In today’s message from Council Member Karin Uhlich:


-Karin’s note: Friday, March 11, 2011
-Ward 3 Neighbors’ Alliance Meeting
-Lend A Hand’s Spring Arts & Crafts Fair
-Free Tax Preparation at Ward 3
–Tree Dedication Ceremony Memorializing Rick Wicinski
-4th Annual UofA Mortar Board Neighborhood Cleanup
-St. Patrick’s Day Parade and 2nd Saturdays downtown
-Bike Fest 2011 Is On!
-Festival of Books
-New Sunday Farmer’s Market
-Gabrielle Giffords Honorary Save-A-Life

Karin’s Note: Friday, March 11th, 2011

Neighbors,

In the Mayor and Council meeting this week, we continued our discussions leading up to the final adoption of the budget for next year. Included in the adopted framework I offered a few weeks ago are elements that promote economic recovery and protect core services. Any adjustments we make in future discussions must hold these facts in mind:

MINIMIZE DEBT RESTRUCTURING
No restructuring of debt in the adopted framework would occur until the spring of 2012. This will allow Mayor/Council to base such action on the actual growth in revenues evidenced by mid-year as well as actual revenues achieved through land sales. Original growth projections are roughly half as optimistic as the State’s and the University of Arizona’s forecasts. Nonetheless, the three line items (revenue growth, land sales, debt restructuring) can clearly be adjusted as we move toward final budget adoption (all proposals to date combine these line items for $21-$22M total).

PROMOTE ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Throughout the economic downturn Mayor/Council, with staff, have worked tirelessly to streamline government, cut red tape, and remove barriers to economic growth:

  • easing the path for certificates of occupancy
  • streamlining processes for plan and permit approvals
  • clearing the way for infill and transit-oriented development
  • simplifying the Land Use Code
  • deferring impact fee payments
  • opening City procurement to business with smaller, local firms                                                                                                                            

  In addition we have actively fostered investment and infrastructure in key corridors and economic centers:

  • Science and Technology Park in southeast Tucson
  • Bridges development at Kino and I-10
  • The Oracle Area Revitalization District and corridor
  • The Campbell Avenue Business Corridor
  • Downtown partnership with the Business Improvement District

 And we have provided direction to open new support from non-general-fund sources and outside partnerships:

  • leveraging Section 108 loans through HUD Targeting resources through the Industrial Development Authority and Business Development Finance Corporation
  • Reinstating strategic support through a competitive process (Microbusiness Advancement Center, Downtown Partnership) and established regional entities (e.g. Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities)

The framework protects Development Services from cuts that would delay plan and permit approvals and sustains these critical partnerships to advance economic growth. The framework also averts key taxes/fees perceived as undermining recovery:

  • No rental housing tax
  • No advertising tax
  • No increase in business license fees
  • No increase in solar permitting fees

PROTECT CORE SERVICES
The adopted framework protects core services identified in the City Charter: Public Safety, Parks/Recreation, Transportation/Transit. The framework focuses on improving local government’s delivery of these services (as well as Water/Refuse enterprises and Development Services to promote recovery). Deeper cuts in the areas of Parks/Rec and Transit (or Public Safety) would undermine economic growth and recovery by degrading mobility and quality of life in our City. Children, families, seniors, working people and businesses will all thrive best in a healthy community.

EVALUATE BUDGET REFINEMENTS
Management and our Labor Council will be returning to Mayor/Council in April with final, suggested refinements to the adopted framework (identifying those cuts which do not undermine core service or economic recovery). Ideas from Mayor/Council should continue to be channeled into that process for final budget adoption.

BUILD UPON OUR SUCCESS
Since 2007 Mayor/Council has navigated the downturn by strategically and significantly cutting costs (from 6042 employees to 5419 employees and adjusted benefits agreements), adopting reasonable fee/revenue increases (e.g. transit, parks/recreation), and managing debt and assets. Last year we added over $5M to our reserves, a success almost unheard of amongst cities in Arizona and across the nation. The adopted framework enables us to foster growth and recovery in a manner that further improves local government’s service to our people. It responds to Tucsonans’ key demand: deliver quality, core services and set the stage for businesses to open and expand.

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Events in Ward 3

-Ward 3 Neighbors’ Alliance Meeting – Wednesday, March 16 at Wood’s Memorial Library – 3455 North 1st Avenue, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Topic: Business Organizations Involvement & Networking for Better Neighborhoods.

-Spring Arts and Crafts Fair – Saturday, March 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Northminster Presbyterian Church, 2450 E. Fort Lowell Road. Fair benefits the Lend A Hand Senior Outreach program. More info: Alan: 269-7083 or ahadler@cox.net.

-Tree Dedication Ceremony – Sunday, March 20 beginning at 11:00 a.m. Amphi  Neighborhood Park, 510 E. Navajo (north of Ft. Lowell, west of 1st Avenue).
Everyone invited to honor the memory of neighborhood leader, Rick Wicinski.

-4th Annual U of A Mortar Board Neighborhood Cleanup – Saturday, March 26 from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Students will help cleanup yards and graffiti in five Ward 3 Neighborhoods. For more info call the Ward 3 Council Office at 791-4711.

-Free Tax Preparation For Working Families – Tuesdays from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 am to noon through April 16th. Ward 3 Council Office, 1510 E. Grant Road. United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona sponsors the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Free assistance for individuals and families with low to moderate incomes. More info: Lisa Valenzuela at 903-3998 or www.unitedwaytucson.org
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Events City Wide:


-St. Patrick Day Parade and 2nd Saturday’s Downtown – March 12 from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Arts, crafts, downtown business specials. More info: www.2ndsaturdaysdowntown.com

-Bike Fest 2011 Starts Now! – Friday, March 11 through April 30th. Park that bike and get moving. Organized rides, Bike 2 Work, Cyclovia and many other events. More info: www.BikeFestTucson.com

-Tucson Festival of Books- Saturday and Sunday, March 12 and 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. University of Arizona campus. Renowned authors, lectures, book signings, workshops. More info: www.TucsonFestivalofBooks.org

-New Farmer’s Market – Sundays from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Our Savior Lutheran Church, corner of Campbell Avenue and Helen. 20 vendors will display and sell their goods.

-Gabrielle Giffords Honorary Save-A-Life – Saturday, March 19.  The Red Cross of Southern Arizona will hold classes at six locations across Southern Arizona:

TUCSON - CENTRAL at 9:00, 11:00 and 1:00
Doubletree Hotel Tucson at Reid Park, Ballroom
445 S. Alvernon Way
Tucson, AZ 85711

TUCSON - NORTHWEST at 9:00 and 11:00
YMCA - Northwest Tucson
7770 N. Shannon Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85741

GREEN VALLEY at 9:00 and 11:00
Desert Hills Recreation Center
2980 South Camino Del Sol
Green Valley, AZ 85622-8200

NOGALES at 9:00 and 11:00
Southeast Arizona Area
Health Education Center (SEAAHEC)
1171 W. Target Range Rd.

Nogales, AZ 85621

SIERRA VISTA AT 9:00 AND 11:00
SACA Home Show at Buena High School
5225 E. Buena School Blvd.
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

DOUGLAS at 9:00 and 11:00
Douglas High School
1500 15th. St.
Douglas, AZ 85607

The free CPR and first-aid training will last 45-60 minutes, and will include instruction in hands-only CPR, controlling external bleeding and managing shock.  If you would like to attend on of these sessions, you can RSVP online at:

http://www.redcrossarizona.org/site/PageServer?pagename=appeal_giffords_savealife