newsnet - December 11, 1:54 pm
CITY OF TUCSON, ALLSTATE, TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT AND LIVING STREETS ALLIANCE ANNOUNCE NEW BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN SAFETY CAMPAIGN - The new "Tucson on 2" (two feet, two wheels) safety campaign focuses on protecting the lives of pedestrians and bicyclists through targeted education, traffic engineering and law enforcement. New solar-powered signs are being added that have blinking lights to draw attention to drivers, warning them they may encounter cyclists or pedestrians ahead. The message is to "Look Twice." The first sign was installed yesterday at Santa Rita Park, on East 22nd Street, where two pedestrians were killed by cars recently. The "Look Twice" message also will appear on bus stops and safety kits being distributed around the city. Read more at tucsonaz.gov and watch the story at KVOA.
STATE BUDGETS IMPROVING, BUT GROWTH STILL BELOW HISTORIC RATES - State budgets are slowly improving, but are still below their pre-recession peaks, according to the latest report from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). The study highlights low revenue growth for FY 2014, when states are expected to take in just 0.8 percent more than they did the previous year. Scott Pattison, Executive Director of NASBO, says even if the projections are overly conservative, that's still dramatically different from FY 2013's 5.7 percent growth rate. Pattison attributes slow growth to taxpayers changing the timing of when they collected income, in order to avoid higher federal tax rates that were set to begin Jan. 1, 2013, and states cutting taxes. Read the story from Governing.
TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT AGREES TO SELL CLOSED WRIGHTSTOWN ELEMENTARY TO HOMEBUILDER - The TUSD Governing Board last night unanimously approved a $1.6 million deal for a residential development on the now-closed Wrightstown Elementary School marking the first time district has transferred ownership of one of its closed schools. Mahalo Development, LLC plans to build up to 80 single family homes on the 9.2-acre property at 8950 E. Wrightstown Road. The sale is conditional on the approval of the federal court, which is overseeing the districts desegregation efforts, and the successful rezoning of the property. Read the story from the Arizona Daily Star.
TUCSON-AREA HOME SALES FALL, PRICES RISE - The number of home sales in the Tucson area fell in November, while sales prices rose, according to the latest figures from the Tucson Association of Realtors. The Realtors Multiple Listing Service report shows 993 listed homes were sold in November, down 17 percent from October and down 6 percent from November 2012. The average sales price of $191,763 in November essentially was flat from October, but up 5 percent from the same month last year. Read the story in the Arizona Daily Star.
2ND SATURDAYS DOWNTOWN THIS WEEKEND - The monthly, free, family-friendly event this Saturday runs from 2 p.m. - 8 p.m. The main stage at Scott Avenue and Congress Street features musical groups,and there are plenty of activities for children. Food from vendors and downtown eateries will be available. Street parking is free on Saturdays, or you can pay $3 to park in the Pennington Street Garage. Visit 2nd Saturdays Downtown.
