Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry says he opposes legislation that would replace the county's bond advisory committee because it would give power to a select few municipalities in the county.
Huckelberry says HB2656, which is working its way through the Legislature, is "anti-democratic" because it would replace an openly selected 25-member committee with a six-member panel that would include three members with veto authority.
The three would be from the towns of Marana, Oro Valley and Sahuarita, and under the legislation, they could stop the county from approving specific bond programs or projects, Huckelberry says.
"What happens is that you have three small jurisdictions that have about 7 percent of the population and about 7 percent of the assessed value with the ability to block bond initiatives for the other 93 percent of the population in Pima County, which is really unfair," Huckelberry says.
He says county code provides disclosure, transparency and a democratic process for deciding on bond issues and projects, and many aspects of it are stronger than the proposed legislation.
Under the legislation, the 43 percent of Pima County taxpayers living in unincorporated areas would not be represented under the new system, because it gives power to municipalities.
Huckelberry says the town of Marana is driving the measure because officials there are still angry about their fight with the county government over wastewater management.The town lost that fight in court, but the Legislature passed a bill last year giving Marana control of its own wastewater in a system otherwise managed countywide.