Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Guest View-Ally Miller:

Ally Miller took office as Pima County Supervisor for District 1 onJanuary, 2013. She is serving her first term . Oro Valley residents are in her district. Ally voted against this bond issue. Ally is  accessible and very responsive to the needs of her constituents. Contact her with your questions or concerns. Or talk with her directly this Saturday at the Oro Valley Library at 9:30am.
Pima County board of supervisors voted on April 21, 2015 to approve placing a bond for $815 million on the November 2015 ballot. It will be in the form of 7 packages from which the voters can pick and choose.

Cheerleaders from special interest groups dominated the room on April 21, advocating approval of this bond in the name of economic development, job creation and tourism.

One individual speaking on behalf of the $3.5 million velodrome project at the Kino campus asked the crowd to stand as he brilliantly encouraged them with his pledge to get the vote out. Click here to listen. While a velodrome is most likely a wonderful project, I wonder how many of you will be driving down to Kino campus to use this facility?

Spending money to make money was often presented as rationale for approving this bond. Funding special interest projects and hoping for a boom in tourism is not sound fiscal policy. How about another hand out to Banner Health for an $18 million expansion to the University of Arizona Health South campus?

Meanwhile, while Pima County wants to go into more debt to help the University of Arizona, the University of Arizona is investing in Maricopa County: $136 million in the biotech campus in downtown Phoenix and not Oro Valley.

The list is of special interest projects is long.

There were 12 speakers who spoke just as passionately against the bond as they recognize the ramifications of piling on more debt to the most indebted county in the state.  Listen to Planning and Zoning Commissioner, Brad Johns who began his remarks with this statement: “If taking on debt improves the economy, we’d be doing a lot better right now than we are doing.”

Pima County already has the noteworthy distinction of having twice the debt of the other 14 counties in Arizona combined. Pima County is in debt to the tune of $1.3 billion.

Road repairs of $160 million were added at the last minute to sweeten the pot for voters desperate for road repairs. This illustrates the brilliance of never letting a crisis go unused.

Included in the road repair package is a $10 Mil road for UA tech park and a $30 Mil road for the Sonoran Desert Corridor south of Raytheon.

Bonding for road repairs makes little sense. The lifespan of a road repair is maybe 2-3 years at best. Don’t take my word for it. Pick your favorite pothole and watch how long it takes to fall apart after it is “repaired” by a county road crew. I disagree with the board assessment of a 10 year lifespan for road repairs. The roads will again be falling apart while we are paying interest on the original repair job.

Bond Projects take decades to complete, costs are often underestimated and some projects may never be completed. The board voted just 2 weeks ago to move issuance of $80 million for 7 projects of 1997 HURF bonds to 2022. These project costs were underestimated and we must find the additional monies elsewhere to complete them. Almost 20 years later and here we sit with almost a quarter of those bonds unissued. We have yet to complete the 1997 road projects and ones that were finished are already falling apart.

1997 HURF Bond payments require $19 million per year be siphoned off HURF Distributions (Gas Tax) from the state which are monies meant for road repairs. Voters approved this payment method which ties bond payments to the HURF revenue stream. I don’t think voters understood the gravity of this decision.

Open Space, zoo exhibits, Old Tucson Studio expansion among others are all nice additions to a community that is thriving. Pima County is far from thriving.

What more? Listen to Bill Buckmaster's interview of Ally Miller.

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