Karin's Note:  March 30, 2012

-Eggstravaganza on April 7!

-Balboa Heights Neighborhood Cleanup

-Jefferson Park Home Tour

-Town Hall Scheduled for April

-1st Annual Vintage Vehicles on Stone Event

-Ward 3 “Tucson Means Business” Forum

-Neon Mile:  Sign Lighting and More

-Neon Mile:  5th Annual Historic Open House and Tour

-12th Annual César E. Chávez March

-City of Tucson and World Wildlife Fund Host Summit

-Toy Train Museum Open House

-Did you know...

Dear Tucsonans,

Some thoughts to share on key topics in front of us…

BUDGET AND TRANSIT

You deserve to know that the Mayor and City Council stretch every one of your tax dollars to deliver what’s most important to you. As we work together to identify significant funding for street repairs, let’s not forget the multiple, significant return on each dollar we invest in transit*:

  • Less traffic congestion
  • Safer mobility, as public transportation is 91 times safer than car travel
  • Less wear and tear on our streets; for every $10million invested in public transit over $15 million is saved in transportation costs to both roadway and public transit users.
  • Savings for seniors, the disabled, lower-income people and all riders. The American Automobile Association estimates the cost of driving a single-occupant vehicle at $4,826-$9685 per year while the average annual cost for public transportation for one person ranges from $200-$200 per year.
  • Improved air quality, because buses emit 80% less carbon monoxide than a car.
  • Reduced energy consumption, as a person commuting 60 miles per day saves an estimated 1,888 gallons of gas every year by shifting from the car to a bus. Our numbers are even better in Tucson as we acquire more compressed natural gas and hybrid buses.
  • Positive economic impacts, as some studies indicate that for every $1 invested in transit, $6 of economic activity is returned to the community. Businesses on bus routes do better and workers can perform better with reliable and affordable transportation.
  • Better connecting all of us can get to medical and essential appointments, shopping destinations and to our friends and family anywhere in the City/region, strengthening the fabric of our community.

(*source American Public Transit Association, www.apta.com)

This year transit ridership in Tucson is up 30% and annual revenues from fares have jumped from $11 million to $14 million per year. That’s great news for all of us. As we craft the budget for next year I will work hard to make sure we continue to make progress in promoting a top-notch transit system. It’s good for our economy, our environment, our streets/traffic, and our residents. It’s quite frankly hard to find a better return on every dollar invested for Tucson.

WATER STEWARDSHIP

The Mayor and City Council continue to defend our Water Service Area Map and Policies from the legislative and lobbying assault embodied in HB2416. I believe we must remain open to negotiations that can kill that bill and protect the broader interests of the public. It’s not easy to stay at the table when forced there by threats, but our job is to navigate all challenges to the best benefit of Tucsonans. I am hopeful we will find a path to retain our framework for responsible water management, protect Painted Hills, and safeguard taxpayers’ resources (money and land). In fact any resolution I support will have to deliver on all three of those measures.

TUCSON CONVENTION CENTER

The City’s proactive move to replace the bleachers at the TCC seems to be leveraging positive action from the Rio Nuevo Board in that they have agreed to invest now in needed restroom renovations. Much work remains to improve the TCC and, in-keeping with the state’s Rio Nuevo enabling legislation, this ought to be the first priority for Tax Increment Finance dollars overseen by the Rio Nuevo Board. I see these latest developments as signs that such progress is possible, and that the Rio Nuevo Board recognizes its duty and the public’s need for the Convention Center improvements.

NEXT WEEK

We’ll be getting an update on Councilmember Fimbres’s initiatives to shift more City purchasing to local businesses and generate more local hiring through our contracts and projects. This represents another way that we can leverage the greatest impacts from our spending to benefit the local economy.

We will also be acting upon the proposed Central Redevelopment Area/Business District map and policies. Here we must strike a balance between the need for swift action and adopting an inclusive boundary which could provide incentives for needed investments and projects. I pushed for some additional time to consider a wider area rather than restricting this effort to one part of the downtown. I also promised not to delay adopting the initial area/district so we can leverage key incentives for Tucson as soon as possible under state statute. I believe that on Tuesday we will determine which areas concur with inclusion in the mapped area (for example, the Oracle/Miracle Mile/Stone/1st corridors) and which would opt to take more time and/or be considered in a future round of consideration. Another key part of the discussion will be incorporating language to address key issues such as historic preservation and protections for public/open spaces.

MORE ON WATER

This week I spent time with Adrian Gonzalez and Roman Guerrero of Tucson Water reading water meters in my Ward. I learned a great deal about their challenges accessing and reading meters, as well as the many strategies and steps they use to help insure accurate readings every month. It’s important to me that we recognize the hard work of our dedicated employees even as we work together to solve problems like sporadic bills spikes experienced by some Tucson Water customers. We are taking action to amend our policies for payments on bill spikes and reviewing the checks and balances in place as well as the equipment we invest in to provide the best possible customer service now and into the future.

Close to 800,000 people now live within Tucson Water’s service area and many more receive service through our commercial and industrial accounts. Even though out-of-the-ordinary and unexplained bill issues could be experienced by less than 1% of our overall customer account base, that fraction will remain of utmost concern as we invest in our water utility.

Karin

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Ward 3  Events:

-Eggstravaganza! – Saturday, April 7th from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Donna Liggins Center, 2160 N. 6th Avenue. Egg hunts, games and lunch. More info: 791-3247.

-Balboa Heights Neighborhood Cleanup – Saturday, April 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Meet at the Marty Birdman Center, 2536 N. Castro. Join the Ward 3 Council Office, City of Tucson Parks and Rec., Balboa residents and students from Carrington College and Job Corps as they beautify the neighborhood. Lunch provided. More info: Cheryl Rodgers at the Ward 3 Council Office, 791-4711.