newsnet - December 10, 3:04 pm
CONGRESSIONAL SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING IN TUCSON EXPLORES WAYS TO IMPROVE THE FLOW OF TRADE BETWEEN MEXICO AND THE UNITED STATES - Some of the ideas discussed at the hearing yesterday in Mayor and Council Chambers included placing more officers at Arizona’s ports of entry, longer hours of operation, lease-back partnerships with private investors and toll roads. Republican Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, led the Tucson field hearing. Reps. Ron Barber and Kyrsten Sinema, both Arizona Democrats, and Republican Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona joined New Jersey Democratic Rep. Albio Sires to hear more than two hours of testimony from a panel of experts. At the conclusion of the hearing, Salmon asked the panel to send follow-up information regarding the public-private cooperation on government projects. Read the story in the Arizona Daily Star. HOW SALT LAKE CITY SOLVED CHRONIC VETERANS HOMELESSNESS: TUCSON STRIVING FOR SAME GOAL - Officials in Salt Lake City say that by the end of this month, their city no longer will have chronically-homeless veterans. In an effort to raise awareness about veterans homelessness and to solicit help from landlords, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker proclaimed November “Housing Veterans Month.” In response, roughly 40 landlords contacted the city to say they had units available for veterans. Public and private organizations met in 2012 to discuss ways to reduce homelessness and some Veterans Affairs staff decided to move their operations to a homeless shelter a couple days a week, saying they had a better chance of interacting with the people who need their help. Tucson is one of 25 cities the Obama Administration chose to lead an effort to end veterans homelessness by the end of 2015. As of the end of September, 223 homeless veterans in Tucson received housing, surpassing the challenge goal for that date by 15 people. Read the story in Governing and read more on Tucson's efforts to end veterans homelessness. REPORT: ARIZONA GRADUATED WITH SOME OF THE LOWEST COLLEGE DEBT IN THE NATION IN 2012 - - Students in four-year colleges in Arizona graduated with some of the lowest college debt in the nation in 2012, according to a new report. The Project on Student Debt said last week that average student debt in Arizona was $20,299 in 2012, the 47th-lowest. The report also said that 54 percent of Arizona graduates were in debt, 38th in the nation. Edvisors.com Publisher Mark Kantrowitz says the main reason for the relatively low debt in Arizona is the fact that most students go to public schools, where tuition is usually lower than private schools. Morgan Abraham, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, says despite the report, tuition has been "increasing tremendously over the years." Read the story from from Cronkite News Service via the Arizona Republic. HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION SET FOR SATURDAY - Do you have unused chemicals, oils or pesticides sitting in your shed or garage? The City of Tucson and Pima County are hosting the Household Hazardous Waste Program (HHW) this Saturday at Purple Heart Park, 10050 E. Rita Ranch Rd. from 8 a.m. - noon (entrance on Esmond Loop). Drop off of HHW is free for residents. Accepted materials include automotive fluids, auto and rechargeable batteries from electronics equipment, toxic cleaning products, fluorescent lamps, paints, solvents, lawn and garden products and computer equipment ($2 for monitors without computer). The program only accepts materials generated in homes. Commercially-generated materials are not accepted. Download the free ‘my waste’™ app to have access to all collection schedules. City of Tucson Environmental Services Department JOB OPPORTUNITY: WATER SYSTEM OPERATOR - Tucson Water is looking for an experienced Water System Operator for its Water Instrumentation & Control Section. Join a team responsible for the central control operations of a large potable and reclaimed water system. Salary depends on experience and there are great benefits and an outstanding work environment. Shift work, holidays and weekends are part of the schedule. The application deadline is Dec. 29. Apply here!
newsnet - December 9, 2:29 pm
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: http://bit.ly/1aOsX3Q 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
ward4 - December 6, 2:32 pm
On May 16, 2006, voters in Pima County approved a $2.1 billion regional transportation plan to be funded by a 1/2 percent sales tax and to be executed over 20 years expiring on June 30, 2026. The $2.1 billion revenue forecast was produced by the Economic and Business Research Center at the Eller College of Management, University of Arizona. In total, 51 transportation related projects in four elements (roadway, safety, transit, environment and economic vitality) were identified in the regional transportation plan consuming $1.998 billion of the fore
newsnet - December 6, 11:05 am
TUCSON FACES BUDGET SHORTFALL FOR NEXT FISCAL YEAR - Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Kelly Gottschalk says the City's deficit could be at least $15 million next fiscal year, but the calculation will be more precise in a few months. “The Council is going to have to make priority decisions," she says. "We are seeing on an annual basis that our revenues are going up, but our expenses are going up faster than our revenues, so we are going to have to face challenges in Fiscal [Year] '15." Hear the interview with Arizona Public Media.
