The Main Stream

Jun 18, 2012 9:36 PM

Bond issue to fix roads already stirring controversy

TUCSON - Potholes continue to be one of the most talked about problems in Tucson but now the city has a plan to fix them.

The city is looking at a bond issue, likely for $100 million, but it would mean an increase in your property taxes.

The bond idea came up after the City Manager's office did some polling around town and found close to 70 percent of people either supported it, or would consider it.

Tucson resident Lauren Mckeen knows the roads are bad. She said, "They're awful. Absolutely awful."

Midtown resident Ray Rai said they're not just annoying but they've cost him money. He said, "I'm refurbishing this house now and I was moving some antique furniture and I broke a glass table top on this pothole behind me."

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said he hears complaints about potholes more than anything else. He said the problem is so bad something major has to be done to even come close to calling the roads fixed.

Rothschild said, "We don't have that kind of money to move over from other places. We've done as good a job as we can. Of course you'll always have people who say do a little more here and there but this is something the community will have to decide if it wants to invest in on a long term basis."

But it will likely cost you.

If you own property, you would have to pay about $18 more a year; something many people said is well worth it.

Rai said, "I'm for it. If it can fix the roads and make things safer for cyclists and truckloads full of heavy stuff then I'm a happy man." Mckeen added, "I think it's a really good idea. I think it's needed."

But opponents like Shaun McClusky say residents shouldn't have to pay more taxes, no matter what it's for. McClusky said, "They cannot say give me more money, give me more money every time. What are you doing with what you have? Your priorities are mismanaged."

McClusky said because of that mismanagement and the fact that property owners are being singled out to foot this bill he's already planning to fight it.

He said, "When they tried to do the half cent tax for 50 million they were beat two out of three. They will get beat again."

With the county election rules the city does have to get this on the ballot soon, so Tuesday's public hearing will be the last chance to get your voice heard.

If the response is negative, it might not ever make it to the ballot but if it's positive the council will likely decide on the amount and the language in the initiative at next week's meeting. The mayor said the language will be key. He said he will make sure all the money goes to roads and that it has proper oversight.

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