Pima County

When the community was asked to identify priorities to take to voters in a potential November 2014 Pima County bond election, the result was approximately $1.3 billion worth of projects.

A future bond election will have capacity for about half that.

With its work cut out to bring those numbers into agreement, the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee Friday settled on a process to begin reviewing and prioritizing projects in the coming months.

When the Committee returns in September following a summer break, it will begin its work in earnest, tackling proposed projects in meetings devoted to specific categories, such as public safety or parks.

The Committee aims by late spring 2014 to winnow down the list into a recommended package to go to the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

The Committee agreed to ask jurisdictions that submitted multiple projects to prioritize their requests. And because bond funds can only be used for capital needs, such as construction of new facilities or acquiring land, the committee will press for answers on how jurisdictions will pay for ongoing maintenance and operation once the projects are built.

Among the criteria that will be used to evaluate projects:

• Broad public support

• Regional benefit

• Partnerships and other funding sources or matches

• Workforce development

• Regulatory mandates

• Advances Board-adopted principles of sustainability and conservation

The resulting final package in its entirety will be evaluated for regional balance as well as whether it advances the shared values identified in the Imagine Greater Tucson process, including broad-based prosperity, educational excellence, quality neighborhoods, healthy communities, environmental integrity and regional identity.

The Committee also settled on a process to solicit public input on the proposed projects through web-based surveys.

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry acknowledged that Committee members may feel they’re beginning anew, given the Committee had already vetted projects and settled on a “tentatively approved” list of projects totaling $650 million, before the new round of projects came in this year.

“This is an evolutionary process. It needs to be organic and change with time and change with the dynamic needs of the community,” he said. “Hopefully that is a little comfort in terms of the task that lies before you now.”

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