Don’t assume the top 25 bond projects are going to be finalists for public funding just because 17,000 people voted for them.
County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry is warning the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee not to take the results of the survey too seriously, pointing out a number of flaws.
Among his concerns:
• The results are biased to those who responded. Unlike a random sample, interest groups backing specific projects likely voted up their favorite projects.
• The survey did not distinguish between the committee’s “tentatively approved” list of projects and new proposals that have never been reviewed.
• The survey failed to list a price for the individual projects, so voting might have been influenced if the high price tag of several projects had been disclosed.
• The county may not be legally be able to fund some projects included in the survey.
The last issue could be the most thorny: The county usually pays for projects only when the facilities are owned either by the county, a city, town or tribe.
Funding a privately owned property could be difficult in the long term in order to maintain a public benefit, Huckelberry argued.
He gave the example of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, where the county owns the property and leases it to the museum.
If the museum were to close, he noted, the county still could lease the buildings to another agency for a similar public use.