June 2018

Minutes Date

Treasurer’s Report:

Sky, Treasurer not in attendance. Nothing has changed this month. It will change next month but number is the same as it was in May. $2,351.01


Hearing for Verizon Tower in Rincon Heights is June 21st.

Library Happenings: Calendar and upcoming events handed out.

Saturday, June 30th 11-12:30pm is Shark Island, a lecture and photography on Sharks.

Saturday, July 7th Learn How to be a DJ with Logan Philips.

Christopher makes an announcement about 1st Street and speeding. Asking if there is anything that can be done that can reduce speeding. Natasha sent in a request with TDDO. Asked about changing the yield sign at 10th Ave and 1st Street. Met with lackluster replies about suggestions on how to slow down speed on 1st Street.

Bunny crossing signs to get people educated about the bunnies in our neighborhood and urge them to slow down is an idea that is suggested. Putting in a roundabout is suggested. Roundabouts need funding. Previously, the neighborhood did a reinvestment of $500 K. Most of that went to putting in chicanes, roundabouts, $90 K went to public art. Also, 60% of neighbors who live around the proposed roundabout must buy into the proposal.

Implementations of speed humps is another suggestion. This could be an easier sell. Also, more cost effective than a traffic circle. Discussion of cost for speed humps, official speed limit signs and bunny signs are discussed. Christopher volunteers to look in to the cost.

Karen proposes to move this announcement to next month’s meeting as an agenda item.


James McGowan in attendance on behalf of Tucson Water.

James gives his presentation. These presentations are offered to any neighborhood association that would like to be kept up to date with Tucson Water. James asks if anyone has any questions to start.

Karen asks about what is happening with water rates. Karen knows that Tucson Water has an enterprise fund (Tucson Water must come up with enough money to pay for itself). Her understanding is that because Tucson has done so well with conserving water, Tucson Water is not bringing in enough money so rates are going up. Not that Tucsonans shouldn’t be paying more for water but as water becomes more of an issue with drought conditions, and as Tucson gets better with conservation, how is the rising cost reconciled? Jason presents a chart of Tucson water use.

Jason - Total metered watered use starting in the 1940’s until today. Dark blue is local ground water. Light blue is CAP (Central Arizona Project). Purple is reclaimed (treated water to a certain a standard to irrigate parks, schools and golf courses). Green is Tucson Airport Remediation Project (TARP) treated water that’s serves areas in Tucson. Ground water use grew when CAP was introduced in the 90’s. Big failure, messed with the pipes. Now Tucson Water takes CAP to Avra Valley, recharges it there and mixes it with local ground water. Pumps that out and brings it back over the Tucson Mountains. In 2017, beside the TARP water, almost all the water used was from the Colorado River and ground water mixture. Potable and drinking water use is the same as it was in the 80’s. Tucson’s total water use is up but that includes the reclaimed system.

Now to answer the question: Mayor and Council just raised water rates. Happens usually every year. Some things push rates up and or down. A big reason rates are going up is that Colorado River water is more expensive than ground water. Infrastructure put in place to move Colorado River water to Avra Valley is very expensive and Tucson is paying off the debt for that. We have fixed costs but are using less water and pay by the gallon. We’re driving unit cost up, because we’re using less water. If our usage had continued to go up we’d have to pay more to build more infrastructure. A nonprofit did a study to see what our water rates would be if we hadn’t conserved. 16% higher. Water and wastewater rates combined would be 12% higher. To sum it up: the less we pay per person, the more we pay per unit cost.

Wastewater rates are expected to stay flat. But we need to catch up on our debt for all the infrastructure. The intent of the city is to catch up on that debt. The city also raised reclaimed water rates for the first time in a long time. When regular water rates go up, reclaimed rates go up as well.

Tucson Water has a limited income program that they’re looking to promote. They’ve doubled enrollment in the past two years. 50% off your water bill could be reduced if you qualify. Or you can get a fixed amount off your bill. This makes sure that rates aren’t getting more regressive and it retains an incentive to conserve water.

Jason is asked what the income level is for the discount program. Jason will get this number to Karen.

New director at Tucson Water wanted to begin showing rain and storm water on new presentation charts. Utility is finally embracing rain and storm water as a legitimate water supply. This is a culture shift. They’re kicking off a two-year process to re-imagine the long-range water plan and completely rework it to acknowledge storm and rain water. This will be called

One Water 2100 – there is not separate water, it’s all one valuable resource.


Q- How long will Arizona be supplied with water from CAP as demand increases?

A- First, there is Facebook live video, available on Tucson Water website with Tim Thomure, Tucson Water director, discussing this very question.

B- The level of Lake Meade determines what stage of drought we are in as determined by the Federal government. We are teetering on the edge of stage two level drought which could implement restrictions to some users of the Colorado River. If this would happen, we would not get cut off but enact our drought plan. Voluntary and then mandatory conservation. All states on the Colorado River are involved in negotiations. CA has agreed to share some of the pain if the Colorado River goes down and there’s cuts.

C- In Avra Valley we’ve been banking more water than we’ve been using. We have four years of water stored in Avra Valley. If the CAP dried up today, we have about 40 years of ground water resources that are physically accessible to us. There would be challenges but we could do it economically. If that happened, we’d be looking at very stringent conservation.

D- Recently a mailing from Tim Thomure sent out a pamphlet focused just on water conservation. CAP has the highest priority of the water rights. Cities and Native American tribes would be hit the last for Colorado River. Agriculture would get hit first. We as humans have first right. Also, Phoenix and Las Vegas are paying us to store their water locally in Avra Valley. In event that there’s a drought, Phoenix and Las Vegas would take water from the Colorado River and we would pump the water we’ve been storing for them. We are in a partnership with Phoenix and Las Vegas so everyone will figure out water rationing together.

Q- Do you see friction or opposition from mayor and council about rain and storm water initiative?

A- No. They see it as an asset. Their priority is always clean tap water. But rain and storm is becoming more of a focus. There’s the rebate program and other initiatives, so the city is truly embracing it as part of their portfolio.

Q- A question about the Santa Cruz River Heritage project.

A- This project takes treated wastewater, very clean, and exits it into the Santa Cruz River at Ruthrauff. Now there is a beautiful habitat in this area. Phase 1 of the project will be to take a small portion of that water, using our existing infrastructure and pipe system and discharging it into Silver Lake or 29th Street. Tucson Water has submitted permits to the Department of Environmental Quality and other agencies. Goal is to have that water running by Memorial Day of 2019. Phase 2 is discharging more reclaimed water at Cushing Street. Challenge with that: flood control risk. Cushing is right at the thinnest part of the river. Not enough capacity if there is a major flood. That’s a discussion with the flood control district. Phase 3 is discharging more water in an off-channel feature. Similar to the San Antonia river walk in San Antonia, Texas. Proposed in the area west of the streetcar. Near the new Caterpillar building. This project gets Tucson Water credit for putting water back into the aquifer.

Q- Are there water conservation efforts being put into place with new developments being built in Tucson?

A- All new commercial developments are subject to the commercial rainwater harvesting ordinance. Tucson Water has partnered with some developers to apply and receive the water harvesting incentives when developments are built.

Karen calls for one more question

Q- What does TARP stand for?

A- Tucson Airport Remediation Project (TARP). In the 1940’s and 50’s there was a contaminated area near the airport which created a groundwater plume of TCE, industrial chemicals. 1990’s EPA discovered this as an issue around the country. In 1994 Tucson built a facility called TARP, they pump this water out by two wells and treat it.

Neighborhood Clean-Up with Habitat on June 23rd.

Residents and Habitat volunteers will be cleaning up two alleys on Perry between Speedway and 9th and 9th and 2nd on Saturday, June 23rd. From 7 am- 11 am. All are welcome to join and a roll-off has been ordered for the clean-up. Habitat will provide gloves, trash bags, facemasks and tools.

