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  • Committee Advises Bond Vote Delay to 2015

    Oct 17, 2013 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Bond Advisory Committee heard substantial testimony in favor of allotting $30 million to the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program in the next bond package on September 20, when it decided for other reasons to delay a vote on the next bond package until the November 2015 election.

    The committee in 2010, anticipating at the time an earlier bond election, voted to allocate $30 million in the next Pima County bond election package to the popular Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, which has benefited 375,000 residents since its inception in 1997. The county administration in January 2013 asked the committee to reduce that allocation to $20 million. Richard opposes the reduction.

    Neighborhood Reinvestment allows residents to decide what improvements they want in their neighborhoods – sidewalks, street lights, traffic-calming features or park improvements – to enhance the quality of their lives. Program allocations are capped at $500,000 per neighborhood, per bond cycle.

    The committee voted to delay the bond-package vote from November 2014 to November 2015 because county property values have yet to rebound sufficiently from the 2008-2010 recession, and the county retains a significant debt burden for its state-ordered upgrade of the Wastewater System and to pay for the new Justice-Courts Building after the City of Tucson pulled out of the project.

    Richard also opposes administration proposals to reduce the committee’s 2010 bond-package allocation for Affordable Housing from $30 million to $20 million and its allocation for open space and habitat protection land purchases from $110 million to less than $100 million.

    The Affordable Housing Program creates jobs while it benefits modest-income residents by providing them with home-ownership opportunities and with high-quality rental housing, some of which is for the elderly or people with behavioral health issues.

    The county needs to purchase and protect from development more open space for its landmark Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan to be fully effective. The county’s Conservation Acquisition Commission recommended that $285 million be earmarked in the next bond package to purchase open space for habitat protection. The $110 million figure appears modest by comparison.

    Richard supports a request for the bond package of JobPath and Literacy Connects for purchase or construction of a centrally located facility for up to $6 million. Such a facility would enable these non-profits to improve significantly access to their services. Literacy Connects reaches 50,000 children and adults a year to improve their literacy and thus enhance their job prospects. JobPath provides 400 participants a year with training and placement services in living-wage jobs. These programs foster economic development at the lower end of our economic scale that benefits our entire economy.

    The Bond Advisory Committee will resume its consideration of projects and allocations in the next bond package in February 2014.