NewsNet 05-18-15

CITY BUDGET SET FOR TENTATIVE ADOPTION THIS WEEK - After another Study Session discussion tomorrow, the Mayor and Tucson City Council is scheduled to vote to adopt the tentative budget for the next fiscal year. The Fiscal Year 2016 $1.368 billion Recommended Budget presented by City Manager Martha Durkin is an increase of $103 million from the current fiscal budget. The City is counting on using $3.2 million from the Stabilization Fund, money from land sales, new revenue from annexations, and an expected uptick in sales tax, property tax and state-shared tax revenue to help fund the budget. Under the proposal, the City would spend $600,000 for swimming pools, $1.6 million for graffiti removal, and there would be no increase in transit fares. After tentative adoption, there will be another public hearing June 9, with final adoption by Mayor and Council set for June 9.

TUCSON WATER PREPARED FOR CONTINUING DROUGHT - Arizona has been in a drought for about 15 years, and Tucson is saving its groundwater aquifer, as it gets most of its drinking water from the Colorado River and Central Arizona Project. However, at the end of this year there is an increasing chance the federal government could declare a shortage on the Colorado River for the first time in history, and that would trigger water cutbacks. Currently, Tucson takes its full allocation of CAP water, but is only using about 70 percent of the allocation. The rest is stored underground in large recharge basins west of Tucson. "We are only using a little less than 100,000 acre feet of water each year in the last couple years," said Fernando Molina, a spokesman for Tucson Water. "That means we have about 44,000 acre feet of water that is staying in the aquifer. Water in the bank, so to speak. It allows us to save water for the future." Read more on Tucson's Water Plan: 2000-2050.

SUN TRAN TO OPEN NEW PARK AND RIDE LOT ON EASTSIDE - A new Park and Ride location is scheduled to open Sunday at Broadway and Houghton. The location will serve passengers on Routes 4, 8, and 108X. Park and Ride lots are designed for passengers who do not live near a route, but want to take advantage of public transit. Sun Tran Park and Ride locations are available throughout the community.

TUCSON IN TOP 10 LIST OF MOST BIKEABLE CITIES - The latest study from the real estate website Redfin ranks Tucson No. 9 on its list of Most Bikeable Cities 2015. The survey ranks 154 U.S. cities with populations of 300,000 or more. Tucson gets an overall Bike Score of 67.9 (No. 1 Minneapolis, MN has a score of 81.3) and a Walk Score of 39. While Redfin calls Tucson car dependent, it also says there is infrastructure for biking. The most-recent addition of that infrastructure is a two-way, curb-protected bicycle lane on Stone Avenue near Toole Avenue. The new bike lane is on the east side of Stone Avenue from Toole Avenue to Alameda Street. While Stone Avenue is a one-way street for vehicular traffic between Toole Avenue and Alameda Street, cyclists are able to travel in both directions in the new bike lane. The City of Tucson has another separated bike lane on St. Marys Road between Davis Street and Main Avenue. The St. Marys bike lane uses plastic posts to separate the six-foot-wide bike lane from the right lane of vehicular traffic.
Tucson Bicycle & Pedestrian Program

HELP MAKE RECYCLING MORE EFFECTIVE - A recent survey from the City of Tucson's Environmental Services (ES) department found that approximately 90 percent of Tucsonans regularly set out their blue barrels for recycling, but 20 percent of the material put in barrels is not recyclable. Contamination - especially food, yard waste, and dirty diapers - can ruin a complete truckload of recyclables. Plastic bags, garden hoses, and clothing also can cause problems. Some of the things that go through the plant also are potentially harmful to the health and safety of the workers. Recycling is a positive for Tucson. It helps conserve resources, extend the life of the landfill, reduce our carbon footprint, and it's economically beneficial for our City and customers, so it's important we do it right. The local recycling processor sells the recyclables and divides the profits with the City. Those revenues help ES offset a portion of collection costs and keep rates stable for our customers. ES residential collection rates have not increased for four years. Follow the link below to read more, and learn what is acceptable and not acceptable for the blue barrels, and watch Tucson 12 video about recycling.