Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
An overflow crowd attended yesterday’s Tucson City Council meeting to offer opinions and hear decisions on 3 major issues: a half-cent increase in the cap on city sales tax, a major revision to the Land Use Code, and proposed changes to the City Charter.
With split decisions, both the increase in the sales tax cap and the charter changes will be on the November 2010 ballot.
On the sales tax vote, Councilmen Steve Kozachik and Paul Cunningham were the dissenters. If voters approve raising the cap on city sales tax in November, this does not actually raise the sales tax; it allows for it to be increased in the future.
On the charter changes, Council members Regina Romero, Richard Fimbres, and Karin Ulich followed the will of the people they represent and voted “no.” At public hearings in Wards 1, 3, and 5, there was strong opposition from neighborhoods and city residents against the City Charter changes proposed by business leaders represented by the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.
Only the changes in the Land Use Code received unanimous support from the Council. Several members said they were supporting these changes because it will help rid our city of blighted buildings by speeding development.
Mayor Bob Walkup remarked that the vote on the Land Use Code should answer detractors that call the city government unfriendly to business.