Posts Tagged ‘Tucson City Council’

25th April
2011
written by clothcutter

Translation:  If you don’t approve to tax yourself more to support an inept (and possibly corrupt) municipality, kiss off!

City may cut, end furlough days for some
Rob O’Dell Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
Posted: Monday, April 25, 2011 12:00 am
 
To appease unions upset at the city’s ongoing budget cuts, the City Council on Tuesday will consider ending furloughs for some employees and halving the furloughs for most employees if the economy improves.

The city has had unpaid furloughs for two years, and will continue them for the fiscal year that begins July 1. For next year, employees again were facing nine furlough days, which constitutes 3.5 percent of their salaries.

Union officials, including those in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, have urged for months to end furloughs for those employees in enterprise departments such as Tucson Water and Environmental Services. Union officials also want to end furloughs for any city employee who is funded with grant money from the state or the federal government.

Top city officials had been hesitant to agree, in part because eliminating furlough for some departments and not others can raise issues of equitable treatment. The issue is particularly problematic with grant funding because employees in the same departments could be paid through different funding sources.

But the council will consider a new plan that guarantees employees paid by the general fund and Tucson Water workers will have only five furlough days. They would need to be taken between July and December. The remaining four furlough days could be waived if the economy improves and the city’s budget is in better condition at midyear.

Employees in Environmental Services and those who are funded by grants could see their furloughs end by July and have no furloughs next year, said City Finance Director Kelly Gottschalk. The city will still have to work on the employee-equity issue for grant-funded employees, she added.

For example, more than 50 police officer positions are grant-funded, but the city doesn’t want to force officers not funded by the grant to take furloughs, while treating those funded by the grant differently, Gottschalk said.

“We’ll look at grant-funded employees grant by grant,” Gottschalk said.

The unions originally had sought an increase in the furloughs in early 2010 as a way to stave off massive city layoffs at the height of the city’s budget crisis.

Michael Coiro, the executive director of AFSCME Local 449, said he’s happy about ending the furloughs in Environmental Services and grant-funded positions, as well as the possibility employees paid out of the city general fund could have their furloughs nearly halved.

But he said he won’t accept that the furloughs for Tucson Water remain. He said city leaders have been hesitant to reduce those employees’ furloughs because they don’t want water users to pay more.

Coiro said city residents turned down a request to raise the city sales tax to pay for services, so he isn’t concerned about that.

“The users denied the tax,” Coiro said. “My heart is not bleeding for the citizens.  My heart is bleeding for the employees.”

5th November
2010
written by clothcutter

The Inside Tucson Business has been running a great series of stories picked from  the last 20 years of the Tucson area’s business stories.  The sad thing is the lack of true change.  Development Services, headed by longtime bureaucrat, Ernie Duarte, is still a roadblock to many a small business owner in Tucson.  Go to talk to CeeDee’s Jamaican Kitchen(just opened a few months ago)  on Speedway and Swan about the hell they dragged him through.  It took him about 18-20 months to open a restaurant that was previously a restaurant!

 You take this department’s pathetic track record and combine with things like extortion payouts to Skrappy’s and $5,000 Temporary Revocable Easement application fees for signs and you really did earn the Arizona Small Business Survey’s(2008, link) ranking as Arizona’s unfriendliest municipality to operate a business in.

From insidetucsonbusiness.com:

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City working to streamline development review process. In response to the development community, the city of Tucson is revamping its Development Services Department.

June 28, 1999

“This move brings the city’s review process to the next level,” said City Manager Luis Guitierrez. “It’ll bring substantial efficiency, customer service and predictability to plan reviews.”

The Development Review Center was first conceived in the mid-1980s as a way to bring together all reviewers from the various departments involved, (such as solid waste, water, fire, planning and engineering) into a single facility. Before that, anyone applying for a building permit would have to go from building to building and to the various departments to have a plan reviewed.

Now: The City’s development services department has long been scrutinized by the business community. This move was helpful to speed things along, but it remains an issue with the development community.”

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Memo to City Council:  Fix the basics out there to help the small biz owner and then stay out the way.  Screwing the true base of your economy(they employ most of the citizens)  while thowing money to the glory-hogging wimps over at TREO is helping to steer your city into the toilet. 

I know having martinis with Snell, Welsh and now Guymon is a little more glamorous, but roll up your sleeves and actually make it happen for small business.  You’ll be glad you did.

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