Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
Ward 6 City Councilman Steve Kozachik is not only a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is guy, he’s also apparently very frugal.
Each City Council member receives the same amount of money to run his or her ward office, and sometimes they have money left over at the end of the fiscal year. This year Kozachik has an extra $75,000 from his own budget, and he proposed a plan to spend the $75,000 to fill potholes in Ward 6. (Yippee!)
According to an interview on the John C. Scott Show, on Thursday, Kozachik said that for the last three fiscal years the City Council has not budgeted any funds to fix potholes on Tucson’s residential streets. Furthermore, Kozachik said that whenever he goes to neighborhood meetings the subjects most discussed are potholes and graffiti. (True that. Ward 6 is littered with potholes, graffiti, and junk furniture left on the curbs by lazy landlords.)
Unfortunately for those of us who reside in Ward 6, Kozachik’s plan was squelched by the other City Council members at Tuesday’s meeting. His proposal to use his extra money to fill potholes on residential streets in his Ward 6 was removed from the consent agenda by Councilwoman Karin Ulich and put up for a vote by the full council.
By a vote of 5-2, Ward 6 lost. Only Councilman Paul Cunningham voted with Kozachik and the residents of Ward 6.
What is ironic about this vote is that both Ulich and Councilwoman Regina Romero (who voted against Kozachik) have used leftover monies from their ward offices to fund projects in their wards.
Hey, Karin and Regina, Ward 6 has a pothole problem, and our Councilman has a solution. It isn’t fair to play politics when a fellow council member is trying to serve his constituents.
There are dozens of large, dangerous potholes in my neighborhood—only one of many midtown neighborhoods in Ward 6. Bicycle-riding and dog-walking are common activities. Now that temperatures are rising, many are traveling the streets at dusk or after dark. This is a dangerous situation that could have been corrected.
I can personally attest to the pothole problem over here in Ward 3. Matter of fact, one of my neighbors recently hosted a bake sale to raise money for repairs.
Me again. Here’s a video that features the bake sale mentioned above:
There is a # of large potholes in Ward 6, and I’ve been trying to get the City of Tucson Street Maintenance to fix one on Norton Street for months now, right next to Sam Hughes Elementary School.
I have been complaining about the HUGE potholes in the bike lane along Palo Verde north of Speedway for about 2 years. The city put speed humps, lights, and turnarounds on Palo Verde (thanks to neighborhood initiatives), but they didn’t fix the potholes that were within 10 feet of the new speed humps. I complained and was told by a city staff member to take Dodge as a bike route instead. I argued that Palo Verde is a great street to ride north because it has little traffic and a walk light at Grant. It didn’t phase him. I’m waiting for someone to hit one of those 6″ deep potholes with their bike and sue the city.
Lets take 5% ofl the money that will line the lawyer’s pockets over MAS and do something government is actually supposed to do.
I think he is to busy showing up as a guest on the local shock jock radio host on 104.1 FM with the hyena laugh, talking about his political ambitions!:-) One has to wonder does 104.1 FM give the GOP free air time on the public airwaves as a propaganda wing of the GOP?
Here’s a better idea…Spend money on graffitti classes, hit public buildings, and have your hoodlum husband terrorize elections for Grijalva.
$75,000.00 what do they propose he do with the money give out more free bus passes? Can’t he take his wards money hire a private asphalt and get done that way, and would probably be done cheeper there won’t be 5 guys on the job and 2 of the guys just stannding around with a shovel in his hand watching.
Thanks. I live in Ward 6 and get the weekly newsletter which is highly informative. I like to be kept in the loop or in this case strangulation. I was furious when I read how our councilman saved money from his budget but we his constituents were not allowed to benefit from his thrift. To me, this is everything that is wrong with the Tucson City Council.
Karyn is right. What benefit do Ward 6 residents get since there would be no input on which potholes would be fixed.
From the agenda material (June 14, addendum – meaning late) which I doubt you read, as you have not done so in the past.
Upon approval by Mayor and Council,
” … the Ward 6 staff would meet with TDOT staff to identify the specific streets that are in either Poor or Failed condition and will therefore be repaired.”
With the 5-2 the rest of the council voted to put the Ward 6 money into the general fund.
Think again Pam.
Council Member Uhlich MOVED and it was duly seconded to continue Consent Agenda Item 7e to be folded into the discussion on July 6, 2011. Motion PASSED by a vote of 5 to 2 (Council Members Cunningham and Kozachik dissenting).
The money has been set aside for Ward 6 work on potholes if you paid attention. This is to have the other offices surplus funds, roughly a quarter million total for the Mayor’s and other offices, be directed to this.
In the past, there had been small sums given to groups, but this proposal was unprecedented.