CHICAGO PURSUES DEAL TO CHANGE PENSION FUNDING - As many government entities, including Tucson, address issues related to their pension systems, Chicago is hoping from some relief, after the State of Illinois made some legislative changes. The passage Tuesday of a landmark bill trimming retirement benefits for state workers, aimed at fixing the vastly underfunded pension system, is relevant to the nation’s third-largest city, which has its own pension systems in various stages of financial problems. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says some sort of pension reform is required to preserve city services and maintain tax rates into the future. City employee group representatives oppose these efforts, saying that retirement benefits are contractual and constitutionally-protected obligations that City of Chicago government should honor. Read the story from the New York Times.
URBAN LAND INSTITUTE (ULI) ADVISORY SERVICES PANEL DEVELOPS A ROADMAP TO THE FUTURE OF DOWNTOWN TUCSON - The ULI, an independent global nonprofit that provides leadership in real estate development and responsible land use, visited Tucson last month to provide a technical assessment for underutilized properties in Downtown Tucson. The ULI team toured the downtown area, met with many downtown and community stakeholders in both the public and private sectors, and listed some key recommendations last week. Watch the Tucson 12 video and read more about the project and review the Powerpoint presentation at http://tucsonaz.gov/uli.
TUCSON POLICE NO LONGER PROHIBITING PHOTOS OF PUBLIC RECORDS - Tucson Police will now allow citizens to take photos of public documents, reversing their policy after Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne wrote a legal opinion saying public records must be available for free inspection, including permitting the use of photographs. "Throughout the city, our practices already were in line with what the AG opinion concludes," Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin tells NewsNet. "However, in one particular instance (records through TPD's Public Information Office), we were not letting people photograph the record, and instead we told them they could either inspect the record and not pay anything, or we would provide a copy and they would pay the copy cost. In light of the AG Opinion, we've given the direction to stop that practice." Read more from Capitol Media Services via the Arizona Daily Star.
HOLIDAY DECORATION SAFETY TIPS - If you're planning on hanging holiday lights this weekend, make sure to keep safety in mind. Tucson Fire Department Captain Barrett Baker says it all starts with a properly-sized ladder to hang your lights. Learn more from KGUN9's "No Bad Days with Barrett" segment.
ward3 - December 5, 5:06 pm
-Ward 3 Events -Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s) -Citywide Events -Did You Know?
********************************************** Dear Tucsonans,
newsnet - December 5, 3:38 pm
FREEZE WARNING TONIGHT - The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning, beginning tonight at 10 o'clock and lasting through 10 a.m. tomorrow. The counties included in the warning area are Pima, Southeast Pinal and Santa Cruz. A cold air mass will be over Arizona starting today, lasting through the beginning of next week. Crews from the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) will spray magnesium chloride on approximately 70 bridge decks within city limits. Magnesium chloride lowers the freezing temperature of water and prevents ice from bonding on a roadway. A light coating produces no negative effects on water or vegetation. Magnesium chloride is an effective ice suppressant agent lasting for approximately 10 days. Read the story on tucsonaz.gov. Tucson Water tips on protecting your pipes.
FEDERAL U.S./MEXICO TRADE HEARING SCHEDULED FOR TUCSON - The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, will hold a hearing in the Mayor and Council Chambers of City Hall on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The subject is a field hearing on "Promoting Best Practices in U.S.-Mexico Trade." U.S. Representative Matt Salmon of Arizona is the Chairperson of the Subcommittee. Tucson 12 will provide live coverage of the event. Witnesses scheduled to testify.
COMMUNITY LEARNS ABOUT STREETCAR SAFETY - As Sun Link Tucson Streetcar vehicles go through testing along the tracks, the streetcar's management team continues to educate community members and streetcar operators about safety. The streetcar's "Be Street-Smart" educational safety campaign is an ongoing effort to educate citizens about the streetcars presence and how to be safe around the tracks. Read the story on the Arizona Daily Wildcat.
REID PARK ZOO PREPARING FOR ELEPHANT BIRTH - Reid Park Zoo's "Semba," a 24-year-old African elephant, is preparing for the birth of her 200-plus pound calf next summer. Tucson 12's "Zoo News" recently went behind the scenes to see what's involved in preparing for the birth. Semba already has two healthy calves. Watch the story.
