Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Hit to nonprofits would be less in Letcher’s proposed city budget

The budget recommended Tuesday by City Manager Mike Letcher would divvy up almost $13 million among local nonprofits and governments, key support bases for the City Council.

The sum would be 8 percent less than what the city provided those organizations this year, but it is about $3 million more than what ex-City Manager Mike Hein wanted to give them in his budget.

The $3 million difference, to be paid for by proposed new taxes, would be divided primarily among Job Path, the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau, School Plus Jobs and the Tucson Pima Arts Council.

Under the previous plan, Job Path, School Plus Jobs and the arts council would have received nothing.

Letcher wants to give the visitors bureau $4.2 million with about $900,000 of that added in by Letcher, the largest allocation set for any organization.

After the visitors bureau, the biggest beneficiaries of the city’s payments would be:

• Pima Animal Care Center, the county-operated pound, $1.3 million

• Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, the area’s economic development agency, $1.2 million

• Tucson Pima Arts Council, an advocacy group that provides support services and grants to artists and organizations, $900,000

• Access Tucson, the city’s public access TV channel, $700,000

• School Plus Jobs, a dropout prevention program that puts high school students to work and was developed by the Pima County Interfaith Council, $600,000

• Job Path, a job training program developed by the Pima County Interfaith Council, $500,000

• The Downtown Tucson Partnership, a downtown business advocacy group, $300,000.

More than $2.2 million would go to the city’s Human Services Plan, which provides smaller grants to agencies that provide crisis services.

About $225,000 of the proposed tax increase would be spent on events the city co-sponsors such as El Tour de Tucson bicycle races, the Tucson Rodeo Parade and the Winterhaven Festival of Lights.

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