- Your Voice
It is tough for the group who worked diligently for weeks to find out in heartbreaking fashion that thousands of signatures were thrown out on a technicality. Needing just over 1,100 signatures, the group trying to get the council’s approved purchase of a $1 million golf course, and let’s not forget the coveted community center, overturned by voters in a special election turned in more than 3,100 signatures.
As students in middle and high school, we learned about our federal government in civics classes. We became well-versed in the Constitution, the three branches of government, the importance of checks and balances and the Bill of Rights.
Looking at recent events that have occurred in the past few weeks I am reminded of a famous quote of Ronald Reagan’s: “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.” Involvement in your local government is truly paramount to reminding elected officials of what you would like to see happen in our community, especially when it comes to the use of your tax dollars.
The Town of Oro Valley is at a crossroads. We have the opportunity to purchase 324 acres of land in the heart of our community, a 31,475-square-foot building which could be converted into a community and recreation center, 31 tennis courts, 45 holes of golf and two swimming pools, all for $1 million in cash over a three-year period.
Opponents of the Town of Oro Valley’s decision to buy the El Conquistador country club and golf facilities are suing the town clerk for rejecting the petition they filed to send the purchase to the ballot.
While Marana and Oro Valley officials say they like the energy and the basics of Gov. Doug Ducey’s message, they worry the budget lacks new taxes and takes from education and local municipalities.
After a verbal kerfuffle between Mayor Satish Hiremath and Councilman Brendan Burns during the Jan. 7 council meeting, Hiremath called for a three-minute recess “until councilman Burns can actually control himself.”
I have read with interest the ongoing “conversation” regarding the town purchase of the El Conquistador property, including the latest letter from Mr. Skip Stevens, in your most recent publication.
We are saying goodbye to 2014, a year that went by too quickly. We are saying hello to a new year, 2015, and for the most part, I can’t say I’m too optimistic about it.
Oro Valley Councilman Brendan Burns has been sentenced to two years probation and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing for a May 20 incident in Oro Valley involving his estranged wife.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
Oro Valley’s top officials know the town’s recently unveiled plans to raise sales taxes and to purchase the El Conquistador golf and recreation facilities seem rushed and unorthodox – but it’s a rare opportunity that may never come around again, they say.
Nearly 300 people, mostly veterans and their families, were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony of the new State Veteran’s Cemetery in Marana.
The race between Democratic Congressman Ron Barber and Republican challenger Martha McSally remained too close to call as of the Explorer’s Monday deadline, with McSally holding a slim 341-vote lead over Barber.
A citizen response to the article written by Mr. Randy Metcalf, published in the Oct. 22, in The Explorer, summarizing discussion surrounding a “Motion to Initiate a 60-day Public Notice Process” for future discussion regarding revenue options for the Town of Oro Valley:
Having just read Mr. Cunnington’s letter about the Democrat Prime Directive I am at a loss. I am an elected Democratic Precinct Committeeman in and for Precinct No. 194, Pima County on the executive committees for the Pima County Democrats, (Legislative District 11), and Democrats of Oro Valley and have never heard of this Directive. I know that we do not endorse or campaign for any members of a different party but that is the extent of what he may be talking about. He may have a couple of his Tea Party Directives confused will the Democratic Party ideals.