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Oro Valley water rates, South Tucson's mystery budget about only games in town

Tucson agenda

Oro Valley water rates, South Tucson's mystery budget about only games in town

OV residents face 5% water rate hike, while South Tucson's isn't sharing its tentative budget

  • Oro Valley is proposing a 5 percent water rate hike to maintain its system and provide for expected growth.
    Steve Johnson/Flickr Oro Valley is proposing a 5 percent water rate hike to maintain its system and provide for expected growth.

The Oro Valley Town Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a water rate hike, which would cost the typical homeowner between $1.42 and $2.37 per month.

The smaller rate hike is for a 3/4-inch line and the larger one is for a one-inch water line. A quick and dangerous Googling of the InterWebz says that those are the two sizes typically feeding a standard single-family detached home.

For an 8-inch water line — talking a major water user — would increase by $75.93 per month. The council voted on a "notice of intent" to raise the rates back in February. 

Now I'm not not going to accuse anyone of anything but I will point out that in the past other councils have held meetings with unpopular items during a holiday week. Holding a hearing when people were out of town enjoying their holiday may have (coincidentally, of course) dampened the outrage.

I'm not saying that happened here. What's the term we use now? Oh! I have no evidence of that.

If the town had decided to tactically dodge opposition, this ain't a bad way to do it.

The new rates work out to about a 5 percent across-the-board rate hike. It would make more sense (this is the opinion section) to charge more prolific users higher rates to encourage conservation.

I'm more of the go after-the-bigger-user school. That thought doesn't really animate Oro Valley, so that's the route the council is looking to take.

The town's increase is more in line with  the theory that asking more of bigger players punishes success and is bad for business.

However, the council will also look at ways to get reclaimed water to irrigation systems now using potable water. That makes a lot more sense. I'm a little surprised this wasn't done sooner but sometimes it's more important to light candles and illuminate the good rather just bark at the dark.

Also the council will discuss the feasibility and schedule for adding a new police station in the town limits. Really? More cops in Oro Valley?

The dog ate my $6 million budget

The South Tucson City Council will vote on the town's tentative 2022-23 Fiscal Year budget. Tentative budgets are like final drafts necessary to hold public hearings before approving a final budget.

So what's the town's position look like? Seems pretty good but seems is needed here because to the agenda is without an actual budget for people to look at.

In fact, just to figure out the town is in decent shape, I had to search the minutes of previous council meetings to find a rundown of the budget projections.

It looks like the town will have a 33 percent fund balance, which amounts to $2 million. Basic math tells me the town's overall budget is $6 million.

Someone looking for South Tucson's budget shouldn't have to do math or search through previous minutes. It should be right there, up front and for all to see.

Now, the city is going to hold hearings on the budget so one would imagine the numbers will be available then. Still, the other kids are posting their budgets and there's no reason South Tucson can't.

They are running a light operation with Veronica Moreno pulling double duty as clerk and interim manager.  Still...

I guarantee you, the staff time and town resources to post the budget would cost less than $2 million.


Down in Nogales, the City Council is voting to make a few appointments to advisory panels.

The council will vote on whether to add Jesus Gomez and Bobby Astengo to the five-member Planning and Zoning Commission, which makes recommendations about proposed developments.

It will also vote to reappoint six members now serving on what is supposed to be a seven-member appeals commission, overseeing city disciplinary action against employees.

There's also a state parks grant that has been approved for the city, but remains hung up in federal red tape. The state has given the town permission to begin spending money.

The $810,000 grant would be used to pay for improvements to Teyechea Park, across from City Hall.

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