- Your Voice
In the March 25 edition of The Explorer, “You Say”, George Kavvouras poses that the Oro Valley town council is slighting the youth of the town by its decision to purchase the El Conquistador Country Club Complex “for the geriatric set”. I strongly disagree with his position,
Was the purchase of the land and clubhouse at El Conquistador for $1 million by the Town of Oro Valley a wise decision? We believe it was. The acquisition of over 300 acres of prime land and a clubhouse, to be used for a town recreation center, is well worth the money invested in this purchase. As taxpayers and homeowners in OV, we agree that the minimal tax on my future purchases is a sound investment.
Oro Valley residents opposed to the Town Council’s split vote to purchase the El Conquistador Country Club and golf courses are collecting signatures to recall Mayor Satish Hiremath and Councilmembers Lou Waters, Joe Hornat and Mary Snider.
How about a compromise? Give the O.V. Town Council their golf course if they agree to leave Big Wash completely alone, no roads, homes or schools. This area bordered by Tangerine, Rancho Vistoso and Innovation Parkway is a much needed and viable open space for the diverse amount of wildlife that not only live there but depend on it to move from one area to another. It would also provide a constant respite from the overwhelming amount of high density homes that continue to flourish.
I respect the right of citizens to challenge the decisions of legislative bodies by the referendum process. However, it is the responsibility of those who exercise this process to strictly follow the state laws established to safeguard the integrity of the process. In the case of the recent petition of the decision by the OV Town Council the organizers did not comply with the law. The law explicitly requires the placement of the serial number on all petitions in the lower right corner of both sides of the petition. On the surface this might appear as a minor technicality. But it is not. The Secretary of State is required to invalidate petitions not having the requisite serial numbers. If one reads the requirements for circulating and submitting petitions it is precise. These requirements are necessary for the integrity of the process and to prevent fraudulent signatures. The state courts have stated that strict compliance with state law on referendums is mandatory. If one just used intention as the determining factor of the submission of petitions you can easily corrupt the process. Dotting the i and crossing the t is critical in this case and the organizers failed to so. They now look to the court to bail them out at a cost to you and me.
Marana Mayor Ed Honea doesn’t care if the state balances its budget (Explorer Feb. 21). I (and a lot of others) do care that the state has a balanced budget, and not by me (or us) paying higher fees and taxes to the state that then get cycled back to Marana. Nor am I (or we) interested in paying higher costs for goods that result from higher business fees and taxes paid to the state cycling that money back to Marana.
“It was so easy to get these signatures,” “disrespect of the voices of the residents” and “lost confidence and trust” were just a few of the things said in Oro Valley last Wednesday.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
For $1 million the Town of Oro Valley is getting over 300 acres of prime land in the middle of our community, over 31,000 square feet of useable space for recreation, meetings, exercise, and food and beverage services, 31 tennis courts, two swimming pools, and 3 golf courses. By any measure this is a good deal when one considers that we have many homes in Oro Valley that far exceed the $1 million figure.
On Nov. 19, the Oro Valley Town Council amended two portions of the town’s zoning code. One portion dealt with businesses temporary signs during extended road construction periods and the other gave the town engineer discretion when it came to where a complex can have an access point off Tangerine Road. Both were approved unanimously with a 6-0 vote.
A little over a year ago, I wrote an article for The Explorer entitled: “In OV, we’re proud of our young people, and we want them to know it.” The inspiration behind that piece was my ongoing commitment to the youth in our community, and the responsibilities we have to ensure they are engaged and recognized.
Those anticipating the arrival of the Big Horn Commerce Center in Oro Valley will have to wait a little bit longer.
Oro Valley residents are in the midst of turning a vision into reality.
Why are you running for Town Council?
Why are you running for Town Council?
Why are you running for Town Council?