So said Rebecca Ruopp, a City of Tucson employee in the Dept. of Housing and Community Development, in starting off the first Community Key Services Dialogue tonight at the Northwest Neighborhood Center. 7 more meetings in the 6 city wards will be held in October to get feedback from city residents on several questions: 1) what do you like about Tucson and 2) what would you most like to see improved about Tucson?
7 tables of about 10 residents dialogued with each other and a facilitator in answering these initial questions, followed by brief welcomes from Councilmember Karin Uhlich and City Manager Mike Letcher. A budget analysis disclosed that the discussion tonight was to concentrate on the 32% of discretionary funds of the City’s budget.
Then the same tables were asked these questions: 1) What City services do you use? 2) What City services would you maintain or cut, and why? 3) What new resources, revenues or efficiencies should be pursued by the City? 4) What services should the City invest in for our community’s future?
I recognized several activists present at the meeting: John Kromko, Tres English, Dick Bayse, Judith Anderson (Pro Neighborhoods), Jim Murphy (PCOA), and Ben Buehler-Garcia, candidate for Ward 3 Council seat. About 15 City staffers (including TPD officers) were available as resource persons.
No consensus was reached or vote was taken in answering these questions, but records of each table’s discussion with lots of creative, varied responses will be collated and put onto the City website at: www.tucsonaz.gov/dialogues. I question whether these comments won’t just be a compilation of anecdotal responses from all 8 dialogues/ meetings, without any clear mandate from the participants. Let’s wait and see since the website says that the goal of this process is “working together to set city budget priorities”.
The calendar for the upcoming meetings are listed in my previous blog and by clicking on the link above. The next meeting will be on Sat. 10/3 at El Pueblo Neighborhood Center, 9 to 11 a.m. Questions/comments can be directed by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 520-791-4204.