/ Modified jul 1, 2015 10:43 a.m.

Cities: Pima County Oversteps Authority in Bond Ordinance

Council members in Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley want changes in borrowing plan before vote.

Steve Kozachik October 2013 spot

Elected officials in Tucson, Marana, and Oro Valley warned Tuesday that the proposed November bond election could give Pima County more authority over cities than voters realize.

Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik has asked the Pima County Board of Supervisors to change a section of the County Bond Ordinance giving the county authority over projects funded by county borrowing for 25 years.

The ordinance would allow Pima County to force the cities to repair or alter bond-funded municipal projects or risk footing a repair bill from the county.

Kozachik said the issue has not received enough attention.

“For the first time ... in any bond, they [Pima County] have added language that is an immense policy shift for the entire region, and it's taking place without any discussion," Kozachik said.

He also said it could be detrimental to cities’ finances.

"For 25 years, after the project is completed, the county can come to the jurisdiction and say 'we don’t think you're maintaining that project appropriately'," Kozachik said. "And we’re gonna give you 120 days to fix it or we’ll cut off the rest of your bond projects until you fix it.”

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, in an interview last month with the Arizona Daily Star, said the requirement makes cities responsible for taxpayer-funded projects.

“These are investments, and investments need to be maintained,” Huckelberry told the Star.

Marana Town Council member Dave Bowen and Oro Valley Town Council member Mike Zinkin joined Kozachik in calling for a change.

Kozachik said until the county Board of Supervisors removes the requirement, the public's focus will be on the fight between the county and the cities and not on the bond proposals.

 YourVote 2015
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