through a volunteer network.  If you have excess in your garden, please call and arrange to drop off local food at 1406 E. Grant between Highland and Vine from 9-5p.m. Volunteers are also available to come and harvest your garden plot.  Iskashitaa Refugee Network is an organization that empowers African, Asian and Middle Eastern refugees by creating opportunities to use their native knowledge and skills to help their families integrate with the larger Tucson community, while also gaining new life skills that serve them in America.  If you would like to donate or pick up fruit, or you would like to volunteer, feel free to contact us at http://www.iskashitaa.org/ or information@iskashitaa.org or by calling at (520) 440-0100.

… that you can now report roadway maintenance issues directly to TDOT's Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division?  Email TDOTSR@tucsonaz.gov (note new, shorter email address) or call (520) 791-3154.  Constituent requests will be entered into the division's Cartegraphic Maintenance Management Program and a work order will be created, improving efficiency in monitoring service request activities and status updates.

…that Feile Rince Tucson is the largest feis (pronounced FESH) in Arizona and the only one in Tucson? This important Irish dance competition opens Friday evening, 7 to 9 p.m., with a seisun (music session) featuring members of the Out of Kilters and guests.  Some of the best championship Irish dancers from the Southwest will compete Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All events are free. Holiday Inn Palo Verde, 4550 S. Palo Verde. For more information call Catherine Harris at 520-241-4324.

…that Tucson was names in Travel Channel’s “TOP 10 CYCLING CITIES” - “This desert oasis has more bicycle infrastructure than any other city in the US, boasting more than 700 miles of designated bikeways,” says the Travel Channel in their recent feature, “Top 10 Cycling Cities in US.”  From the Travel Channel: http://bit.ly/1800wkt