Paul's Note: Friday, April 5th, 2019

Paul’s Note
Friday, April 5th, 2019
 
Paul’s Note
Pet of the Week
Ward 3 Events
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
City-Wide Events
Did You Know?
 
Paul’s Note
 
Recycling Challenges
 
Some of you may have seen in the news recently discussion of challenges that Tucson and cities across the country are facing around recycling. Locally, the Star wrote an excellent piece, and in the national news the New York Times also wrote a feature on the changing recycling market. China’s decision to limit what it will import to accept almost no contaminated materials has made recycling programs that used to turn a profit into serious financial liabilities. And because China had been the place we shipped so much material as a nation, the number of places we can sell our recycling to domestically dropped in the years leading up to China’s change. At this point, it costs more for us to ship glass to a facility in Phoenix than what they’ll pay us for it.
 
This year, our recycling program is on track to cost $3.3 million. The loss is tied to a number of factors, including raising labor costs, but the biggest factor is that we now lose money recycling paper and glass.  It costs us more to pick up, sort, ship and sell the material than if we just threw it in the landfill. At the April 23rd Council Meeting, we will be hearing from the Department of Environmental and General Services about options for righting the financial ship.
 
One option being considered is picking up recycling every other week instead of every week. The estimated savings from this change is $1.4 million dollars per year. Although both paper and glass have some value, it costs Tucson about $800,000 per year to recycle paper and about $500,000 per year to recycle glass.
 
As anyone who knows me knows, I’m a strong supporter of environmental causes. My husband and I compost at home and I compost coffee grounds at the office. But I also believe it is my role as your Council Member to make fiscally smart policy decisions involving your tax dollars. An annual deficit of greater than $3 million is not financially sustainable.
 
There are many options on the table and the situation is still very fluid. No decisions have been made. Some of the proposals that have been floated are:
  • Going to every other week recycling service from weekly service
  • Stop accepting glass
  • Stop accepting paper and newsprint
  • An increase in the Environmental Services monthly fee
None of these are good options. Unfortunately, none of them will solve the problem on their own either (unless we raise fees an unacceptably high amount, which I will not support).
 
I will continue to challenge City Staff to find creative solutions to this problem. One idea borrows from the past—returning to dual- or multi-stream recycling. Dual-stream recycling means asking residents to separate paper from other recyclables, and multi-stream includes dual-stream but could mean asking residents to do additional sorting. Some cities have returned to dual- or multi-stream recycling and there are a few studies showing that while reducing the total volume of recycling it also significantly reduces contamination.
 
Another idea is to start a composting program. Compostable materials comprise 35 to 45% of the total waste stream (including food waste, soiled paper and yard waste) so a composting program could significantly reduce volume going into the landfill. The resulting product is high quality mulch and soil for which the markets are local and year-round.
 
Still another idea, though more difficult to implement, is to partner with Pima County and other local jurisdictions to process recovered materials in local facilities.
 
I’ll keep you posted as this discussion moves forward. I strongly encourage you to email me if you have feedback on these proposals. I hate the idea of cutting recycling services. It sends entirely the wrong message to the community. But I also know there are people in Ward 3 and throughout the city who struggle to pay their bills every month who would really notice an increase in their garbage fees. I hope we can find a balance that is environmentally and fiscally sound. If you’ve got thoughts or opinions, I’d like to hear them.
 
Connie Hillman House
 
In October, I wrote about an exciting new venture that CODAC, TMC and the Connie Hillman Family Foundation embarked on to create a transitional housing program for pregnant woman and new moms experiencing addiction. Last week, I was honored to be there when they cut the ribbon at the new Connie Hillman House. In the audience was a woman who was a resident and in treatment. She had given birth the week before and was rocking her baby during the event. It was a touching moment.
 

 
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Council Member Durham and leaders form TMC, CODAC
and the Connie Hillman Family Foundation cut the ribbon.
 
The “house”, a 16-unit apartment complex, is a small but important piece of how Tucson is handling the opioid epidemic. One of the heartbreaking results of the epidemic has been an increase in the number of babies born who suffer from opioid withdrawal in their first days of life. This facility will provide pregnant woman suffering from addiction an opportunity to break the cycle of addiction and enter treatment while pregnant and receive mental and physical healthcare for them and their newborns after they give birth. Providing safe and stable housing is key to ensuring the success of the new mothers and their babies.
 
I’d like to thank TMC, CODAC and the Connie Hillman Family Foundation for this incredible partnership. It will truly change the lives of the women who live there.
 
Pima County Community Land Trust
 
This week I joined Pima County Community Land Trust (PCCLT) as they recognized two affordable housing champions in Tucson and Pima County, Chairman Richard Elias and Wells Fargo.
 

 
Chairman Elias (with his award) and Council Member Durham.
 
I share their appreciation for these champions and would like to add that PCCLT is also an important tool in the various approaches in our region to increase housing stability. PCCLT was formed in 2010 and provides permanent affordable housing to 89 different households. Learn more about their work here.
 
