Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Rio Nuevo board meets Friday to discuss future role

The Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District Board called a rush special meeting for Friday to explore its future leadership role with downtown redevelopment.

The board had canceled all monthly meetings so far this year, but Thursday morning announced a special meeting for 2 p.m Friday in the Apache Meeting Room at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave.

Even before City Manager Mike Hein was fired Tuesday, rumors were swirling that the Legislature would take drastic action against Rio Nuevo. With Hein booted, legislators have suggested taking Rio Nuevo out of the city’s hands.

The board will discuss its fiduciary and operative responsibilities for Rio Nuevo and how the board functions may change.

“The tax increment district is too important for the city,” Rio Nuevo Director Greg Shelko said. “The board wants to show it is prepared to move forward.”

Board chair Anne-Marie Russell declined to say anything about the special board meeting.

The agenda describes the action items as “pending legislative actions,” “district management and procurement issues” and “control of district revenues.”

The Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District is an independent state-sanctioned special taxing district. The board has statutory authority to make all decisions for the district. But at the start of 1999, the board entered into an intergovernmental agreement with Tucson for the city manager to serve as Rio Nuevo’s executive director and put daily operations of Rio Nuevo under city control.

The Rio Nuevo board has met infrequently in recent years. A new slate of board members started meeting again monthly in July, but has canceled all scheduled meetings so far this year. The prior board met twice in its last year.

“The Rio Nuevo board could reassert its control of the district,” said state Rep. Steve Farley, a Tucson Democrat.

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