Below is from “Karen’s note” Ward 3 in regards to how her and a few other members of the council felt it best to share Steve’s extra jar of cookies with the entire city even after they finished theirs all up. Nice Karen this is a sick example of the smoke and mirrors used by some city council members to take more than there fair share and call it an “efficient” use of ( another wards) money. This is stealing from the Ward six coffers that Steve and his staff agreed to lower pay and saved where ever possible to try and improve Ward 6 with the Ward 6 budgeted money. Get your hand out of our cookie jar Ward 3
From Karen’s Note 6/17/2011
“Also at our last meeting, Mayor and Council agreed to work with the Transportation Department and Manager’s office to devote resources for better street/pothole repair. This priority, as well as summer pool hours to better serve children/youth, clearly remains a concern for our community. I am pleased that our office’s collaboration with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and San Ignacio Council has leveraged resources sufficient to open two additional City pools during the summer, according to Parks and Recreation Director Fred Gray. Those pools will be selected to provide the best and closest access to pools for residents across the City (when combined with the ten already slated for summer service). We’re now working on a similar approach to street repairs so that all identified resources will be managed in a Citywide program to make sure we’re fair and efficient for all City residents. Unfortunately potholes know no boundaries and all corners of the City need better street/pothole service. On Tuesday the Mayor and Council affirmed our commitment to work together in the best interest of all Tucsonans. A final plan will be discussed on July 6.”
Thanks for posting this. I will post Steve’s version. It doesn’t mesh with Bystander’s version.
Hand isn’t in the cookie jar, Ward 6’s money is set. The other offices, despite what you “write” have funds too and want to do this.
Prior to this it had been donations to events, organizations (non-profits) to the tune of hundreds to a thousand dollars.
When the Mayor or Council has a surplus left in their respective year’s budget, it gets put back into the general fund. What Ward 6 did was something that the other offices, would like to do with their surpluses.
Steve’s Version From his Ward 6 Newsletter
“Each year, all 6 Ward Offices are allocated an equal amount of money from the
General Fund for operations. That includes everything from salaries to stationary
and from copies to cars (for those council members who are still driving City owned
vehicles). Our adopted budgets for FY’11 were $359,160 per Ward. For the past
year, I and my staff have worked hard to manage the Ward Office Budget allocation
responsibly. We are estimated to end the fiscal year nearly $85,000 under budget. As
a rule, any funds remaining at the end of a fiscal year are swept into the General
Fund to pay for deficit mitigation. This year, having been unable to convince M&C
to allocate any extra funds for road repair, I requested that $75,000 of our remaining
budget capacity be reallocated to the Department of Transportation, earmarked for
road repair in Ward 6. At every single neighborhood association meeting and in
nearly every informal conversation I engage in with constituents, the condition of
our roads is a topic on peoples’ minds.The practice of reallocating funds from a Ward Office budget to special projects is not unique. It is my belief that if a Councilmember and his staff are frugal and can afford to adequately run their office under budget, it is perfectly appropriate to use savings for the betterment of the Ward. It’s Ward Office budgetary capacity and it
has been done before by current members of this Council. So, I was surprised Tuesday
night when Councilmember Uhlich pulled my agenda item from the consent
agenda, challenged it, and put to a vote. I was even more surprised that on a 5-2
vote, the rest of the Council and the Mayor (Councilmember Cunningham supported
my effort) decided that they would hold that $75,000, consider pooling it with
whatever the other Ward Offices have been able to save and consider uses other than
what I had intended. The short message is that my desire to spend $75,000 fixing
roads in Ward 6 was not allowed to go forward by the majority on the Council. City
Staff is to return on July 6th with a report and recommendations as to how the
pooled money should be spent. Their stated goal is to try to fund one square mile of road repair per Ward. I would rather use the $75K for targeted Ward 6 road
rehabilitation and charge the City Manager and his staff to come up with other sources
of funding for the City wide work. If other Ward Offices have money left at the end of
this fiscal year, I would support their using it to reach needs unique to their Wards.
Regardless of what the majority decides on July 6th, I’ll continue to extend that
consideration to them and congratulate each one who has not blown their budget. I will
also continue to advocate for Ward Budget money to be used for Ward specific needs.
Otherwise, let’s just establish a pooled M&C budget at the start of the fiscal year and all
pull from the same pot. That’s not how the budget process is designed and for the rest of
the Council to reshape it into that form Tuesday night was disrespectful of the needs and
interests of the Ward 6 residents.”
So the Tucson Progressive admits to not paying attention to the Mayor and Council meeting!
What a surprise!
So the Mayor and Council should take you seriously when you write or talk about your boyfriend’s effort on the sign code?
Actually, I didn’t admit that. See Jay’s post of Steve’s note to Ward 6. The Ward 6 neighbors are hopping mad. I got a very long e-mail blast from the neighborhood president about this today.
Lets put more money toward public “art” classes, and hit a couple more public buildings.
May I be so bold to suggest that the condition of our streets will become a major issue in this year’s city council and mayoral elections? And may I go even further out on a limb and say that graffiti — and ineffective responses like the spray paint art classes that were held in Downtown’s El Presidio Neighborhood — will also be a hot election topic?
Nobody (Karen Ulich) stopped Regina from spending an extra $8500 on “Winta Fresh,” How to become a better graffiti artist…
Because a $8500 cookie is equal to a stale weight watchers cookie verse Steve’s 75,000 homemade just out of the oven cookie. It’s just to much to pass up for Karen.
So she saved 49,000 good for her plus an additional 80,000 in back to basics grant money. Good job now I guess you want a cookie for it. She’s just a playground bully trying to get more lunch money.
Yes, I saw those figures in the Star. I was surprised the Back to Basics money was not spent!