The Tucson agenda
Pima Supes to take 3rd swing at land acknowledgment; Marana town manager gets new contract
A quick look at what's planned for local government meetings
The Pima County Board of Supervisors will maybe, possibly, perhaps vote approve a land-acknowledgment statement to be read before their meetings.
These statements are gaining popularity as a way to concede that Euro-Americans basically stole the country from other people in ways that were less than equitable. The descendants of those folks still live here.
The statement, initiated by Supervisor Adelita Grijalva, could read like either of these possibilities:
We respectfully acknowledge that Pima County is the land and territories of Indigenous peoples. Today, Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized tribes, with Tucson being home to the O'odham and the Yaqui. Committed to diversity and inclusion, Pima County strives to build sustainable relationships with sovereign Native Nations and Indigenous communities through education offerings, partnerships, and community service.
We would like to acknowledge the traditional, ancestral, unceded ancestral territory of the Tohono O'odham and Pascua Yaqui people, on which we are learning and working today.
This is the third time the item has been on the agenda since December and action has been delayed pending wording changes and advice from the Pascua Yaqui and the Tohono O'odham. That the second option needs some copy-editing keeps slipping past some of the folks at the county.
Supervisor Steve Christy has two items he wants the board to discuss, based on constituent comments to his office.
One is a request to figure out what to do about wait times, "warehousing" (as he explained it to me during a conversation Friday) and staffing shortages at hospitals. He has an eye toward nudging the county Health Department to get after state regulators to fix it.
It's going to be wild to see how Supervisor Matt Heinz takes this because Heinz basically blamed the virus on Republicans who won't get the vaccine and called out Christy — one of just two high-level elected Republicans in county government — for questioning county health staff in a way that could seed doubt about prevention measures.
Christy also wants the board to discuss the county libraries' practice of not allowing entry of people who say they have medical exemptions from mask requirements. The medical exemption being a true exemption or an exemption in name only.
The supervisors will also vote to distribute $750,000 as an initial tranche to Visit Tucson, what used to be the convention and visitor's bureau. The money comes from coronavirus relief funds that are to be used for backstopping revenues lost during the pandemic. The county has another $500,000 it can spend on tourism, which has taken a big hit.
Fewer tourists means falling revenues for all of the local governments that collect sales and hotel taxes.
I have this friend, who has dogs. It's been suggested (strongly) that I let people know when fireworks are to be set off. Permits to have fireworks shows are the sort of things that get buried deep in local meeting agendas. Apparently, there's a couple living near Westin La Paloma who feel the same way and have complained to the county about the resort's surge in fireworks.
In a letter to the county, La Paloma neighbor Sheila Lehrer wrote this little note dated Jan. 4:
“(F)or years fireworks one or two times a year was tolerable. But more recently fireworks every month have become a serious problem. Also 'Trevor,' the La Paloma general manager tells me that he notices the local HOA as to when fireworks will occur. This does not help my situation at all.”
Well, on Feb. 10, the works may again fly all fiery. In fact, the plan is for 703 visual affects provided by 253 mortar shells over 10 minutes.
Supervisors must approve this display, which is also required to have a bond of $1,000 and $5 million in liability insurance. The display must be fired off by a licensed "shooter."
Neither the Lehrers nor their dog will be amused.
The Marana Town Council is set to renew Town Manager Terry Rozema's contract for a year and pay him $200,000 in base salary plus 5 percent in deferred compensation to be paid once he leaves his post. His contract also allows him to sell back 125 hours of sick time to the town.
Rozema is a former police chief who was hired as an interim town manager in 2020 and then got the job permanently (well, a one-year contract at a time) in February 2021.
The Oro Valley Town Council will entertain a small but interesting change to their agreement with HSL Properties, relating to the operation of the El Conquistador resort.
Under the deal, HSL has leased Pusch and La Canada golf courses so long as the town maintained them. The Pusch course was shut down when the city opted to stop maintaining it. Now that the La Canada course needs a new irrigation system, the town is asking if HSL will also give up its lease for that course.
I bring this up because... golf courses are being shut down in Oro Valley? The apocalypse is truly upon us.
On the border
Down in Nogales, the City Council will vote on an "action order" allowing the sale of bonds to pay off half $16 million in pension debt. These bonds are tricky and the council got a long warning about them during a meeting a couple weeks ago. The plan is to issue the bonds and then put them in the pension fund to fill the gap. This isn't like a typical general obligation bond which is paid back with taxes. Paying pension bonds off requires the return from the pension fund be greater than the interest rate.
In fact, the Government Finance Officers Association recommends against using them because they depend on interest rates remaining low for extended periods.
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors will consider approving a settlement with CenturyLink (now Lumen Technologies).
Details on that agenda item were unavailable, but the Sonoita and Elgin areas, in eastern Santa Cruz County, are supposed to be among the beneficiaries of a $2 million settlement with the state Attorney General's Office over claims of deceptive billing by the company. That deal included infrastructure improvements for schools, federal border agencies, small business owners and 15,000 residential customers.