What is Prop 407?
Tucson’s Proposition 407 is a plan to make improvements at City Parks all across Tucson, to be paid for by issuing city bonds without raising taxes. If passed, the initiative would pay for sports field lighting, walking and bike trails, shade tree canopies, new baseball fields and basketball courts, and re-opening public pools. Prop 407 will appear on this November’s ballot. Ballots must be received by November 6, 2018.
Will taxes go up?
Prop 407 will not raise tax rates. The City will obtain new funds by retiring old bond debt in order to keep tax assessments stable at current levels.
How is this going to be paid for?
Prop 407 will be funded by bonds, sold by the City. These bonds will be paid back by property taxes paid to the City, but your tax rates will not increase. The City will obtain funds for park improvements by retiring old bond debt in order to keep tax assessments stable at current levels.
Which local parks will see improvements?
Final decisions are still being decided, but initial plans are for Parks all across Tucson to see improvements. These include:
· building new walking trail loops around neighborhood and community parks
· resurfacing tennis courts
· creating new pickleball courts
· renovated and new ramadas across the City for family events
· swimming pool upgrades
· new splash pads
· softball field improvements with lighting for senior softball leagues
There will also be upgrades to the air conditioning and heating systems at Armory Park Senior Center.
Once Parks and Connections Bond projects are completed, how will new maintenance needs be met?
Most of the Parks projects in Proposition 407 reinvest in current Parks and Recreation capital needs. New investment spending is aligned with community needs outlined in the Parks Master Plan, including greenways, sports fields, splash pads, and shade structures. In addition, Proposition 407 includes funding for LED lighting, adding smart irrigation systems, and shade features over playgrounds that will improve efficiency and extend the lift of equipment.
Why can't the City use existing funds to fund Parks and Connections improvements?
During the recession, our City of Tucson Parks and Recreation Department experienced deep financial cuts in favor of assuring our public safety systems continued at necessary levels. Pools were closed. Parks were closed and investment in our parks system suffered. Ten years later, the effects of those hard choices has left our parks system in severe disrepair.
Our parks system is currently recognized as one of the worst. Every year, the Trust for Public Land publishes their “ParkScore” a ranking of the quality of the parks systems of the top US 100 cities. Every year for the last five, Tucson has earned a score of just 34.2, putting Tucson in 86th place.
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and the Tucson City Council have a plan to undo the damage resulting from over a decade of inadequate resources. In June of 2018, the council referred Proposition 407 to the November ballot. If approved by Tucson voters, the plan would invest $225 million over the next ten years in our parks system without raising taxes.
Thus far, the initiative has earned wide-ranging support throughout the Tucson community from important organizations such as: Southern Arizona Leadership Council; Southern Arizona Home Builders Association; Pima Council on Aging; Tucson New Car Dealers Association and Reid Park Zoological Society.
The plan outlined in Proposition 407 reaches every corner of the city and will impact Tucsonans at every stage of life. This plan will improve over 100 parks in Tucson and provide enhanced pedestrian crossings, sidewalks, shared-use paths, bike boulevards and greenways.
How will Tucsonans know how the money is being spent?
Prop 407 creates a Citizens Bond Oversight Commission whose job is to assure that the revenue raised is spent specifically on the projects as provided by the plan given to voters, on schedule and within budget. This commission will hold public meetings to report to the public on the progress and results of bond projects.