Pima County will give the local economic development agency 43 percent more money this year.

The Board of Supervisors approved a contract with Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Inc. on Tuesday in a 3-2 vote.

Republicans Ray Carroll and Ann Day voted against the increased funding, saying TREO needs to be more transparent in the way it spends taxpayers' money.

"All I want to do is make sure that if we're upping our donation, our investment in TREO, that we call for some new and more in-depth review of the organization," Carroll said.

The county agreed to give TREO $450,000 for administrative and operating expenses, plus an optional $50,000 for reimbursements for special projects.

The new agreement with TREO includes added accountability requirements, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said in a memo to the board.

The contract requires quarterly reports, which must show a balance sheet, expenses, projected outcomes and progress information. It also requires TREO to give the county a copy of its annual audit.

"You ask for more money, we can ask for more reporting," said Supervisor Richard Elías. "I don't think there's a problem with that. And I think, frankly, the public would appreciate it because economic development results always seem to be nebulous at best, but they are real."

TREO CEO Joe Snell said he understands the need for accountability for public dollars and says his organization is a good financial steward with a clean audit record.

Pima County payments will make up 22 percent of TREO's annual income.

The county will be the agency's only public funding source. TREO dropped its contracts with the city of Tucson and the towns of Oro Valley and Sahuarita this year. The town of Marana quit paying TREO in 2008.

TREO has seen substantial increases in private-sector funding, Snell said.

development plan

The Board of Supervisors also approved an economic development plan, subject to approval by the county's Bond Advisory Committee.

The plan includes building roads to support employment centers, expanding local museums to boost tourism and creating aerospace business parks in the Tucson International Airport area.

TREO Annual Performance Measures

Established by the TREO Executive Committee and Board of Directors and included in the Pima County contract.


Regional jobs created

40 percent

Portion of jobs created in targeted industries

Source: Pima County

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.