The Pima County Bond Advisory Committee has wrapped up five months of intensive review of hundreds of proposed projects for a possible 2015 bond election package.
After a summer break, the committee will resume in September and start the process of deciding which projects will be recommended to the Board of Supervisors for inclusion in next year’s proposed bond election.
There are more than a dozen projects proposed in and near Marana. The Bond Advisory Committee will meet twice a month through February before submitting the proposed project list.
These meetings, as well as the Board of Supervisor’s meeting early next year where it will decide whether to have the election and which projects will be placed before voters, is your opportunity to express support for all or some of these projects.
It’s been 10 years since a big bond package like this went before voters and there is a lot of pent up demand in the region for more parks, more libraries, more recreation centers, more cultural amenities, new government facilities for public health and law enforcement and more flood control.
Pima County is unique in the state in the way it conducts its bond elections. In other counties, each individual government decides what its needs are and then each holds its own bond election.
In Pima County, the regional leaders have decided that Pima County will serve the entire region through voter-approved county bonds that benefit not only the region but also its municipalities.
All of the county’s municipalities and dozens of neighborhood organizations, nonprofits and interests groups have submitted project requests to the bond committee. All told, it’s about $1.3 billion in requests.
The county can’t afford a bond package that big for a couple of reasons. One is that state law caps the amount of debt a county can have and a bong package that big would put Pima County near or over the cap, and two, the Board of Supervisors has capped the secondary property tax rate to keep the overall county tax rate reasonable.
The rate cap means that the county can only afford to fund about $650 million in projects (the committee and the Board of Supervisors could decide on a smaller amount, too, but the $650 million is about the maximum).
Among the requests for Marana and the Marana area are an expansion of the Marana Cultural and Heritage Park, expansion in Marana of the river levee linear parks, a couple of new libraries, a performing arts center, a community center in Picture Rocks, health clinic improvements, land acquisition for affordable housing and neighborhood reinvestment funding.
The county has an informative bonds website with information about past bonds programs and their progress and about the new bond election proposals.
Go to www.pima.gov, click on the Government tab, then on the Bonds link and you’ll find information about all of the proposed projects and when and where the next bond committee meetings are.
The committee, the board and myself want your feedback so that the best possible bond package is crafted for 2015. Our region has a lot of needs. Help us figure out which ones we need to serve first.
(Editor’s Note: Chuck Huckelberry is the Pima County Administrator.)