Community funding dropped for FY '11 - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Community funding dropped for FY '11

Council approves water rate increase; gives go-ahead to senior-care facility

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Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 12:00 am

The town of Oro Valley won't give any money to charities or community groups in the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2010.

The council unanimously approved the elimination of the town's outside funding program at the Nov. 18 meeting, citing budget concerns as the reason.

"If it comes down to our personnel or community funding, I want to keep our personnel," Councilman Bill Garner said.

In the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, the town allocated more than $277,000 to groups like the Community Food Bank, El Tour de Tucson and the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance.

"It's unfortunate," said Kate Marquez, executive director of SAACA. "It's a small investment for what these groups are able to bring back to the community."

Oro Valley gave the group more than $61,000 in cash and in-kind contributions this year. Marquez said SAACA would continue to promote and hold events in Oro Valley next year.

Councilman Barry Gillaspie expressed some concerns about eliminating the program, though he ultimately voted in favor of doing so.

"The problem I have is, during tough times, to cut funding for the Community Food Bank," Gillaspie said.

One group still eligible for town support next year is Project Graduation, which puts on annual drug- and alcohol-free high school graduation parties in Amphitheater schools.

Project Graduation has generally been funded through police department seizure funds, money taken from drug arrests, and from the proceeds of auctioning confiscated goods. The police department has to follow certain rules in how that money is distributed, and the council has little discretion over the funding.

The department could include the money in its annual budget, which is subject to council approval.

Water fees to go up

The Oro Valley Town Council approved an increase to water fees last Wednesday.

New rates for water in the town are expected to cost most residential customers about $2 per month. The change also adds 20 cents to groundwater preservation fees, bringing the total to 75 cents per 1,000 gallons of water.

Council members Garner and Salette Latas voted against the increase.

"I fee strongly that if we balanced the budget with no rate increase, we need to hold to that," said Garner, referencing the fiscal 2010 budget that was passed in June.

Garner was opposed to increases in base rates, or the rate customers are charged per 1,000 gallons of water.

Development plan for retirement villas approved

Oregon-based Curry Architecture plans to build a 125-unit retirement community on 9.3 acres of Lambert Lane in front of the Highlands mobile home community.

The complex would include multiple buildings, with the main structure more than 52,000 square feet and 25 feet tall.

The council gave the project unanimous approval with the condition that the developer includes a sound wall of other sound mitigation on the Lambert Lane-facing portion of the community.

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