“Regional collaboration is what happens when you think outside the box…By creating and taking advantage of opportunities for partnership, we have learned to extend our resources while redefining success and financial stability.”
Those familiar words came from my 2012 State of the Town Address, in which I focused on the concept of “success through collaboration.” It’s been exactly a year since the Town of Oro Valley forged two very strategic partnerships, and I wanted to recognize those successes.
In an effort to meet the transportation needs of our residents, while maintaining efficient and cost-effective services, the Town of Oro Valley entered into a partnership with the Regional Transportation Authority one year ago to launch the Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride transit service.
This new, town-operated service was an integration of the former Coyote Run senior transit, Handi Car paratransit and the RTA Sun Shuttle circulator services into a single, expanded service that provides mobility to more residents in our community.
If you’re wondering whether this partnership has been successful, let’s take a look at the numbers: annual ridership of 28,974 reflects an increase of 14,601 passenger trips per year, or 102 percent during the same time last year. And according to a recent passenger survey, overall customer satisfaction is high, and ridership continues to grow.
In addition to expanding transit service for our residents, this partnership is producing an annual savings of $154,000 for the town and $125,000 for the RTA.
We are extremely pleased with the results of this partnership after just one year, and we will continue working with our friends at the RTA to identify additional areas of improvement and shared resources.
Also one year ago, the town of Oro Valley partnered with the City of Tucson for the delivery of Central Arizona Project (CAP) water. As a result, the Town has been able to deliver actual CAP water from the Colorado River for the first time ever.
The Oro Valley Water Utility promised us that this partnership would result in the delivery of approximately 1,500-acre-feet of our CAP water into our potable water system each year, significantly reducing our reliance on groundwater and preserving our aquifer. They have delivered on that promise.
To date, more than 500 million gallons of Oro Valley’s CAP water have been delivered to our water customers, reducing groundwater usage by 15 percent in 2012. Combined with our reclaimed water delivery, which was also the result of regional cooperation with the City of Tucson, 37 percent of our water supply now comes from renewable water sources.
Our future depends not only on the resources we acquire, but also on our ability to put those water resources to use by working cooperatively with our neighboring jurisdictions, water providers and customers.
I’m proud that we can look back at these partnerships and, after only one year, see tangible successes that are already improving the services we provide and quality of life for our community.
As we move forward, Oro Valley remains committed to engaging in partnerships and collaborations that will result in the success of the entire region.
(Editor’s Note: Satish Hiremath is the mayor of Oro Valley.)