Tucson council makes decision on Ward money

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Where should leftover city council ward money go?

That's the question council members debated over the last few weeks.  Council member Steve Kozachik wants to use his ward's money to fix his Ward's streets.

Other council members spoke out about that idea.  But Wednesday a solution was presented.

Weeks ago it seemed unlikely, but Wednesday compromise around the table.

"I appreciate the tone of compromise embodied in this motion," said Councilwoman Karin Uhlich.

Kozachik can use his ward's leftover money to fix his ward's streets.

"I'm hearing from Ward 6 residents that we want these holes fixed right now and that's what we're going to do," said Councilman Steve Kozachik.

In fact after the day's unanimous motion every council member can do that, if they so choose.

If they don't, they can pool the money together to fix other citywide problems.

"Council office leftover money is not just Ward money but taxpayer money and we need to make sure it will benefit the entire community," said Councilwoman Regina Romero.

Throughout this debate, Kozachik drove home the urgency of fixing Ward 6 roads now, instead of later. He says his ward office made several sacrifices.

"The salaries that I pay my staff are different than the salaries other people pay. I don't have a car other council members have a car," said Kozachik.

Those Ward 6 savings created an $85,000 dollar. So now with council approval. He can spend that money, to fix an estimated 2700 potholes in his ward.

"It's not me it's the constituents in Ward 6 who've made that decision," said Kozahcik.

Kozachik's colleagues for the most part have hinted or flat out stated that they prefer to pool their resources together.

"Just use them all for the benefit of entire city," said Romero.

But Kozachik has stood his ground. And says he's more than happy to contribute whatever is leftover after his constituents needs are met.

"It's a safety issue with people dodging potholes," said Kozachik.

Council Ward offices haven't used savings from their own Wards since the recession began, they've pooled leftover funds together since 2009.