The Northwest EXPLORER has asked the 14 Oro Valley Town Council candidates to answer 10 questions about various issues affecting the town. Most of the questions were asked in a way that encouraged the candidates to take a position on the issue or provide specific ideas or solutions. It is the Northwest EXPLORER's intent that in providing the answers to these questions, readers will gain some insight as to where each candidate stands on these issues, how well informed they are about them and how they may govern the town if elected. The candidates were limited to 100 words or less per answer.
1. Why did Oro Valley voters reject the General Plan and what changes will you propose that will cause voters to pass it?
Richard Feinberg: The General Plan was rejected, I believe, because the citizens of Oro Valley in the past few years have developed a lack of trust with the town. If the town had adhered to more of the recommendations of its steering committee, I believe it would have passed. The plan didn't apply consistent commitment so that the citizens could rely on it. There are two policy statements. There should be one. Mixed Use Neighborhood was supposed to be taken out, it was left in. Two many loopholes, ambiguity and contradictions were in the plan. Fix Them.
Helen Dankwerth: Voters rejected the General Plan because they DO NOT want mixed use neighborhoods (particularly on small sites) or high density housing. Passage will be likely if ALL references to MUN's are removed; a majority, rather than minority vote of the council is required to increase housing density; and equivocal language (ie: may/could) is replaced by "shall/will", thus reducing interpretation open to abuse of the letter and spirit of the plan.
Lyra Done: The General Plan is a long, complex document and many voters may not have had the opportunity to learn about all of its details before they voted. Some voters may have cast their vote based on incomplete or inaccurate information. Citizen participation is vital to the development of a General Plan for the town of Oro Valley and it is important that citizens increase their level of participation in the democratic process. In particular, those who voted against the General Plan must actively participate in the development of a General Plan they will support in the polling place.
Al Kunisch: The General Plan was not accepted by voters because of an effective campaign against it. Opponents of the General Plan led voters to believe that a vote for the Plan was a vote for an Oro Valley property tax. Not true. Oro Valley can only have a property tax if the voters specifically approve one. As a member of the Steering Committee, I believe that we should not scrap the General Plan. Instead, we need an open and informed discussion of the Plan. If plan proponents and opponents work together, we can have a General Plan that voters will pass.
Jon Robson: Oro Valley voters rejected the General Plan because the dissenters were more vocal than the silent majority. The council did not market the plan as it should have to ensure the public understood the plans composition and direction. Furthermore, the concept of multiple use neighborhoods was to have been excluded, but wasn't. As a consequence, public distrust resulted in what the remainder of the plan might include that would not be in the voters interests. The plan would pass if it was simple, forceful, and presented positively to the public.
Don Cox: The General Plan failed because the Town of Oro Valley failed to provide the citizens with accurate and timely information regarding the Plan. The opposition to the General Plan did a fine job of providing the public with very timely, deceptive and inflammatory information. They were able to convince the public that a Yes vote on the plan would mean an increase in taxes. Seeking unbiased information from voters as to why they opposed the Plan is a prudent course to follow. Only then will those responsible for making the changes truly know what changes to make.
Terry Parish: Oro Valley voters rejected the General Plan because they did not agree with the town council regarding our future. Voters did not like the uncertainty left in the plan as to what direction the town would take or even if the plan was to be followed. Words like "Mixed Use" were left in the plan, to be defined later. Further complicating the issue, the General Plan did not consider the effects that the areas surrounding Oro Valley will have on our town's future. How can we call any document a plan if it fails to address the future from a global perspective?
Barry Gillaspie: Problems that require change include: The plan makes it easier to change uses to higher intensity land use than lower intensity land use particularly within a growth area; people in or around growth areas will not have the representation they deserve. Mixed Use Development, although not mapped is discussed and inadequately defined. Plan wording must be precise to ensure that it is followed, consistently applied and that the Council is held accountable. The P&Z and the town council significantly modified the content witnessed by the steering committee in the final stages, disenfranchising citizen support. Let's not let this happen again.
Mark Ellis: The General Plan and its lack of support among Oro Valley residents is a perfect example of disconnect between the members of the town council and the residents they are elected to represent. The General Plan as presented was rejected by 60 percent of the voters. There were concerns over zoning, high density housing and mixed use neighborhoods, that were expressed in various methods to the town council, but they failed to follow these recommendations. The town council went ahead with policies and concepts that reflected the council's agenda and was not responsive to the concerns of Oro Valley residents.
Bart Rochman: At this time, the town has no definitive evidence for voter rejection of the General Plan. There is a committee currently working on a procedure to determine the reasons. Once these various reasons are determined, they will be addressed and the revised plan will be submitted for passage. My own personal survey indicates many reasons for rejection, some of which were confusion over references to taxes, mixed use neighborhoods, and special resource areas.
