Huckelberry Lost, Rare Victory For Pima County Residents

huckelberry
Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry (left) and Assistant County Attorney Andy Flagg (right).

Pima County taxpayers—specifically those who have been paying attention and voting in county elections with some level of awareness—won a victory this past week, for the first time in years. After fiery debate and inordinate levels of tension, three of the four other Supervisors voted to support District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller’s plan to evaluate a county budget that will leave tax rates untouched.

The electorate has, in recent years, repeatedly and handily defeated spending and taxation increases in Pima County. Each time, the Huckelberry waste machine has dishonestly spun the loss as a pyrrhic victory for the voters and as an affront to the poor in the country’s fifth most-impoverished metropolitan area; until now, the propaganda machine could demonize people other than county leaders for failing to raise taxes.

Not this time.

Breaking from tradition, all of the Board except District 5’s intractable Richard Elías voted in favor of considering simple, reasonable cost savings that in no way detract from the services Pima County offers today.

And, with that, Chuck Huckelberry can only point his feeble finger at the supervisors, the very people at whose pleasure he serves, being an unelected, appointed bureaucrat.

For once, the second highest-paid county administrator in America, the stalwart proponent of the I-11 blight on the Sonoran Desert, the insatiable tax-grabber Huckelberry has come up against those who have for decades kept him fattened at the trough of tax money. And that, indeed, is a rare victory for all citizens of the county.

 

To put the budget into perspective, Supervisor Miller has asked the sprawling list of county departments to trim a collective $10.6 million dollars from the budget. At a total of over $1.3 billion for the entire budget in fiscal year 2018/2019, that $10.6 million amounts to an infinitesimal 0.79%—just more than three-quarters of one percent—of the current year’s budget. And the county can reach that goal in part by leaving unfilled positions as such for just a couple of months this summer.

That would be the same summer during which part-time residents leave Pima County and have no need for this county’s services. In a recent study from the College of Business at Northern Arizona University, those winter visitors increase gross sales in the county by a factor of ten percent; the county can wait to fill vacancies until later in the year, and those of us staying through the hottest months will never notice.

Of course, perpetual Miller-detractor and now lone-wolf Elías quickly took to the media with a tirade of fear-mongering over that perennial canard, public safety. Of course, his argument is provably false.

Supervisor Miller’s thoughtful plan hands victory also to the Sheriff’s Department, offering as much as a 5% salary increase to those enduring public servants. That raise compounds the similar payrate increases and retention incentives the county offered deputies and corrections officers this year, fiscal 2018/2019. And, contrary to what the Huckelberry-Elías disinformation machine would have you believe, the Miller plan indeed never suggested the proposed hiring freeze apply to public safety personnel.

Unless some crime wave suddenly whips up, and with a significant portion of Pima County’s winter population elsewhere for the summer, the winning Miller plan will improve funding to the Sheriff’s Department, without it asking for a single new dime from the taxpayer.

Huckelberry has nowhere to run after this vote: The counter-argument his cronies are spinning is laughably invalid. The plurality of the Board of Supervisors, the taxpaying electorate, and even the tax man himself (County Assessor Bill Staples) support a fiscally-responsible budget for 2019/2020. There is no blame he can place, no scapegoat he can damn: Chuck just lost.

And, thanks to Supervisor Miller, we all just won.

 

17 Comments

  1. Now that the city is beginning to work on the office spaces being built where Golden Pins bowling alley is currently housed on Miracle Mile can someone in the city please tell me why the space that the city bought (old K-Mart property) called Center for City Emergency Vehicles on Miracle Mile and Flowing Wells is sitting completely empty and dark at night? Why is this space not being used for office space? It is right down the street from Golden Pins Lanes. It could have been used for city office spaces. Where are the emergency vehicles and the people who were to occupy this facility. Tax payer dollars were used to buy this property that now sits vacant.

    • How can he be the 2nd highest paid county administrator in the US ?
      Especially when Pima County is one of the poorest. Homeless,vast majority on welfare. Low paying jobs.
      He constantly screws over the county workers and hands out all kinds of money to his friends.
      He is a big ass crook.

      • Note that the only County Administrator
        being paid more is the one in Fairfax
        County Virginia (D.C. suburb); which is
        one of the richest Counties in the nation.

  2. Forgive me for being skeptical but
    hopeful that this is not just a ploy
    by two Democrats to pander to voters.

    Let’s see if they actually follow through
    on Ally’s proposal.

    • Yep, see my first comment…wouldn’t surprise me a bit. NO TRUST, except Ally, for this Board!!

  3. Huckleberry is a power monger who appears to believe he can spend money freely in order to build build build. New initiatives, programs, facilities have been pursued without abandon. Thank you Ally Miller for making the determination that this overuse of spending must stop. Thankful that other county officials followed suit. As a taxpayer, I am thrilled!

  4. Now, if only Ally Miller and Steve Christy can get the other members of the board to support the Rosemmont Copper project.

  5. Fantastic. Good article. I thank the author for shining a light on the waste and mismanagement of funds. Sickening how our citizens are struggling while these guys are pulling in these enormous salaries and demanding that they squeeze more out of us. Down with Huckleberry and down with Elias next.

  6. A big thank you! to the budget-minded supervisors who supported Ally Miller’s plan. A good start!
    I live in Maricopa Co and the soaring budget – the over-spending – has me greatly concerned.
    Any time elected officials do the right thing regarding spending – meaning less! – I’m grateful.

  7. It could be that Bronson voted with Ally only because she will have competition come next election cycle but we’ll take it. Maybe it’s Elias who is the one we really need to focus on getting rid of. That two-faced idiot speaks out of both sides of his mouth. First he appoints the Law Enforcement hating Isabel Garcia to that Commission, then he argues that Public Safety will suffer if we don’t raise taxes.

    Way to go people and way to go Ally!

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