- Your Voice
Shirl Lamonna (right) hands more than 3,000 signatures to Oro Valley Town Clerk Julie Bower on Thursday, Jan. 15. Lamonna’s citizens’ group gathered the signatures with the hope of forcing a public vote on the town council’s recent decision to purchase the El Conquistador country club and golf courses for a community center. (Hillary Davis/The Explorer)
HSL Properties President Humberto S. Lopez recently spoke at the Greater Oro Valley Chamber’s breakfast. He commented on the sale of the Hilton El Conquistador Country Club to the Town of Oro Valley. Lopez stated that he is willing to hold the $1 million offer until May if Oro Valley goes through a referendum process.
Donut holes stand in for golf balls for Tee'd Off Over Tax Hike (TOOTH), the citizens' group opposed to the Town of Oro Valley's planned purchase of the El Conquistador country club and golf courses. (Hillary Davis/The Explorer)
The Oro Valley Town Clerk has rejected the petition filed by opponents of the town council’s decision to purchase the El Conquistador country club and golf courses because the signature sheets did not bear a serial number.
Organizers of the referendum petition drive that could reverse the Town of Oro Valley’s planned purchase of the El Conquistador country club and golf courses handed the town clerk more than 3,000 signatures Thursday.
Shirl Lamonna (right) hands more than 3,000 signatures to Oro Valley Town Clerk Julie Bower on Thursday, Jan. 15. Lamonna’s citizens’ group gathered the signatures with the hope of forcing a public vote on the town council’s recent decision to purchase the El Conquistador country club and golf courses for a community center. (Hillary Davis/Tucson Local Media)
ll three high schools in the Amphitheater School District are working to keep graduation night safe for our seniors, and the community. The Annual Oro Valley Cup Golf Tournament benefiting Project Graduation will be held Friday, February 6, 2014 at the Hilton El Conquistador Country Club in Oro Valley.
On Dec.17, the mayor, with the votes from three other Oro Valley Council Members passed an Ordinance and a Resolution to raise our sales tax and to buy the El Conquistador Country Club facility, including three golf courses for $1,000,000. This was done without Voter Approval.
On Dec.17, the mayor, with the votes from three other Oro Valley Council members passed an ordinance and a resolution to raise our sales tax and to buy the El Conquistador Country Club facility, including three golf courses for $1,000,000. This was done without voter approval.
Upset with the rushed deadlines and lack of transparency in the proposed country club purchase, I had an email exchange with Councilman Joe Hornat just prior to the Dec. 17 meeting. When asked why on earth the town would want to get into a declining industry like the golf course business, Mr. Hornat replied “we don’t want to be in the golf business and that is why we will be hiring Troon to do that.” Really? If the town owns a golf club, it is in the golf course business. Period. And by extension, so are all Oro Valley residents, like it or not.
In regards to the recent vote by the Oro Valley Town Council majority to approve the acquisition of El Conquistador country club, I want to express my support for the plan and vote. Many Oro Valley residents like me are in support of this project, but once again a vocal minority are speaking out and making this seems like a horrible idea. The opportunity to purchase 300 plus acres of influential property along with the buildings valued at $3.25 million for $1 million is a great deal. Sure, the property needs improvement and upgrades, but that’s part of operating any piece of property. Once the initial repairs are made, the subsequent maintenance should not be anything beyond the level of maintenance at other municipal facilities that the town already owns. To build facilities like this today, it would cost the town nearly $20 million. In that sense, this acquisition should be a no-brainer.
The El Conquistador golf courses and environs could potentially have seen some redevelopment had a private buyer have stepped in instead of the Town of Oro Valley— but the town’s zoning shows there’d be hoops to jump through, and a key line in the property’s appraisal shows that redevelopment of at least some the fairways wouldn’t be legal.
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.
I was very disappointed to discover that a small group of citizens is planning a legal move to block the Oro Valley acquisition of the El Conquistador Country Club (ECCC) property, which jeopardizes a much-wanted community center. Sadly there is also a group of Sun City residents who have joined in. This group is only concerned with their own interests and not the greater good of Oro Valley.
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.
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.
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.
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.