Like President Obama, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has shown that he will aggressively use his pen and phone to push his agenda. In his July feature, “Understanding transportation spending in Pima County”, Huckelberry penned an article telling us that yet again, he has no real solutions for our atrocious roads and no intention of using general fund money for our desperately needed road repairs. He has used his phone to contact our State legislators to request they raise our gas taxes. He has even sent letters to residents who have complained about the status of their roads, telling them to reprioritize their own spending because they spend too much on their cell phones and too little in gas taxes.
The finger pointing and lack of reasonable solutions have gone beyond tedious. As I have stated before, general fund monies are routinely spent to fund interests such as $15 million for U of A Graduate Medical Education and most recently $1.8 million on a down payment for a future soccer complex near Kino. There is a long list of special interest spending and when I asked my fellow Supervisors to join me and work to prioritize our budget, they sadly looked the other way and followed the direction of the County Administrator to raise our primary property tax rate almost 17 percent.
With some of my fellow Supervisors tenure in office almost 20 years, they have shown their personal priorities on how to spend our tax dollars. As a result, I decided to work with our State legislators to get work done for us, right here in Pima County. I was the only Supervisor to vote against the County’s support of a State gas tax increase and lobbied State legislators to not increase our gas taxes. I also worked with the Arizona Senate to amend the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) bill, SB 1487, which will now force the county to use HURF funds only for the direct costs of road repair, reconstruction or maintenance, effective Jan. 1, 2015. Some have called this the “Ally Miller Amendment”.
It is time for my fellow Board members to realize the road problem is a symptom of failed leadership in Pima County. It is the responsibility of the board to solve this problem by eliminating special interest spending and fund our core services. It is time, to fix the roads.
(Editor’s Note: Supervisor Ally Miller, elected in November of 2012, is currently serving her first term as a member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors representing District 1. For more information, visit www.allymillerdistrict1.com.)