The Oro Valley Town Council set a $116.2-million ceiling for the tentative fiscal 2011 budget last week.

The council unanimously accepted the recommendation from town finance officials at the Wednesday, June 2 meeting.

Included in the $116.2 million total are $41.9 million in capital project spending and a $36 million general fund used to support day-to-day government services.

Town Finance Director Stacey Lemos told the council that in setting the spending cap the total budget, when passed, could not go above the $116.2 million spending threshold.

Town resident Bill Adler addressed the council on the item, choosing to speak on the issue of public transportation. The current budget proposal includes a nearly 50 percent reduction in spending on the town's needs-based transit service Coyote Run. State budget cuts led to reduction.

Adler told the council it should find a way to fund the service at the same levels as previous years.

"I think it's not only desirable, it's an obligation to do that," Adler said.

Adler said the community has an obligation to provide service like Coyote Run, which is used by the town's transit-dependent seniors and people with disabilities.

He suggested the town could increase the utility sales tax to make up the loss of state funding.

"To not do it, I think, is unconscionable," Adler said.

The council had been scheduled to vote on an authorization of service cuts to Coyote Run at the June 2 meeting, but postponed to June 16.

Councilwoman Mary Snider told The Explorer in a later interview she wants additional information from town transportation officials before making a choice.

"From my perspective, I want to hear a full presentation from Aimee Ramsey (Oro Valley transit director) and the transit people," Snider said.

Snider said she wouldn't be opposed to the town seeking new revenue sources to fund Coyote Run at the previous level.

"I think Coyote Run is a very valuable service and sets us apart from other communities," Snider said.

In other matters, the council approved a memorandum of understanding with Oro Valley Police Department employees. The agreement doesn't include any pay increases, cost of living adjustments or step-pay increases for police officers.

The agreement, approved on the consent agenda without comment, includes one caveat. Police representatives requested that the town council consider funding possible cost of living and step increases after the mid-year budget review.

The estimated cost to providing a 2.5 percent cost of living increase for police employees would be about $200,000. To give the same increase to all town employees would cost an estimated $460,000, according to town documents.

Any pay adjustments would be subject to town council approval.



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