Study Session
May 13, 2009
CALL TO ORDER - at 5:30 p.m.


Paul Loomis, Mayor
K.C. Carter, Vice Mayor
Barry Gillaspie, Council Member
Al Kunisch, Council Member
Salette Latas, Council Memmber

EXCUSED: Paula Abbott, Council Member
Bill Garner, Council Member


Presentation and discussion regarding Education and its Impact on Oro Valley’s Economic Development

Item 1

Economic Development Specialist Amanda Jacobs presented the item stating that she and members of Council met with Ventana Medical Systems representatives. She noted that education was stated as a priority for Ventana employees and it was indicated that Arizona schools were not on par with European schools.

Ms. Jacobs introduced Economic Development Intern Michelle Tucker to present the findings of her research on education. Ms. Tucker began with a brief overview of the Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) adopted in 2007. She stated that the purpose of CEDS was to provide guidelines to the Council and administrative leaders to achieve economic development that supported the Town’s character and vision. She stated that the goals were based on the 2020 General Plan. She noted the goals would
encourage and support targeted enterprises by:
~Diversifying the tax base
~Increasing employment opportunities
~Decreasing the loss of sales taxes to surrounding communities

She listed the targeted enterprises:
~Hotels and tourism
~Professional industries
~Other businesses that offered high wage jobs

She explained the Action steps of CEDS that would achieve the aforementioned goals:
~Business retention and expansion
  *Required an understanding of the needs of existing businesses and elements that contribute to expansion and retention
~Business recruitment
  *Required an understanding of targeted industries

Ms. Tucker explained that companies offering high wage highly skilled jobs required certain characteristics:
~Access to an educated workforce (the lifeline of a business)
~Businesses that cannot secure a workforce from the local area will recruit externally
  *Otherwise losses occur

She listed the issues impacting education in Oro Valley:
  *State budget has impacted funding for education
  *Joint legislative budget committee (JLBC) proposed a $357.8M reduction of the Arizona Department of Education budget 
  *Activities for the Town to consider:
    -Informant - Provide access to information
    -Advocate - Develop position on each issue and promote through necessary channels
    -Broker - Connect residents with existing advocacy groups and with State representatives

~Student Competitiveness:
  *International Assessments listed the United States in the middle of the list; well behind Asian and European countries
  *State rankings marked Arizona students in fourth and sixth grades as lower than the national average
  *Low enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) courses
    -Low percentage of test takers scoring 3 or above
  *Lack of International Baccalaureate (IB) programs
  *Student performance in math was lower than desired based on the Arizona Instrument for Measuring Standards (AIMS) test

  *Activities to Consider:
    -Informant - Provide information regarding success on the Town’s website
    -Advocate - Support initiatives that would enhance AP programs or establish IB programs
    -Broker - Connect Oro Valley businesses with schools to create partnerships

She noted that there was a shortage of teachers in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. She stated that these were critical subjects for the industries the Town sought to recruit. She noted that without teachers to develop these interests for students, it was unlikely that students would choose to pursue these subjects that would lead to jobs in the high tech sector. Ms. Tucker also noted that new teachers typically leave the field after three years. She presented the activities for the Town to consider regarding the teacher shortage:
~Informant - Highlight Tucson Values Teachers and other programs through communication channels
~Advocate - Assist organizations and programs in promoting the teaching profession
~Broker - Connect Oro Valley businesses with schools interested in partnerships 

She highlighted the importance of post secondary success:
~Community colleges
  *Important bridge between elementary and secondary schools and the university system
  *Funding impact on Joint Technological Education Districts (JTED)
  *General funding concerns resulting in reductions
~University of Arizona
  *Funding impact
    -Arizona universities receive 25% of their funding from the State which
has been reduced.
    -Tuition has increased
    -Inter-departmental financial aid will be reduced or eliminated
  *Partnerships with local firms
    -Assists students with career exploration
    -Supports recruitment efforts of local businesses
  *Institute for Collaborative Research (also known as Bio 5) has developed partnerships with:
    -Ventana Medical Systems
    -Sanofi Aventis
    -MDX Analytical 
    -All of which are located in Oro Valley
      ~These companies offer internships for spring, summer and fall semesters
    -Bio 5 hosts programs for students and teachers to learn about advancements in the STEM discipline

Ms. Tucker informed Council that the Economic Development division has initiated a relationship with Bio 5 to stay aware of the Institute’s activities and events.

~Post secondary success activities to consider:
  *Informant - Salute the work of local businesses who form partnerships with educational programs through communication channels
  *Advocate - Determine the best vehicle to demonstrate support for Pima Community Colleges and the University of Arizona
  *Broker - Use existing relationships with Pima Community Colleges and local businesses to initiate a partnership

Ms. Tucker explained that the issue of negative perception must be addressed. She stated that local academic information must be publicized. She noted that in her research she found a 2008 Community Report card that had been prepared for Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO) by the University of Arizona. She stated that the report card presented the educational landscape of the region and had information important for businesses and legislators to be aware of.

