If a few years from now you're at the Reid Park Zoo and are disappointed there's no hippo exhibit, you'll have only yourself to blame.

The exhibit, along with more than 100 other proposals, are being considered by Pima County for placement on a tentatively scheduled November 2014 bond election.

The county is seeking community input on which projects are most worthwhile through an online survey.

We should all participate and make our voices heard.

The bond proposal process began in 2006 after the county's last bond election. County departments, local jurisdictions and other organizations submitted requests, but economic realities put a hold on moving forward.

So much time has passed that priorities have shifted and additional submissions were received. This new wave has left Pima County planners with about $1.3 billion in proposed projects but only $650 million allowable under bond limits.

Participating in the survey will voice your opinion to the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee, which will consider several points before submitting its recommendations, including broad public support, regional benefits, partnerships with other groups and a balanced distribution of projects throughout the county. Projects are in incorporated areas as well as unincorporated ones.

Those taking the survey are first asked to rate the project types - from "extremely important" to "not at all important" - that they consider the most valuable. These include broad categories such as neighborhood reinvestment and affordable housing; parks and recreational facilities; flood control and transportation improvements; and job growth and education.

Specific projects eligible for votes are divided into five categories:

• Historic, cultural and natural area conservation.

• Public health, flood control, neighborhood reinvestment and governmental facilities.

• Libraries, community facilities and museums.

• Job growth, education and workforce training.

• Parks and recreation.

County officials estimate the survey will take about 10 minutes to complete, but participants can spend anything from a few minutes looking at brief descriptions of the projects to hours examining each proposal in detail.

Project proposals are extremely varied and include everything from pedestrian safety and walkability improvements to restoring the east tower at Mission San Xavier. Others include acquisition of flood-prone property for enhanced public safety, renovation and expansion of the Loft Cinema, a residential noise attenuation program and a certain hippo exhibit at the zoo.

Taking the survey is a simple, easy way to participate in a process for the betterment of our entire community.

Arizona Daily Star


The survey will be posted online until the end of the day on Friday, Aug. 2. It is available at www.azstarnet.com/pimasurvey . As of Monday, 3,300 people had participated.

If you do not have Internet access, you can use a computer at the public library or attend the Bond Advisory Committee's meeting at 8 a.m. on Sept. 20. The location has not been set.