Dick Johnson: We didn't do a good job informing our fellow citizens that the plan only affects less than 10 percent of Oro Valley's land and that it would not raise taxes. We've formed a task force to survey our residents about their specific concerns. With that information, we'll make some changes and re-submit it for a vote.
Conny Culver: Had I been on council, I would have VOTED NO to the plan and saved the town the cost of an election. When 60 percent of the public rejects a $500,000 plan approved by council, that's an indication there is a serious gap in representation. Reasons it failed: 1. The citizens have repeatedly rejected Mixed Use Neighborhoods (MUN). Council promised this issue was dead, yet the failed General Plan brought MUN's back to life! 2. It was too easy to increase density and too hard to preserve open space. 3. The failed plan gave permission for growth we can't afford.
Steve Conrad: Citizens rejected, as I did, the General Plan because it did not reflect their desires. A review of the 2002, Community Survey Results Report shows that a majority of residents want open space and nature preserves to be a priority, town revenue from increased development fees, do not favor large shopping centers nor support the development of apartments. Despite an excellent process, an exhaustive survey, and an expensive study, the plan failed to deliver the desires of the community. I would promote strengthening support for open spaces and small neighborhood retail centers, while removing aggressive language for large commercial centers.
Ken Carter: I believe that the defeat of the general plan was due to the residents' input being used sometimes and many other times this was not considered. The history of the existing council voting against the majority of the residents' wishes. The residents were told that mixed use would not be used and would be left out of the plan, this did not take place. Form a group of Oro Valley residents and have this group formulate the new general plan. I believe both sides represented and blending (which is required) will result in an acceptable plan.
2. What is your solution to the town's fire and emergency services debate? If you propose a town-run fire department, please say how it will be funded.
Feinberg: For the next few years I would keep the two fire providers. When Oro Valley implements the new level of standards, Golder Ranch and Rural/Metro will provide even better service than at the present. Competition will keep the standards high. After a few years I believe the goal should be to have one town provider. The town of Oro Valley should not get into the fire service business. I believe it will cost the citizens more money than at present, plenty of red tape and where is the town getting the money to start a new fire service?
Dankwerth: I OPPOSE a municipally run fire department. I support the selection of Golder Ranch/Northwest Fire (should the merger occur) as the sole, town-wide service supplier, providing the current high standards continue to be met or exceeded. Following a comprehensive analysis of costs, tax implications, necessary additional infrastructure and personnel, inclusive of future annexation requirements, (to be publicly displayed, explained, and commented upon) it should by brought to a vote by Oro Valley citizens.
Done: The debate is the solution to the fire and emergency services issue. A constructive dialogue will help ensure the best overall option is selected for implementation. As a member of the town council, it would be my responsibility to see the citizens have the best and most cost-effective fire and emergency services available. Currently, our possible sources for fire and emergency services are a private company, a fire district, and a traditional fire department. All of the options have pros and cons, and an open discussion of these pros and cons will inform the solution to this issue.
Kunsich: After speaking with fire and town officials, I am not convinced that we need a town-run fire department at this time. It is up to the property owners to select whom they want as a fire provider. However, I do support uniform fire protection standards for the entire Town.
Robson: The town's fire and emergency services ideally should be that of a single provider. By the formation of a single fire/emergency district covering the entire town supported by a fire district tax, responsible standards could be established. In the event that objective cannot be achieved in the short term, providing for two fire districts covering the town could be an acceptable interim measure.
Cox: Oro Valley is currently served by two fire services. The concerns created by this dual service make it clear that one provider is necessary. A lengthy, costly but productive process already established standards for fire service. The Town needs to enact those standards sooner rather than later.
Parish: Public safety is the primary responsibility of any government. The town of Oro Valley is in the unique position to be able to facilitate excellent fire service without incurring the costs normally associated. Golder Ranch Fire District needs to be expanded to cover the entire town. This must be done in a thoughtful manner in order to prevent a reduction in the service already provided to the Sun City and Copper Creek areas. I do not understand why we are contemplating the expenditure of $12.5 million dollars so that we can contract with these same resources.
Gillaspie: I favor high quality professional fire and emergency services for all residents. To this end, I support expansion of the Golder Ranch fire district. This method would be competitive in cost effectiveness at a high level of service to our citizens. Fire districts fund their operations through the assessed valuation of property, which can provide some tax benefit to the customer. These revenues are returned directly to fire and emergency services, not the general fund of a town where they may by diverted. Fire districts have elected governing boards that can be replaced by the customer as needed.
Ellis: The town council must take action to ensure that each member of this town is entitled to similar fire and emergency services. As a member of the town council, I'd emphasize the importance of a "single" fire provider. I support Golder Ranch Fire District expanding its coverage to encompass all of Oro Valley. Golder Ranch has higher standards, combined with superior equipment and manpower. Funds supporting the district are raised from a tax determined by the fire district based on property values. This tax is billed through the county's property tax and will lower the rate for all residents.