Further discussion of Habitat support. There are proposed cleanups that residents can lead with the support of Habitat volunteers. A “committee” met and tried to identify potential residents to lead monthly cleanups. Looking at regions of the neighborhood for cleanups on Saturdays. Debbie Chez-Maybe has agreed to lead one of these clean ups. Ideas for cleanups and dates so far:

  • August: Cleanup around the community garden and 11th. This was to prepare for the Dunbar School Centennial Celebration which was going to be in September but is now in November. •
  • September: Mulch, chipper/shredder. Tree trimming. •
  • October: Cleaning up 2nd and Main. •
  • November: Tree planting. •
  • December: Clean up around 9th Ave and 5th •
  • January: 10th Ave and 4th Street. •
  • February: Another chipper/shredder event. •
  • March: Working on some alleys.

Anyone can volunteer on of these projects or lead a project.

Sky also got a letter from Tucson Clean and Beautiful regarding our agreement to adopt an area to do a clean-up for the traffic circles. We signed up but don’t know who did it. They give us supplies for cleaning the traffic circles. They’ll find another group if we don’t agree to do it anymore. Karen will find out more.

Discussion of letter with Save Historic 4th Ave Group:

Karen printed out copies of the letter from Save Historic 4th Ave Group. Concerned about development on 4th (Union). Merchants Association didn’t want to stand up to developers and try to put conditions on aspects of the developments. This is in regards to two developments. Union on 4th Ave and 6th Street and the development at the Maloney’s parking lot, 4th Ave and 9th Street.

Merchants were shocked that Union passed all development guidelines. So Save 4th Historic Group formed to work with Local First to create a community benefits agreement. What they would like to see happen there as opposed to what the developer is proposing. They have written to mayor and council to say that they are working on this. They’ve also talked to the developer. Natasha signed, as a representative of the neighborhood, in support of what the letter says. Natasha proposes that the Dunbar neighborhood write a separate letter to keep 4th Ave historic. Developments should look historic, benefit the 4th Ave area, should include pedestrian access, there’s issues with parking, having private access for residents to the building as opposed to public, etc. Union is a done deal, it’s a matter if we can we influence the design. Can we also benefit as a community? This would be about smart growth.

Karen - Question is if we’re writing our own neighborhood in support of the group? Joanna understands the benefits of a community benefits agreement but asks how restrictive we want to be on developers. Will this restrictiveness hinder new development which impedes density? Joanna doesn’t want the group to assume the whole neighborhood is on board with this letter.

Another resident is also unsure about drafting a letter of support before reviewing all the facts. Can we have a month to think about this? Group agrees to bring this up as an agenda item in July. Up to everyone to do their own research.

The group is tabling reimbursement since Sky isn’t in attendance. Gentrification project might move to a new location that is cheaper or free.


DNARC — Had Q&A with land use attorneys for Union (EDR). Cary Silvan (attorney) wants to come up with common solutions with communities and developers. Dia de San Juan is on June 24th 6pm-10pm at Mission Gardens. El Presidio, platform site might be in discussion, development on 6th Street. FYI Presidio park will not be able to have large events anymore. Didn’t plan for weight with development.

Downtown Links — Murphy Woodhouse, Daily Star writer has left Daily Star. New person has been hired.

WAMO — WAMO might be defunct. Natasha will find out.

Neighborhood Garden — There’s a rumor that the last water bill was $900. Might have been a leak. Need to discuss on how to address this since the neighborhood can’t fund that.

Dunbar Coalition — Dunbar School Centennial Celebration is proposed for November 4th. Proposed a Sunday brunch with a jazz trio. November 11th daytime event, family oriented. No dates solidified.

Walkability Broken light situation was solved.

Neighborhood Foresters — No updates.

June Meeting Minutes — 2 changes to minutes. One grammatical error and a missing letter. Motion to approve minutes with two changes. 10 yay, one abstention.