On Tuesday, in a vote of 7-6, the Pima County Transportation Advisory Committee ignored the input of community members and approved a plan put forth by County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry’s crew.
While County supervisors were allowed to appoint a handful of members to the Committee, Huckelberry maintained control over a majority of the members, so Tuesday’s vote disappointed, it did not surprise.
“While I am disappointed by the outcome of today’s vote to reject the District 4 modifications to the Pima County Property Tax for Road Repair Plan, the folks who really lost are the disenfranchised, taxpaying constituents who attended our town hall meetings, whose voices went unheard, and whose roads will go unrepaired,” stated Supervisor Steve Christy.
“This comes as no surprise. Chuck Huckelberry used this committee to advance support for a sales tax,” stated Supervisor Ally Miller.
Of all five districts, only District 1 (Ally Miller) and District 4 (Steve Christy) held town halls and solicited public feedback. Only District 1 and District 4 made any modifications to the recommendation put forth by Pima County staff.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Bob Gugino made the motion to accept the Pima County staff’s recommendation. Dan Eckstrom seconded the motion. A long discussion ensued before a substitute motion was presented by Arellano to accept that recommendation with modifications by Committee representatives, which failed by a 6-7 vote.
|Modified version||Vote||Staff recommendation||Vote|
|District 1 Reggie Drout||Y||District 2 Dan Eckstrom –||Y|
|District 1 Chris DeSimone||Y||District 2 Eric Ponce||Y|
|District 4 Lucretia Free||Y||District 3 Rick Price||Y|
|District 4 Sergio Arellano||Y||District 3 Amber Smith||Y|
|County Administrator Tom McGovern||Y||District 5 Dan Castro||Y|
|County Administrator Dr. Curtis Lueck||Y||District 5 Bob Gugino||Y|
|District 2 Dan Eckstrom||N||County Administrator John Bernal||Y|
|District 2 Eric Ponce||N||District 1 Reggie Drout||N|
|District 3 Rick Price||N||District 1 Chris DeSimone||N|
|District 3 Amber Smith||N||District 4 Lucretia Free||N|
|District 5 Dan Castro||N||District 4 Sergio Arellano||N|
|District 5 Bob Gugino||N||County Administrator Tom McGovern||N|
|County Administrator John Bernal||N||County Administrator Dr. Curtis Lueck||N|
For example, as a result of the vote, crumbling roads in Green Valley will continue to crumble, at the same time roads in private communities like Tucson Country Club will be shored up.
The plan accepted by the Committee focuses on roads in fair/good condition due to the fact that they only require chip sealing, while roads that are in poor/failing condition will be ignored.
It is believed that the unusual plan will force acceptance by Pima County residents of an additional sales tax.
Huckelberry loyalists on the Committee include: Bob Gugino, Dan Eckstrom, John Bernal, Amber Smith, Eric Ponce, John Bernal, Dan Castro, Tom McGovern, and Curtis Lueck. Committee members, Reggie Drout, Lucretia Free, Chris DeSimone, and Sergio Arellano voted in support of residents.
According to sources, McGovern and Lueck appeared to cast their votes in favor of residents once it was clear that Bernal’s vote ensured that Huckelberry’s plan would win the day.