Rio Nuevo frustration mounts at Tucson council meeting

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Taxpayers continue to express their frustration over Rio Nuevo. They say it's a project that's going nowhere. At Tuesday's city council meeting, council members received an update and many weren't happy with the so called "progress."

It was a pretty uneventful day here at city council, until the conversation shifted to Rio Nuevo. That's when things got a bit more heated.

"It really ticks me off that this guy's not here again," said Councilmember Steve Kozachik in reference to Rio Nuevo Project Manager Greg Shelko.

For the last two weeks, Kozachik has asked him to attend council meetings, to keep them in the loop. But he has yet to show up.

"The district owes us the answers we've been asking for."

So far there are more questions than answers. And frustration is building among city leaders.

"We have to get a direction on this hotel. Is it a go or no go," said City Manager Mike Letcher.  "We have to figure out if we can make this work," said Councilmember Paul Cunningham.

Council also wants to make sure Rio Nuevo's financial plans don't put the city's general fund at risk.  But a suggestion for a motion to protect the general fund could not be addressed.

"Why would it be inappropriate to give a motion to the city manager that we would like to see the city general fund held harmless," said Kozachik.

"We just have it as an update on the facilities district and that's exactly why," said an attorney in reply.

"Then I'd ask for these binders to be updated regularly because if we're going to be locked into discussing what is in these binders they need to be updated before these meetings occur," said Kozachik

No action was taken Tuesday, but the council plans to file a formal request to get Greg Shelko before city council as soon as possible.

Also on Tuesday's agenda was a discussion of more budget cuts to plug the $51 million hole the city finds itself in, but the item was pushed back until next week.