- Paul D.
 
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National Mayors' Challenge for Water Conservation
 

 
Tucson is taking part in the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation which runs throughout the month of April, which is Earth Month. We are in it to win it, so help keep Tucson number 1 in water conservation by taking the pledge to conserve.
 
There are many things we can do to save water in the home, at work, and in our community. Taking the pledge gives you some examples, such as repairing leaks, saying no to plastic straws, planting drought-tolerant plants, and walking, biking or taking the bus more often.
 
Make a pledge to save water. It’s free and only takes a minute. Pledge to conserve water and energy during Earth Month, and you can win $3,000 toward your annual utility bills and hundreds of other prizes. Let’s win this, Tucson!
 
Watch Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild's video about the challenge here.
 
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Pet of the Week
 
Leni
 

 
Leni is is 1-year-old terrier mix. Terriers are very active and fearless dogs. Even though they are physically small to medium in size, they make for perfect watch dogs. They are loyal, kind, and loving, which make them perfect pets for families too.
 
Leni is available to be adopted at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. How can you say no to those puppy dog eyes?
 
Bring your family and other pets down to the HSSA to meet Leni and say hello to your new family member.
 
Humane Society of Southern Arizona
635 W. Roger Rd
(520) 327-6088 ext. 173
 
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Ward 3 Events
 
20th Annual EGGstavaganza
Saturday
April 13th
10 am-1 pm
Mansfield Park
2000 N 4th Ave
 

 
Egg Hunt Times:
Ages 2 and under: 10:30 am
Ages 3-4: 11 am
Ages 5-7: 11:30 am
Ages 8-12: 12 pm
(Bring your empty basket for the hunt)
 
Tucson Parks and Recreation invites you to the 20th annual EGGstravaganza. This free, communitywide event is about having family fun and is expected to attract more than 2,000 Tucson youth. Family activities include music, games, inflatables, prizes, egg hunts and the Easter Bunny. There will also be an adaptive egg hunt area for children with disabilities. Come to our Parks and Recreation information booth to catch the highlights of the various services and programs we offer to the community. A variety of foods will be available for purchase through local vendors.
 
For more information go the Tucson Parks and Recreation event website at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks/announcement/eggstravaganza-2019.
 
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Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings:
 
Barrio Blue Moon
Sunday
April 7th
2-3 pm
St. Elizabeth’s
140 W Speedway Blvd #100
 
Country Glenn 
Sunday
April 7th
5:30-6:30 pm
The Drawing Studio
2760 N Tucson Blvd
 
Alvernon Grant Initiative
Tuesday
April 9th
6-7 pm
Emmanuel Church
1825 N Alvernon
 
CCRC
Tuesday
April 9th
6-8 pm
UofA Student Union
Ventana Room, 4th floor
 
Miracle Manor
Wednesday
April 10th
6-7 pm
Good News Church
701 W Glenn St
 
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City-Wide Events:
 
El Grupo Bicycle Scavenger Hunt
Saturday
April 6th
8 am
El Grupo Clubhouse
610 N 9th Ave
 

 
Cyclovia
Sunday
April 7th
9 am-3 pm
Banner-University Medicine to Warehouse Arts District
 

 
Check out the mobile friendly interactive route map here.
 
The Green New Deal - What Is It?
 
Sustainable Tucson
Tuesday
April 9th
6 pm (doors open at 5:30)
Ward 6 Council Office
3202 E 1st Street
 
At this month's Sustainable Tucson meeting, with the help of the Sunrise Movement, there will be a discussion about the Green New Deal to learn what it is all about. Join Sustainable Tucson for this informative session.
 
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Did You Know...?
Tucson Urban League  Weatherization Program
 

 
VITA
 
With just over 1 week left to go in the income tax filing season, United Way's VITA volunteers are still hard at work serving local taxpayers and helping them receive their full refunds at no cost. Pima County residents can have their taxes filed with the assistance of local volunteers, bringing well over $2 million back in tax refunds to our community.
 
Because this program serves low- and moderate-income residents specifically (the average annual income of a VITA client is about $20,500), we know these dollars go right to work in our community.
 
The Ward 3 office is hosting VITA on Saturdays from 9-1. It is first come first served so get here early! The address is 1510 E Grant Rd. 
 
Call For Volunteers: Amphi Neighborhood Survey
 
Habitat for Humanity Tucson would like to survey the Amphi Neighborhood residents about their quality of life and Habitat Tucson needs your help. These surveys include a 20 minute interview and will include 350+ households.
 
Habitat Tucson is looking for a team of volunteers to knock on doors, interview and listen to the residents. The interviews are taking place now through June 2nd on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am-2 pm. Register here to become a volunteer.
 
 
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Council Member Paul Durham is on Social Media!
 
Ward 3 has Facebook and Twitter pages so you can keep up with our Council Member and stay in touch with what's happening in Tucson and around the Ward.
 
Please "Like" us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMPaulDurham/
Please "Follow" us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham
 
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