CITY OF TUCSON WINS "COMMON GROUND" AWARDS FOR EXCEPTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS - The City of Tucson won a number of "Common Ground" Awards at the Metropolitan Pima Alliance's (MPA) ceremony this past Friday demonstrating the City's commitment to strategic and successful partnerships with the local business community.  MPA honored the City with its Public Policy Award for the Main Gate Overlay District (MGD). The MGD promotes transit-oriented development on the western edge of the University of Arizona Main Campus to encourage the use of public transportation, including the Sunlink Tucson Modern Streetcar.  The MGD "preserves historic structures while allowing new growth and development," and was developed as a result of, "30+ neighborhood meetings, eight noticed public meetings and several informal meetings with representatives from the neighborhood."  In addition, the City of Tucson and its partners won the MPA's Revitalization Award for the Trinity Place Townhomes Project, which includes, "88 energy efficient and state of the art townhome units... designed to meet the needs of low income families."  And the City was recognized with its private sector partners for the Planning Design and Construction Award due to its participation in the Plaza Centro and The Cadence Project.  This project provides new housing, 19,000 square feet of commercial space, and parking at the eastern gateway to Downtown Tucson. Read the City of Tucson ordinance creating Main Gate Overlay District.

TWO MORE BUSINESSES CLOSER TO RECEIVING CITY BUSINESS INCENTIVES - Two local Tucson companies, Modular Mining Systems and Mr. Car Wash, are in line to receive waivers for building permit fees and construction sales tax credits as a result of meeting specific employment-related criteria.  While the Tucson Mayor and Council were briefed last week on the progress of both plans, the companies are at different stages in the City’s business incentive program. Over the first 12 months of the program, the City's Office of Economic Initiatives identified $12.8 million in incentives for seven projects. In return, the City and other taxing districts are expected to pick up a combined $24 million in estimated revenue from the seven projects over eight years. The projects also represent about $100 million in capital investment within the city and 540 permanent jobs. Tucson offers 21 different incentives to qualifying businesses. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star and visit the City of Tucson Business Portal.

REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (RTA) AWARDS CONTRACT FOR SPECIAL-NEEDS TRANSIT SYSTEM - The RTA board voted Thursday to give Total Transit, the parent company of Discount Cab, a $17 million contract to handle the day-to-day operations of its special-needs transit system for the next three years, beginning May 1. The Phoenix-area company already contracts for similar services in several cities in the Phoenix metro area. The change from Handicar to Total Transit is expected to begin next spring for Sun Shuttle and Dial-A-Ride services. The decision ends a long relationship with Tucson-based MV Transportation/Handicar, which has approximately 200 employees. The RTA Board recommended the change, saying it was concerned that proposed staffing and compensation changes by the current contract holder to trim its bid price would negatively impact service. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star and view the RTA Powerpoint and recommendation.

PEORIA CITY COUNCIL MAY BAN TEXTING AT MEETINGS - Peoria is considering an ordinance to ban City Council members from texting or emailing each other during public meetings.  The goal is to avoid potential violations of the state’s Open Meetings Law. Peoria leaders say there hasn’t been a problem, but they want to take steps to ensure public business is handled transparently. “The Arizona Open Meetings Act envisions that you’re going to have an open discussion and an open public meeting,” City Attorney Steve Kemp advised the Peoria City Council recently. “It does not envision that you would email yourselves or text message yourselves on the dais about decisions.” Cities from New Jersey to California have broached bans on texting from the dais. The Encinitas, Calif., City Council last year implemented such a prohibition.
From the Arizona Republic:

SCORE A DEAL ON CITY SURPLUS - Need a bicycle?  How about some baby clothing? Maybe some Blu-Ray Discs or Office Equipment will satisfy someone on your holiday gift list?  You can find these items and more on the City of Tucson's surplus auction website.
View the items listed for bid