When it comes to delivering an address, and stressing that the State of the Town of Oro Valley is strong, no one does it better than Mayor Satish Hiremath. One might say it’s in his nature.
With an audience of 517 people on Sept. 13, Hiremath focused on Oro Valley being successful because of a hard-working staff, regional collaboration, and in the end, because it’s just “in our nature.”
Hiremath unveiled a tagline for the Town, which will be used to promote the community. That tagline being, “It’s in our nature.”
“Outdoor recreation, it’s in our nature,” said Hiremath. “Public safety, it’s in our nature. Regional collaboration, it’s in our nature. Arts and culture, it’s in our nature. Bioscience, it’s in our nature. Aquatics, it’s in our nature.”
Hiremath said the tagline was developed to stress that, “life is good in Oro Valley.”
One of the reasons Oro Valley is succeeding is because the Town is willing to work with others. A major focus of Hiremath’s annual State of the Town address focused on regional collaboration.
“Regional collaboration is what happens when you think outside the box,” he said.
Some of the partnerships that have worked in Oro Valley’s favor over the last year, include an Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Tucson that has allowed the delivery of 1,500 acre feet of CAP water, which will help preserve the town’s aquifer.
The Town also partnered with the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) to expand transportation services. The Town’s transit services, formerly known as Coyote Run, moved to a regional system.
Hiremath said the move to a regional transportation system has allowed the Town to go from providing 53 trips to residents per day, to more than 150 rides a day. The added benefit also includes $200,000 in savings to the Town each year, he added.
In working with Pima County, Hiremath said the Town will be able to provide more services and extended hours by turning the library over to county control. The savings to the Town is expected to be about $600,000.
Hiremath also highlighted partnerships with the Arizona Distance Classic coming in March, and working on economic development through a regional approach by working with the Arizona Commerce Authority, and the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunity (TREO).
Arts and culture have continued to be important in Oro Valley, which means a continued partnership with the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA).
But, even with all of the partnerships with programs and organizations, Hiremath said the most important partnership of all is the one Oro Valley has with its neighbors.
“When one succeeds, all succeed,” he said. “It’s a benchmark year for collaboration, and we have seen success in many areas.”
Public Safety is also a valued asset in Oro Valley, as Hiremath said he considers the Town to be one of the safest in the nation. And, even though it’s not part of the Town, Hiremath said the Golder Ranch Fire District continues to provide Oro Valley with “seamless” service.
But, at the end of the day, Hiremath said it is also important to partner with residents, making it a priority to shop locally.
“Fifty percent of the Town’s general fund comes from sales taxes,” he said.
With the Town’s finances improving over the last year, Hiremath said they were able to give employees a 2.5 percent salary increase, and they are looking at developing an advancement system for police and a merit system for regular employees.
Hiremath expressed his appreciation to employees who have continued to stick with the Town, even in tough economic times.
Moving forward, Hiremath said he is proud of the continued improvements at Steam Pump Ranch, which is open for public use, with a fall festival planned for Oct. 13.
The Town is also excited about the $5 million renovation of the Oro Valley Aquatic Center, which will not only be a family-friendly facility in the summers, but will have the capabilities to host large competitions.
The first phase of the project is to be completed this month, and the rest will be completed in the spring of 2013.