She explained the activities to consider regarding perception of the educational system:
  *Include positive press on the Town’s website
  *Develop press releases showcasing the Town’s commitment to education
  *Support efforts of other public relations campaigns like Tucson Values Teachers
  *Use existing relationships and the Town’s position to broker connections between businesses and education sector

Mayor Loomis introduced Todd Jaeger from Amphitheater School District. Mr. Jaeger noted that he was surprised that the district had not been consulted in preparation of this presentation. He stated that he had not seen the report and could not comment on it. He noted that he was happy to see the Town’s interest in education. He informed Council that a new principal had been hired for Canyon Del Oro High School. He stated that the issue of funding was grave as $357M was cut from the budget this fiscal year and another $600M could be reduced in the coming year statewide. He noted that every school within the Town was designated as an "Excelling" school, according to the State and that he would be happy to provide information.

Town Manager David Andrews noted that the Town valued input from the district and colleges. He stated that the purpose of this research was to broadly study the issue and garner direction from Council.

Council Members stated that it was important to discuss, study and assist with this issue. It was noted that the Town had been working with groups that supported schools. It was suggested that the Town become more vocal and visible in its advocacy. It was recommended that information regarding Amphitheater schools located in Oro Valley could be posted on the website with links to Pima Community College noting that students as young as 16 could attend. 

Vice Mayor Carter stated that he would like to see statistics regarding the reasons teachers leave three years into their career.


Discussion regarding the creation of an Economic Development Commission

Item 2

Economic Development Specialist Amanda Jacobs presented the item. She stated that the purpose of an Economic Development Commission (EDC) was to research and make recommendations to Council regarding the direction of the Town’s Economic Development efforts:
~Business retention and expansion programs
  *Site visits
  *Offer services of the Oro Valley Business Navigator
  *Shop Oro Valley
~Community Economic Development Strategy
~Oro Valley Sign Code
~Signature events

She reviewed the suggested Board composition:
~Seven voting members
  *Option 1
    -Members must be residents of the Town and work within Town limits
  *Option 2
    -Members must be residents of the Town and may include business persons with operations in the Town 
    -Qualified members from outside the Town would be considered for membership 
~Voting membership would include representatives from the following:
  *Major utilities
  *Banking, financial services
  *Real estate
  *Large businesses
  *Small businesses
  *Higher education
  *School district
  *Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce (NPCCC) or an at-large business
~Two ex-officio members
  *Town Manager or his designee
  *President of NPCCC

She listed the terms of office:
~Three year staggered terms so that no more than four members’ terms would expire in any given year
~No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms 
~The Commission shall elect its officers at the first meeting following the appointment of new members each year
  *The officers shall be the Chair and Vice-Chair
  *The Economic Development Specialist or designee shall act as Secretary, but shall not have voting rights
  *No officer elected by the Commission shall serve in the same capacity for more than two consecutive years

Ms. Jacobs stated that the Economic Development division supported the creation of the Economic Development Commission. She noted that there were issues with business owners and that the EDC would give local businesses a voice.

Ms. Jacobs introduced NPCCC President Ramon Gaanderse. Mr. Gaanderse noted that:
~Oro Valley was the only jurisdiction that did not have a commission for economic development in Pima county.
~It was not uncommon for issues to overlap with different commissions
  *Those commissions could have joint sessions
~A commission would fill a need in Oro Valley and would strengthen relations with business owners.

Mayor Loomis opened the floor for public comment.

Oro Valley resident Bill Adler stated that a chamber of commerce should serve as an EDC for a town as it would not have term limits and turnover. He urged that the Town should have the chamber to serve in that capacity as they have the experience and expertise. He stated that the chamber should structure itself to serve as such. He noted that in a time of layoffs, it would be unwise to create another commission that would need to be staffed.

Oro Valley resident Chris DeSimone stated that he was in favor of an EDC. He stated that the Town needed to hear from businesses regarding taxes, education and the impacts of zoning. He noted that the EDC should be comprised of anyone whose livelihood depended on business in Oro Valley as well as some local business owners. He noted that no one from any outside funded agency should be a member.

Council Members resonated that an EDC was good for the Town and that the Economic Development division should proceed forward with the creation of this commission.

Mayor Loomis called for a recess at 6:48 p.m. The meeting resumed at 6:55 p.m. 


Discussion of proposed amendment to Town Council Policy #3 - Council Member Travel and Trip Reports

Item 3

Management Assistant Tory Schlievert presented the item. She reviewed the recommended procedure for Council Members travelling out of state:
~Provide a 6 week verbal notice at a Regular Council meeting
~Present the goal of the trip

She stated that the recommended notice for in-state travel was two to four weeks.

Council Member Kunisch stated that the time frame guideline was important to acquire the cheapest fares. He stated that Council travel should be noticed at Council meetings for public transparency.

Council Member Latas stated that she could not support this item and would never announce her travel plans in public due to safety issues as her address was a public record.

Council Member Gillaspie stated that he could not support the item as the current policy was sufficient.

The item was tabled.


Future Agenda Items

Council Member Latas requested that the creation of the Economic Development Commission be moved to a regular Council meeting. This was seconded by Council Member Gillaspie.


MOTION: A motion was made by Vice Mayor Carter and seconded by Council Member Kunisch to adjourn the meeting at 7:05 p.m.

MOTION carried, 5-0.