CITY STAFF REPORTS $15M FUNDING GAP FOR FY14 - At yesterday's Mayor & Council Study Session, budget discussions for Fiscal Year 2014 got underway. A presentation from the City's budget office showed improvement in projected General Fund revenues, but expenses will outpace them at current service levels. Local and State Shared revenues provide the majority of the increase in revenues.  Personnel costs and debt service are the primary drivers of the increased expense. Story in today's Star here. Download yesterday's budget presentation here.

STREETCAR OPERATING COST EXCEEDS ESTIMATES - According to TDOT's preliminary analysis, the City's share of the annual costs of operating the new Streetcar system is likely to exceed the original $1-2 million estimate and climb to approximately $4.6 million in 2018.  The majority of the projected increase is due to two factors: the loss of anticipated participation by the University of Arizona and others who will benefit from the Streetcar; and increased operational costs recommended by the new Streetcar management company, RATP Dev McDonald Transit.  TDOT will work to lower these costs and provide updated estimates on March 19th. Story in today's Star here. Read TDOT's Five-Year Transit Financial Forecast here.

SINCE 1955, CITY HOSTS & HELPS AT GEM & MINERAL SHOW - TPD, TDOT, ParkWise, TCC, other City Departments and many City volunteers made this year's show a showcase of Tucson's excellent customer service. "We need to make sure that any guest that is visiting here, any customer or client, that we are working to exceed their expectations every single time we work with them," said Andy Squire, City of Tucson Liaison.
Video from Tucson 12 here.


WHAT PROP 409 MEANS FOR OUR STREETS - Last November, City voters approved a $100M general obligation bond program to improve Tucson's streets. About 130 miles of major streets and 114 miles of neighborhood streets will be resurfaced with funds from the program. Per Mayor & Council direction, detailed information about the program's work areas, finances and oversight is now available on the Prop 409 website, including maps and frequently asked questions.

R.I.P., PACINO - Pacino, one of two African spot-necked sea otters in the Reid Park Zoo, died Sunday. He was about 14 years old, and had been living at the zoo since 2001.  Makena, a female otter, will stay at the Zoo.  It is unclear at this time whether the Zoo will pursue getting another otter. Story in Monday's Star. Zoo pictures, info and more on the Reid Park Zoo Facebook Page.