More than 200 activists, bureaucrats and critics crowded into a conference room in a midtown hotel Friday to address the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee.
The committee is expected to spend the next six months reviewing more than 100 proposals worth $1.3 billion for possible inclusion on a November 2014 bond ballot.
Advocates for projects and programs offered more than two hours of testimony, jockeying to be included in the roughly $650 million package voters and taxpayers will be asked to approve.
And one group came forward pledging to add one more project to the wish list before any decisions are made. They want to build memorial to the victims of the Jan. 8, 2011, Tucson shooting rampage that left six people dead and 13 others wounded, including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. They did not indicate how much the memorial would cost, what it would look like or any other details.
Other speakers included a man asking for funding for the Literacy Volunteers of Tucson after the group taught him to read to his young daughter; the town of Sahuarita asking for funding for a new library; and a woman arguing against building new sidewalks, claiming they are bad for human health.
Little action was taken during the Friday morning meeting, with the committee as a whole only instructing the county staff to ask municipalities and agencies to prioritize their requests as well as to begin a public outreach campaign.
The panel also decided to delete $80 million in proposed projects from consideration, not because the projects aren't worthy, but because most have already been completed with other funding over the years the committee has been meeting and accepting proposals.
The committee, which is responsible for making recommendations on how the bond money should be spent, has been using a list of "tentatively approved" projects submitted by various agencies dating to 2006.
Another meeting has not been scheduled, but it is expected to be several months before the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee will meet publicly again.
Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4346.