NPCCC president responds to letter regarding utility tax

Letter-writer Geri Ottoboni, calling the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce “blind to the negative affect (sic)” of a 2-percent utilities tax increase in Oro Valley (“Where does the NPCCC stand on the utility tax increase?,” May 11, 2011), has asked where the chamber weighs in on the hike.

The chamber did not weigh in, for a variety of reasons. Among them – we heard not one peep from our membership about it. Maybe they didn’t know about it. Maybe they spoke with council members directly about it. Maybe they felt it was a done deal. And, maybe, they did not perceive a 2-percent utilities tax increase to be onerous. Silence may imply consent.

The chamber has asked for more information about relative shares of the higher utilities tax among residential, commercial and institutional users. How much of the increase will be paid by Oro Valley homeowners and residents? Businesses and industry? Churches and schools? While the utilities tax ship has sailed for now, it’ll come back, and it’s important for everyone to understand who pays what when taxes are raised.

Everyone’s strapped, in business, at home, and in government. We get that. Privately, our membership expressed concern with consideration of a higher sales tax in Oro Valley. The chamber is pleased that the town council, on May 11, opted not to consider a .25 of 1 percent sales tax increase at this time.

Chamber members love the fact Oro Valley does not have a property tax for town services. Don’t we all? We also know the community must have difficult conversations about future spending and taxation, and the chamber plans to be a part of the discussion.

Above all, chamber members believe Oro Valley is a great place to live and to do busi ness. Business people recognize town government requires revenue to maintain a high level of services and infrastructure. The business community is willing to do its part, for now by paying 2 percent more for electricity, natural gas and water.

Thanks for the opportunity to respond.


Dave Perry

President and CEO, Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce

Hates to lose Coyote Run; will speak on June 1

The best transportation service in Southern Arizona for the elderly and disabled (may) soon be gone. Many people in Oro Valley rely on the Coyote Run transit service to get them to appointments, shopping or for a fun day out.

The decision to (consider the elimination of) the service has to do with the economy. We are all pinching pennies, aren’t we?

The care and consideration of the drivers (in this case, they’re caregivers) goes beyond what any other service provides. Don’t know where the “angel” drivers came from, but someone did an incredible job locating them to serve in this capacity.

Are you frustrated, angry or just plain upset with the town council’s decision? Show your concern at the town council meeting on June 1 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive. Maybe it’s too late to affect change, but it’s not too late for the council to see those who are affected. Even if you don’t speak, your presence will speak volumes.

Cindy Lewis, Northwest Tucson

Editor’s note: The Oro Valley Town Council will hear comments from the public at its June 1 meeting. Residents are invited to attend.

Where is stimulus money for Coyote Run?

The road work on La Cañada Drive is being funded by the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Arizona Department of Transportation. Hmmm, stimulus money to repair a road that didn’t need repairing but may have given a few folks some work for a short while.

What about those devoted guys and gals at Coyote Run who (could be) permanently losing their jobs for lack of funds, not to mention their customers, who (could be) losing a vital service? Where’s the stimulus money for that? Your government at work.

Susan Malachowski, Oro Valley

Consider this before cutting Coyote Run

Before the Oro Valley Town Council cuts Coyote Run, I would ask if you have considered the following options:

1) The police are a valuable asset and have a strong voice, however, even in the best of times a 4.6-percent department increase is substantial. These are definitely not the best of times so less should be considered.

2) Every Town employee gets their birthday off paid. Cutting Coyote Run should not be considered until this frivolous expense is eliminated.

3) The Town’s contribution toward employees’ health benefits should not be increased. If anything, consider contributing less. People have stated that those who use Coyote Run have other options, but for many that is not true, unless you count staying home.

For some, the cost and inconvenience of other options is prohibitive and in some cases impossible. For others, structure and routine are of utmost importance for their well-being. The details seem to have been overlooked. Has anyone explored exactly how many of these riders’ needs will actually be met if Coyote Run is gone? Coyote Run averages over 400 trips/week. Are the “other” options really capable of absorbing this? Cutting Coyote Run seems impulsive and not well-planned, considering two new para-transit vans were acquired last year and five new employees were hired this year. Apparently, it’s just easier to cut services and turn away from those who have such a small voice in this “Community of Excellence.”

Jana Davis, Northwest Tucson

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