The Main Stream

Mar 6, 2013 12:51 AM by Sean Mooney

Tucson City Council debate water rate hikes and golf

TUCSON - It was a busy session for the Tucson City Council on Tuesday. There were several items on the agenda but the one topping the list was Tucson Water's rate hike proposal.

The utility company says its all about fees. Fees are typically reviewed every two years. The last review was in July of 2011. This time 112 operational and maintenance fees were evaluated. 60 of those fees are proposed to go up.

The motion to have tucson water move forward with the process was passed. The final vote will come after public hearings. If approved it is estimated the average family's bill will increase by 45 cents.

Tucson City Council member, Regina Romero says there is a good reason the cost of water keeps going up, "Citizens of Tucson are using less water, they are conserving more, but at the same time our costs to purchase CAP water is going up."

The City Council also wants public golf to be a completely independent business. It is supposed to be an enterprise of the city, definition, an enterprise that pays for itself. Currently city courses are operating at a 12.6 million dollar deficit. The vote at this session made it a requirement for the courses to submit all financial numbers on a regular basis, something that hadn't been done in three years.

City Councilman, Paul Cunningham, say it is time for the public courses to operate on their own, "We are just designating that (city golf) to a pure enterprise fund to ensure that golf pays its own way. That's the way it should be, that's the way it was for a long time."
The City of Tucson currently operates five public golf courses. The debate on closing two of them, El Rio and Fred Enke is still going on.

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