FORMER STREETS WORKERS SENTENCED TO JAIL, FINES IN THEFT CASE - Two former employees of the Tucson Department of Transportation’s Streets Division, Kurt Hough and Robert Palomarez, were each sentenced to 60 days in Pima County jail and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution today in Pima County Superior Court. They were among five Transportation Department workers who resigned or were fired in September after an investigation found they had done private construction jobs on city time. Judge Casey F. McGinley told the men their actions were a breach of the public trust place in them as city employees. “Both Mr. Hough and Mr. Palomarez violated that trust in ways that can’t be measured,” McGinley said. Stories from KOLD/KMSB here, from the Star here.
BALLOT INITIATIVE AIMS TO DISSOLVE TUCSON’S PENSION SYSTEM - A political committee has been formed in order to circulate petitions in support of a proposed change to Tucson’s City Charter that would phase out the City’s current TSRS pension program. The Committee for Sustainable Retirement has to collect roughly 12,720 valid signatures from registered City of Tucson voters by July 5th in order to be placed on the November ballot.Stories from the Weekly here, from the Star here. Official text of proposed charter amendment here.
PLANNING COMMISSION RECOMMENDS AGAINST ADOPTING “PLAN TUCSON” AS DRAFTED - At their meeting last night, the City’s Planning Commission voted 7-3 to recommend that M&C not adopt the final draft of Plan Tucson, the City’s proposed new General Plan. The Planning Commission’s recommendation is one of several steps outlined in a Public Participation Program, adopted by M&C in March 2011, designed to meet Arizona’s legal requirements for municipal general plans. By state law, cities and towns must refer their General Plans for voter approval once every ten years. Tucson’s last general plan was approved by voters in 2001, but a bill passed by the Arizona Legislature in 2010 extended the deadline until 2015. A public hearing on Plan Tucson is scheduled for next Tuesday’s M&C Regular Session. M&C will have the opportunity to consider suggested changes to Plan Tucson and direct staff accordingly. If M&C wishes to adopt Plan Tucson and refer it to the November ballot, they must do so by July 9th. Read the M&C memo here.
NATURAL GAS POWERED GARBAGE TRUCK JOINS CITY FLEET - The Environmental Services Department unveiled its first new truck powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), a cheaper, cleaner-burning fuel than diesel. Another benefit of CNG-powered equipment is that CNG engines run more quietly than those powered by diesel. The new truck is the first of 14 the department plans to add to its fleet. From KOLD/KMSB. Learn more about CNG garbage trucks in “Your Water Connection” newsletter.
CONTRACT OPPORTUNITY: TRANSIT ADVERTISING - The Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) is seeking proposals from experienced media advertising sales firms to develop and maintain sales efforts for transit advertising on Sun Tran buses, Sun Van vehicles, and Downtown Loop buses. As an option to this contract, TDOT may choose to have the Contactor include advertising sales at transit centers, on Sun Link streetcars and Sun Link stops. Read the City of Tucson RFP here.