Tucson business owners upset about reorganization at city hall

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The final budget approved by the Tucson City Council Tuesday night comes complete with a new tax on health club memberships and tanning salons.

"Yes, I was disappointed when that passed," said Carolyn LeCocq, who owns a local health club. "We're a very small group, and to impose a specific tax on a specific industry like this is just not fair," said Dave Fossdal, owner of a midtown tanning salon.

Well, those business owners now deal with the aftermath of operating with customers having to pay a few more dollars out of pocket.

"With the economy the way it is right now, my business is off over 40% from what it was last year," Fossdal said.

"That all adds up," LeCocq said. "And people look at that and say, what's the overall picture and how much can I cut?"

Adding to their anger comes new information that City Manager Mike Letcher promoted several employees to fill voids in his office -- those promotions come with salary increases.

He also hired an acquaintance to be the new assistant city manager. "We need to be looking at needs, not wants," Fossdal said. "Just because the city manager wants to hire a friend of his from back east is not what we need."

Despite Fossdal's rage, Letcher said late Thursday the reorganization at city hall actually ends up saving the city $377,000.

But these small business owners hit with the new taxes would prefer those promotions didn't come with higher salaries. "I'm against that of course," LeCocq said. "And I'm not always against that but in this kind of an economy I think that we have to share the responsibility."

"This is a huge slap in the face to all the people that stood up before mayor and council the other night," Fossdal said.