Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Delay, questions plague UA science center

The University of Arizona is proposing to slow construction of the proposed science center, which is intended to be one of the show pieces of the Tucson Rio Nuevo development. The Arizona Republic reports today that UA officials told city officials that the university's budget cuts the state budget cuts are responsible.

This comes just a day after the Tucson Citizen ran a lengthy investigative report that the city will conduct an internal review of payments to UA for the science center. The audit is a result of pressure from the state legislature according to city manager Mike Hein. That body is considering cancelling the taxing district that funds the Rio Nuevo project.

On top of that the Citizen reports that "Tucson Finance Director Frank Abeyta had ordered an audit of city payments to UA and of the outstanding bills for the Science Center," which was cancelled by Hein the same day. The following day, Abeyta ordered a halt to payment of all bills to UA then quit, after being in the job only four months.

The debate appears to be over differences in what are allowable expenses under city rules and university rules.

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