"It wasn't a landslide," Tucson's Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said moments before hosting a press conference announcing the results of Proposition 409. But he added, "It's an important day for Tucson."
Proposition 409 will allow the city to sell $100 million in bonds to fix and maintain hundreds of miles of Tucson roadway.
As of this writing it was leading by 930 votes out of more than 160,000 cast.
But a win's a win.
The mayor thanked the people for the vote and said he will work to make sure the work is done on time, on budget and done right.
"I want to insure the people of Tucson that I'll be watching this project closely," he said at the press conference which was held at Tucson City Hall.
But also added the council will be watching, the city manager and a new citizen's advisory commission will be watching too.
The city has been beset by issues of trust but the mayor says "there's a new mayor" and a new way of doing things at city hall.
City leaders are hoping this will help earn back some of the trust lost during the decade long Rio Nuevo debacle.
"The bond issue is a significant first step," he says.
The work on the roads will not begin until late 2013 or into 2014.
It takes time to issue and sell the bonds as well as put the work out to bid.
All the work will be done by private contractors which will create jobs and tax revenue for the city.
But not everyone is happy about the decision.
Tucson resident and former head of a Pima County Tax Association, John Kromko, believes the city willfully neglected the roads for years, using the tax money for other things.
"That's like financing your life on credit cards," he says.
He believes road repair should be part of an everyday schedule paid for from the general fund.
But Rothschild says other cities finance road fixes and other emergencies through bonding so what the city is doing is not unusual.
Kromko disagrees and says "you should never fund road repairs with bonds. That's an economic principle."
The new, 11 member bond committee has yet to be formed. Anyone living in Tucson can apply. Applications are being taken by the city clerk's office now.
The committee will oversee the projects and insure the money is being spent where voters expect it to be spent.
"I'd like to be on that committee, but I'm sure they won't pick me," Kromko says.
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