Pima County Board of Supervisors votes to continue construction of courts complex without City of Tucson participationTuesday, November 13th, 2012
The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to move forward with the construction of the Joint Justice/Municipal Courts Complex near Stone and Toole avenues without the City of Tucson’s participation.
The Tucson mayor and City Council agreed in October that the city could not afford to pay its share of the construction costs that exceeded the $76 million in 2004 bonds originally allocated to the project.
The discovery of military and civilian cemeteries from the late 1800s on the site of the complex, the excavation of nearly 1,400 remains and consequential repatriations and reburials added nearly $17 million to the cost of the project.
The mayor and council voted to either move the city’s court operations, now housed in a former parking garage on Alameda Street east of Stone Avenue, to the complex without paying the city’s share of the excess construction costs or keep its court operations in the Alameda Street building.
Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry told the Board of Supervisors that the city’s share of the excess costs, based on its anticipated occupancy of 54 percent of the complex, would be about $20 million. The continuing decline in the property tax base would prevent the County from subsidizing the city’s court operations by paying the city’s share of the costs, Huckelberry said.
Huckelberry recommended and the Board approved continuing the construction of the complex without the city’s participation and occupancy. The portions of the complex that would have been occupied by the city will not be completed. The County will explore options to fill the space with legal or court-related functions and tenants who would pay their share of the costs.
In other action, the Board voted to:
- Pay from its contingency fund $53,282 in subscription fees so that six small or volunteer fire departments could be connected to the Pima County Wireless Integrated Network of public safety radio communications.
- Adopt a policy banning smoking or use of tobacco products on County property starting on Jan. 1.
- Lease to the nonprofit Tucson Soccer Academy at no charge for 20 years the Young House at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park in exchange for more than $100,000 in improvements.