June 25, 2014

Rio Nuevo Board Approves 2015 Budget, Expects Profit of $1.3M Dollars

In the annual budget meeting for the District, the Board unanimously approved a budget with a little over $10,000,000 of annual expense versus estimated revenue of $11.4M. TIF revenue was conservatively estimated at approximately $10,000,000; down slightly from previous years. Administrative expense is expected to decrease from $864,000 to $780,000. The approved budget included a 5% raise for staff and approximately $270,000 to support the Arizona Fox Theatre’s option to buy out the National Historic Trust, which would allow the District to negotiate a lease directly with the Fox. The National Historic Trust holds a 50 year lease for which it paid fifty dollars in 2006 when the city controlled the District’s finances. The District has expressed a desire to support this buy out of the District’s relationship with the theatre entities and negotiate a market rate lease with the Fox Foundation.

In other action, the Board approved a $25,000 request from the “TCC Today” community effort spearheaded by Karla Van Druen Lttooy and Helen Erickson to help restore the Eckbo fountains, in front of the Music Hall. The funds would have to be matched by others in order to be received. Garret Eckbo designed the historic fountains in 1971, which have fallen into a state of disrepair and this group of private citizens is raising funds from the public and private sectors for their gradual restoration. “This is a true public/private partnership”, said member Cody Ritchie during the meeting. Member Alberto Moore originally proposed a $10,000 contribution, which motion failed on a 6 to 1 vote. The conditional $25,000 investment passed 5-2, with Member Jeff Hill and Mr. Moore voting against the project.

In an effort to save as much as a million dollars, the Board unanimously approved a $60,000 investment in the arena lot to help Pima County install new sewer features for the property adjacent to the freeway, south of Congress.

The Board also unanimously approved the retention of an architect and additional engineering expense to begin designing a Lienzo, or Charro ring, located on Rio Nuevo’s Westside Parcel at the base of A Mountain. Grass roots efforts to create support for this culturally significant project have created a community wide interest in an authentic Lienzo Charro, defined as an equestrian arena where events similar to an American rodeo are held. Lienzos are seen all through Mexico (see the Smithsonian website for more information about a traditional Lienzo,
http://latino.si.edu/virtualgallery/TalesofLienzos/IntroductiontoLienzos.htm).

The Board reviewed the draft Intergovernmental Agreement provided by the Department of Revenue, designed to give the District access to the TIF taxpayer database in order to assure the collections of TIF receipts. The Board authorized counsel to finalize the agreement and authorized the executive officers to execute the final version.