- Your Voice
From the back of a packed Oro Valley Town Council chambers, near the doors ordered open by the town fire marshal, one of the many skeptics of the town’s proposal to purchase the Hilton El Conquistador’s country club couldn’t contain his irritation.
Lord Mayor Satish Hiremath opened his chambers on Dec. 17 as required by law to allow citizens to observe Council’s passage of the tax increase and planned purchase of El Conquistador Country Club. The Chambers were filled to capacity and beyond (SRO) and citizens (subjects) were permitted to approach the bench and make their points to his honor. Thirty-nine of us were allowed to speak, however, a much lower number was actually heard, for, you see, the deal was already done. His ruling majority had apparently decided the outcome as soon as the public was made aware that the transaction was proposed and no further input was really required. Such is the nature of Oro Valley governance under the current Town Council. It is sad when a deal of this magnitude is decided with little to no taxpayer input.
I attended the Oro Valley Town Council meeting last night and was dismayed that Mayor Hiremath seems to think he is King. He and he alone negotiated an agreement to adhere to “confidentiality” commitments so that the public could not know the “real” amounts from “secret deals”. I have not heard so much hubris from a politician since Gruber admitted that Obamacare had to be kept “secret” in order to pass it. Otherwise, the stupid (yes Gruber called the voters stupid) voters would never allow it to pass.
A representative from Troon Golf gives a presentation to the Oro Valley City Council about what its company offers in the way of incentivizing people to golf at its locations.
Sergio Mendez holds a sign urging council to vote no on purchasing the Hilton El Conquistador property. His concern was the worst-case scenario – what happens if the golf course loses money and the town is left trying to pay for it.
For those looking to enjoy some golfing in the next week, a 18-hole golf tournament will take place on Saturday, Dec. 27 at Quail Canyon Golf Course.
Oro Valley residents who oppose the Town Council’s recent decision to purchase the El Conquistador country club and golf facilities for a town community center have filed an application for a referendum petition, potentially allowing local voters to ultimately decide.
A split Oro Valley Town Council voted to move ahead with negotiations to purchase the El Conquistador country club and golf courses for a municipal community center Wednesday.
The Oro Valley Town Council will vote tonight (Dec. 17) on whether to purchase the golf and other recreational amenities of the El Conquistador resort, spending $1 million to acquire the property and committing to a half-cent sales tax increase for improvements and its continued operations.
In a vote on Dec. 11, the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce board of directors voted to support the town council’s plan to increase sales taxes and purchase the Hilton El Conquistador country club building, golf course, tennis courts and facilities for $1 million.
It’s going to only take one of the current majority to do the right thing and vote to table, or against, the proposed golf course purchase and sales tax increase tonight (Dec. 17). It’s going to take one of the majority, consisting of Mayor Satish Hiremath, Councilman Joe Hornat, Councilwoman Mary Snider or Vice Mayor Lou Waters, to say no to this ill-advised, badly-planned prospect.
After reading the Explorer this past week, I was absolutely shocked to learn about the upcoming vote by our city council to purchase the El Conquistador Golf Club. I don’t know what our city council is thinking but obviously they are totally oblivious to all the golf clubs across the country having financial difficulties and that includes Arizona and Oro Valley. Might I point out the financial distress for The Gallery, Stone Canyon, Vistoso, Oro Valley CC - and the list goes on and on? And why the secrecy and rush to purchase? It was stated that a survey of 500 people (really? only 500 people in the entire city of Oro Valley?) indicated a desire for a “community center”. Who are these 500 people? Where do they live? For something this important, a survey of the entire city should have been taken.
I would love to have a municipal golf course in Oro Valley, but not the one proposed.
With the election results a distant memory, the Mayor and re-elected members of the City Council have secretly made the decision to purchase for $1,000,000, the money losing entities of El Conquistador. Under the secret negotiations, the Town would purchase 45 holes of golf, two swimming pools, 31 tennis courts, a restaurant, and a building it will convert to a community center. The community center will house, among other things, exercise equipment that will help to decrease the revenue and taxes of such businesses as L.A. Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and other fitness companies in favor of a non-taxpaying entity. Will Oro Valley also get into the restaurant management business? The Mayor indicates the golf course will lose money at first—$1,000,000 to $1,300,000 in the first year but he expects it will become a money maker in a few years. Of course that is pure speculation. The Mayor’s finance people indicate all of the repairs and upgrades will cost no more than $1,500,000 even though members of the existing club’s Grounds Committee provide information that the upgrades will cost between $6,000,000 and $10,000,000 with an additional $400,000 needed to restore the cart paths. We should also remember that the way to finance this boondoggle is an increase in the sales tax for Oro Valley businesses. Wasn’t it Mayor Hiremath who indicated in his re-election campaign rhetoric he was going to put effort into increasing the number of retail businesses in Oro Valley? These are the same businesses that could lose market share because it would cost less to make a major purchase in Tucson, Oracle, etc. to the detriment of Oro Valley businesses. Why shop in Oro Valley if a short distance away, we can save our hard earned money by paying less sales tax?
Sorry, Thelma Grimes, but I take issue with your article. Your critique of the Oro Valley Town Council’s recent decision does not bear scrutiny. Give the hard working and dedicated staff of the town a break.
So here’s a new revenue idea for Oro Valley… start a lottery to pick the date when the public realizes the real amount of taxes they have voted for.
Let me first state that I am absolutely opposed to the acquisition of the El Conquistador property. I am also in disagreement that Oro Valley needs a community center as one of its top priorities. Lastly, I am shocked that a decision of this magnitude including financial impact to our community is allowed two weeks for input.
The heading in the Explorer reads, Oro Valley to buy Hilton golf course raise taxes: In her column, the editor questions the reasoning for getting stuck with 45 holes of golf, while Mr. Zinkin and Garner also disagree with the decision. But I have a different objections. If Oro Valley wants more golf, and other facilities, why should I be expected to pay for these Oro Valley facilities, because I make a mistake of shopping in Oro Valley?
The Oro Valley Country Club golf course.
Great Gift to the Town of Oro Valley
After more than a month of speculation, the Oro Valley Town Council finally thought it was time to include those taxpaying citizens in on the secret that they were going to be buying a golf course for $1 million. They stress that it comes with a community center though.
Mayor Hiremath, Council Members Waters, Snider, and Hornat have all just been re-elected to the town council by wide margins. This is the same group that, during their first term, doubled the Utility tax. Now they are proposing to buy the El Conquistador Country Club and raise the Town’s sales tax to pay for it. We all agree that Oro Valley needs a community center, but we do not agree on whether or not we need to rush into making a commitment that not all desire.