Archive for March 26th, 2009

26th March
2009
written by Arizona Kid

Authors on this blog have called from Mike Hein’s head. After 3 years on the job the drum beats are sounding.  With one open seat and two freshman incumbents up for re-election it’s going to be an interesting 9 months. During an election year the word ‘scapegoat’ comes to mind. 

Being the City Manager with this, Overwhelming underdogs of a council must make you want to hide under the covers each morning.

The City Manager definitely has a role in each and every one of the decisions that have lead us to the complete mess we are in today. He’s culpable and part of the problem for sure. Hein is the one making $240k+ while the 7 people that collectively tell him what to do make $180k combined! He’s playing a high stakes game but the game board, rules and even the numbers on the dice change from day to day. 

Finanical Down Turn

The city is falling on hard times financially and the pressure is on.  A manager needs to make quick adjustments to get us through the mess. As long as those adjustments don’t affect artists, free rent arrangements to non profits, funding for working poor, Job Path, graffiti classes, Kidco, Department of a(Organize The )Neighborhoods Resources, public access TV,  bus fares, or cuts to any of the 5000 plus employees that are protected by a strong union he’s got full latitude to do what’s right for the community.

What can he cut? Police, road maintenance, garbage services and emergency response staff and equipment.  You know, all the fluffy stuff a city wastes their budget on. 

So if you can’t cut expense you gotta raise money. You raise money in a crazy thing called taxes.  Here’s some of the BUSINESS specific ‘revenue enhancements’ implemented and or being concidered;
Ad Tax
Rental Tax
Impact Fee (ok by not repealing it its still at tax)
Tax to keep your development plan relevant for multiple years
Utility Tax
Water meter hook up tax
Sign Permit Tax
Building Permit Tax
Business Licence Tax
Secondary Property Tax
Increased Landfill Prices
Increased Commercial Waste Fees
Increased Roll Off Fees

The ‘revenue enhancements’ affecting the RESIDENTS of our city;
Increased Utility Tax
Water Fees Increase up to 10% (on top of 8% last year)
Proposed garbage fee increase

Read our previous post HERE

So if you’re the city manger under this council you are officially between a rock and a hard place.  Hein is dealing with so many council sacred cows and pet projects it’s tough to know where to turn.  Hein can’t cut or raise revenues to certain populations. Hein is forced to focus increases on the one special interest not represented on this current council, the business community. 

How does government pay for all the staff, programs, arts groups, low income housing? Oh yeah collecting sales tax from businesses that are brave enough to open in the city of Tucson. Get the picture?

There Are Short Comings….

I agree on management of Rio Nuevo. It’s been botched before Hein came aboard and until the legislature demands new people overseeing the entire project it will be messed up long after he leaves.  Shelko and Barr, aren’t cutting it. Installing Hecker, Lyons and allowing Trasoff’s chief of staff’s wife into management/ oversight positions is highly questionable. Emails from personal accounts to cover tracks…..not good.

MTCVB and TREO need to pull their weight and function in the light of day. Development Services needs a complete cultural shift. 

Hein pissed off council staff and learned how much power they actually had.  Remember THIS near axing from last year?

Where is his plan? All I’m seeing is reaction to the follies that go on around him. How about a 5 year plan? A vison on where we are going?

What’s the deal with the botched search for a new police chief? Do we blame that on Hein?

Why Is Hein Worth Keeping?

What I like about Hein is his early shake up of the Tucson city bureaucracy.  In a climate where you can’t fire  people all you can do is shift them around. By moving around department heads and entrenched fiefdoms Hein took control of the staff. It sets him up to either put the right people in place  and let them do their job or micromanage every aspect of every department he’s responsible for.

He thinks outside the box and isn’t afraid to take a different approach to a problem. 

If he does go what can we expect from the next victim.  Hopefully a potential candidate for the job reads the papers and our blog to get a sense of what they are in for. Tucson could be a career killer.
 

26th March
2009
written by Downtown Dudette

Jim Nintzel from the Tucson Weekly finally took a jab at the Democratic City Council for their handling of Rio Nuevo.  Fast forward to 2.19 minutes for the for history in the making.

Nintzel Changes Tune On Arizona Illustrated

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