WINTER WONDERLAND THIS SATURDAY - Children's Museum Tucson hosts "Winter Wonderland" Saturday to kick off its holiday season. Enjoy hands-on activities and pictures with Santa and one of his elves. The Children's Museum, in the heart of Downtown Tucson, is in the historic site of what was once the Carnegie Library.
transportation - December 5, 1:41 pm
Beginning at about noon today, for approximately three hours, crews from the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division will initiate Operation Freeze in preparation of freezing temperatures tonight. Operation Freeze is put into place to make sure City bridge decks are free of ice and safe for motorists to drive over.
newsnet - December 4, 2:10 pm
NEED HELP STARTING OR EXPANDING A BUSINESS IN TUCSON? CALL THE SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE LINE - The City of Tucson's Small Business Assistance Line, (520) 837-4100, is available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Help is available in both English and Spanish. Staff from the City Manager's Office of Economic Initiatives answer the calls. The Small Business Assistance Line is one of a number of City initiatives, along with 21 new business incentives, streamlined permit processes and more, to make the City of Tucson more business-friendly. Read more about the Small Business Assistance Line.
NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS TO STREAM LIVE VIDEO - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes rulings on Arizona cases, will begin live video streaming of oral arguments beginning next week. Streaming services will open with five cases scheduled to begin Monday. The nation's busiest federal appeals court says it believes this will be the first time a federal appellate court will use its technology to deliver live video of a proceeding over the Internet. Streaming will consist of "en banc" proceedings, which resolve intra-circuit conflicts and other legal questions of exceptional importance. The panel consists of the chief judge of the circuit and 10 judges drawn at random, rather than a three-judge appellate panel. On average, the 9th Circuit says, about 20 cases receive en banc review each year. Read more from Courthouse News Service and view streaming links from the Ninth Circuit. ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL SAYS PUBLIC HAS RIGHT TO REVIEW PUBLIC DOCUMENTS WITHOUT FEE - State Attorney General Tom Horne says public documents must be subject to inspection at public offices without any fees. In a formal opinion, Horne says the no-charge rule applies even if the agency has to make copies to redact certain private information, saying the costs of doing that cannot be charged to the person who wants to simply view the documents. Horne also says individuals are free to use their own equipment, such as smartphones and portable document scanners, to make copies without having to pay a fee. Tucson City Clerk Roger Randolph tells NewsNet the ruling shouldn't affect Tucson. "We do not charge for a copy made simply to redact information. We do charge 25 cents per page to make copies of documents," he says. "This is still authorized under ARS Title 39. We have never prohibited anyone from taking a photograph of a document in lieu of purchasing a copy." Read more from Capitol Media Services via the East Valley Tribune.
CITY OF PHOENIX TELLS COURT IT HAS RIGHT TO LIMIT BUS STOP ADVERTISING - In a case with statewide implications, the City of Phoenix argued to the Court of Appeals Tuesday that governments can deny access to candidates or controversial causes. Assistant City Attorney David Schwartz said there is no First Amendment right of those promoting political or even religious causes to make their case on city-owned property. The advertisement the City of Phoenix rejected is an image of a heart with the words “Guns Save Lives” superimposed. Read more from Capitol Media services via the Arizona Daily Star. ZOO LIGHTS 2013 BEGINS FRIDAY AT REID PARK ZOO - Zoo Lights at the City of Tucson's Reid Park Zoo features animal-themed light sculptures, thousands of sparkling holiday lights and Santa Claus. The annual event is Dec. 6-23, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Ticket prices are $6 for adults, $4 for children and kids under the age of two are free.
transportation - December 4, 6:33 am
Southern Arizona Paving and Construction Co, under contract with the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT), is continuing its fog seal program associated with the voter-approved $100 million, five-year street bond program - Road Recovery.
The dates, work hours and locations for the next set of roadway improvements are listed below. The schedule is subject to change due to inclement weather.