Dear Mayor and Councilmembers,
The Tucson Hispanic Chamber Business Advocacy committee has spent time discussing our opinion on the priorities for the City’s budget. We’ve followed your discussions in the media and in your Ward newsletters.
Our businesses have been severely impacted during the recent economic recession and we are slowly recovering. Often times, business owners express bewilderment that our government officials at all levels do not value our contribution in taxes to the budgets of our Cities and County. We are fearful now that tough political choices will not be made. We are fearful that our elected leaders will continue making decisions in a business as usual manner and that our City and residents will suffer for it.
Too many special interest groups are impacting our priorities. The THCC asks the Mayor and Council to reprioritize their budget decisions for this and future budget cycles.
First, our City Budget’s priorities should be on public safety (police, fire, courts) and Road Maintenance.
Secondly, there should be an emphasis on outsourcing functions and departments that can be more efficiently and most cost effectively managed by private industry. We’ve seen a great example in the recent Golf Contract and hope to hear positive feedback from the Tucson Convention Center management contract.
Please consider the following:
Outsourcing the Transportation Department (road maintenance, asphalt, graffiti abatement, etc)Outsourcing all of the Building maintenanceOutsourcing Janitorial (Police and Council offices)Outsourcing Kidco while maintaining subsidized rates for our residentsOutsourcing the operation of all Recreation CentersOutsourcing Park MaintenanceMoving Sun Tran operations to the Pima Association of Governments. Our bus system needs to be a regional approach. This would also eliminate politically motivated decisions.Sell off unutilized assets of the City to pay off City debt (rather than to purchase one-time items)
Outsourcing rather than a budget cut across departments is a hard decision but also means the service can be maintained (assuming cost efficiency) rather than simply doing the same but poorly.
Outsourcing and privatization can stimulate the Tucson economy. Local employers who win the contracts may be able to hire many of the existing City employees. It would allow local businesses to bid while saving our City money.
There are many “wants” in our community but Tucson must face financial reality and must focus on “needs”. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber supports an innovative approach to our budget. We can’t afford a Budget that is “Business as usual”.
Lea Marquez Peterson, MBA, IOM
Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce