Paul's Note - September 6, 2019

Our Summer months are not our strongest time for tourism in the Old Pueblo, but it does give us a chance to assess where we are as a destination.

Visit Tucson made a presentation last week on lodging performance, basically, how many nights are people staying in Tucson hotels and how much are they spending on those rooms. The numbers look good for us.

Interestingly, the three measures that the industry uses, occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room, has remained stagnant nationwide. Tucson’s numbers in those categories are projected to grow.

We are projected to end the year with both occupancy and average daily rate up slightly, while revenue per available room will be up by almost five percent. All three numbers are projected to keep going up next year as well.

This isn’t just a matter of Tucson being dragged along as the economy grows state wide or nationally. Those numbers out pace national growth in the lodging industry. The growth in revenue per room is almost twice Phoenix’s, and is projected to be nearly four times as much next year.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, it is not a shock that I am happy we are beating Phoenix. Also, I know that most of you are saying, well of course, who would want to visit Phoenix over Tucson.

We know we are an attractive destination, but Visit Tucson are the ones who tell the rest of the country and the world that. As these numbers bear out, they’ve been doing a fantastic job of that. Thanks to their work, we’ve added a second gem show “season” with the Fall Gem Show underway this week and we have another big culinary event, Sonoran Restaurant Week starting this weekend. Visit visittucson.org for more information.

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I was very unhappy with our local electrical utility when they had the Arizona Corporation Commission make it harder for homeowners to install roof top solar. The changes affected the way businesses and institutions, like the City of Tucson, made their decisions on solar power too.

At the time of the changes from the Corporation Commission, Tucson had a window submit their solar projects so they could continue to be under the old pricing and regulatory structure. We managed to submit dozens of city owned sites before the deadline. One of them was here at Ward 2.

Those of you that have visited the parking lot this week have seen the two beams that were installed that will eventually hold up our panels. The crew from Solar Gain is doing the work in phases at several sites. If you don’t see work being done, it’s because they are at a different site.

When this is done, the panels will provide 75% of the power to our building. Why only 75%? We’ve got an old building that has some inefficient systems. There is a plan to replace old lighting systems and the HVAC with newer more efficient equipment. At that point, it is hoped the panels will be providing close to all of our power.

They will also be building a second set of panels behind the fire house.

When the ACC changes were being made, I was a big advocate for aggressively moving forward with the applications. We are still in the midst of one of our hottest summers I can remember, and that’s all from climate change mostly induced from the way we get our power. The quicker we can move our office and other city offices off of dirty fossil fuels the better. I’ll be proud to see those panels in our lot.