-Jefferson Park Home Tour – Sunday, April 15 from Noon to 5:00 p.m. A dozen gardens will be open to the public focusing on water harvesting, xeroscape, sustainability and a tour of the historic Lester homestead. Owners and do-it-yourselfers will be onsite to talk about their yards and projects. Sponsored by The Friends of Jefferson Park and the Neighborhood Association, tickets for this fund raiser are $10, children under 12 are free and are available at Site #1, the International School of Tucson at 1701 E. Seneca. More details: www.jeffersonpark.info

-Town Hall with Mayor Rothschild, Vice Mayor Uhlich and the Ward 3 Alliance – Wednesday, April 18 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Westside TPD, 1310 W. Miracle Mile. The collaborative Q&A event will address constituent concerns and opportunities for volunteerism. More info: Ward 3 Council Office at 791-4711.

-1st Annual Vintage Vehicles on Stone – Saturday, April 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Seven free classic car shows at Glenn and Stone Avenue in the Coronado Heights Neighborhood. Free popcorn, lemonade and door prizes included in the fun. Please consider bringing an item or two to donate, i.e. clothing, books, toys in support of the Beacon Group. More info: 622-5263 or www.beaconsvaluevillage.org

 -Ward 3 “Tucson Means Business” Forum – Thursday, April 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at TPD West, 1310 W. Miracle Mile. Vice Mayor Karin Uhlich invites all current and aspiring business owners to attend this informational forum to learn more about available expansion loans for small businesses, free support services for those in RTA construction zones and how to become a vendor on the City’s Procurement list. City of Tucson department heads, including Procurement and Development Services will be in attendance along with Mayor Rothschild and representatives on the Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Commission. More info: Ward 3 Council Office at 791-4711.

-Neon Mile:  Sign Lighting and More - Friday, April 27 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Pima Community College, Downtown campus on Drachman. This celebration of the restoration and installation of four iconic neon signs salvaged from Tucson sites is a collaborative project of Pima Community College (PCC) and the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation with assistance from Ward III and City of Tucson staff.  Private donations paid for the restoration work. Event activities will include “flipping the switch” to light up the signs, classic cars, a sock hop, a mid-1900’s fashion show, kids’ activities, music, food, and more. The location of these signs on PCC property along Drachman will highlight the southern terminus of Historic Miracle Mile. 

-Neon Mile:  5th Annual Historic Open House and Tour - Saturday, April 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 pm.  Extending Friday night’s celebration of the Neon Mile (see above) this year’s event will be headquartered at the PCC Downtown Campus, and will include three lectures and 5 - 6 shuttle bus tour venues, including the early Evergreen Cemetery tour by Ken Scoville. More information coming soon, but if you would be interested in volunteering for this event, please call Linda Mehall at the Ward 3 office at 791-4711.

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City Wide Events:

- 12th Annual César E. Chávez March - Saturday, March 31, 9 a.m., St. John’s Catholic Church, 602 W. Ajo Way.  The March will travel to Rudy Garcia Park where there will be guest speakers, music and vendors. Free and open to the public, families are encouraged to attend.  For more information please contact the Arizona César E. Chávez Coalition at (520)940-7752 or visit http://azcesarchavezcoalition.org .

-City of Tucson and World Wildlife Fund Host Summit – Saturday, March 31, from 3:00 – 7:15 p.m. Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Avenue.  The Power to Prepare Tucson, a summit to ready our communities for a changing climate invites all community leaders and residents to help shape our response to a Changing Climate. Light dinner will be provided. To RSVP to this free event: /ocsd/powertoprepare. More info: 791-4675

-Toy Train Museum Open House – Sunday, April 1 from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. at the Gadsden Pacific Toy Train Museum, 3975 N. Miller Avenue. Six operating toy train layouts—come and hear the bells and whistles! Free, donations accepted. More info: 888-2222.

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Did You Know…

…the City of Tucson is soliciting competitive proposals for the delivery of eligible economic development programs and services offered by non-profit organizations? Approximately $500,000 will be available from the City of Tucson General Fund for Fiscal Year 2013. Proposals are due via email or hand-delivery (no fax or mail) by 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 13, 2012. Contracts will be awarded for a one-year period beginning on July 1, 2012. Materials/applications are available at www.tucsonaz.gov/edrfp

…that Pima Community College is hosting a photographic exhibit:  “Jam Session: America’s Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World” at the downtown campus (1255 N. Stone Avenue) featuring jazz artists from the 1950s, 60s and 70s?  Opening reception is from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17. Exhibit tours, special talks on jazz in Tucson and music by the PCC Jazz Ensemble. The exhibit will be at PCC, 2nd floor lobby of the CC Building through May 25. Admission to the exhibit is free.

.. Salpointe High School Drama Club is offering their spring musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” this Friday and Saturday evening, March 30 and 31 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 1 at 1:00 p.m.? Admission is $8 for students, $10 general admission. More info: dmine@salpointe.org

Trees for Tucson program is a great option for residents to receive low-cost shade trees to help beautify their home and improve our community's environment, while providing long-term financial savings as the trees grow and reduce air-conditioning usage. Trees for Tucson, a program of Tucson Clean & Beautiful, provides these low-cost trees for planting at homes throughout much of the Tucson metropolitan area. Tucson Electric Power customers may receive desert-adapted shade trees delivered to their home for $8.00 each, if they agree to plant the trees within 15 feet of the west, east, or south side of the home. To obtain an application form, visit www.treesfortucson.org or call (520) 791-3109.