Rochman: The town has collected information on fire protection standards and should now adopt those needed for Oro Valley. Once this is done, the town should select the fire service provider(s) to be used to assure the residents that they will have the best fire protection available. This will be done after information on all options including costs for fire service delivery has been gathered and studied.
Johnson: One of the primary duties of a city or town is to provide emergency services. Oro Valley is in a unique position with a for-profit company and governmental district splitting fire protection duties. We are developing fire standards that both entities will have to meet to provide more equal protection to all residents, regardless of whether they live in the fire district or contract with Rural/Metro.
Culver: On the issue of fire protection, the current leadership has spent over 5 years and $50,000 "investigating our options". After my election, I will propose the direction of a single service provider. I believe Golder Ranch offers the best service and response time. Golder Ranch is a public entity, all records are public, and people have access to them. They are required to conduct an independent audit each year and the results of that audit are filed with the Board of Supervisors and the County Treasurer.
Conrad: First, I do not believe that fire production be a for-profit engagement. Residents deserve the security in knowing that fire protection will always exist and not be in jeopardy of bankruptcy or other financial pitfalls. With that, the first step to resolve Oro Valley's fire coverage issues is to define the fire and emergency standards that will serve Oro Valley Residents. These standards will define the level of service required and a common non-elective cost assessment methodology for all residents. Following standards, I support a single provider be chosen that can most effectively meet these standards from existing providers.
Carter: First, all areas of the town need equal servicing. I believe this can be done by making the new fire ordinance, which is planned and specified that the requirements for equal coverage be provided. I do not propose the town starting a new fire department. Give both fire companies a chance to show that they can meet the requirements and serve the town. The residents expect and should have coverage equal in all parts of town.
3. The town attorney has opined that granting the town's police officers union exclusive bargaining rights for all officers is unconstitutional. The officers union's lawyer says it is constitutional. The debate has the town and the majority of its police officers at loggerheads. How do you propose to resolve this issue?
Feinberg: The legal aspect for bargaining rights for OVPOA must be settled so that the Town and the officers can move forward. I believe the officers have the right to "meet and confer." If both parties can't find an amiable solution then it will be up to the courts, and who wants that. The officers should unite and organize a single group. Being united will give them strength to attain the best working conditions they can get. If they continually fight among themselves they'll go nowhere fast.
Dankwerth: Majority rule being a hallmark of the democratic process, I SUPPORT the position for OVPOA exclusive bargaining rights. I believe that multiple bargaining agents would diminish overall effectiveness in addressing officers' issues with the town. Twelve towns/cities in Arizona, inclusive of 4,000 police officers, currently implement exclusive bargaining rights. NONE have been sued (to date) for non-compliance with the state constitution. Council must not allow itself to be intimidated by a handful of persons, but must exercise the courage of its convictions and strengthen the morale of our public servants.
Done: Differing legal interpretations are the foundation of a healthy democracy. Informed attorneys are aware of a variety of alternative dispute resolution venues available for resolving labor disputes. If the town and the police officers' union do not reach an agreement on their own, then the dispute could be resolved by another means. Although this dispute could be resolved in court, it would be an unnecessarily costly and time-consuming process. I am confident that in the meantime our dedicated law enforcement officers will continue to serve with the level of professionalism that has earned them the reputation they have today.
Kunisch: Two unions currently represent Oro Valley police officers. One is the Oro Valley Police Officers' Association and the other is the Fraternal Order of Police. After speaking with members of the OVPD, I learned that the membership of these unions is fairly equal since many officers belong to both of these unions. Instead of the town council deciding which union will represent the officers, I believe that the officers should decide this among themselves. Currently, both unions represent the officers. I don't see how dual representation disadvantages the officers in negotiations with the town.
Robson: Since countering legal opinions regarding the police officers exclusive bargaining rights exist, putting the town council in the middle, it would be most appropriate to place the issue before the voters. I believe that a sincere effort ought to be made to make things happen in the best interests of the community. If the majority of the police officers want to constitute a single entity to negotiate with the town, I would support their endeavors.
Cox: The differences between the two factions within our great police department are an internal matter that should be decided internally. The town council must take the advice of the town attorney, seek other counsel or put the town and themselves at risk of civil action. The two factions have already signed an agreement regarding negotiations with the town. This is a good beginning that should be a foundation for further agreements. The town should offer assistance to both sides to mediate the differences.
Parish: It is unconscionable to think that it is unconstitutional for our police to be represented by a democratically elected group of their peers. Other towns and cities have enacted similar ordinances. Are they all wrong? Furthermore it must be stated that the suggested ordinance does not grant the Oro Valley Police Officer's Association or the F.O.P. exclusive bargaining rights. It simply gives the officers a choice and then compels the town manager to negotiate with that choice. If I'm elected I will work to provide our police with these rights.
Gillaspie: I support the right of our public safety officers to select the representation of their choice. The legislation offered by the police officer's union allows the police to change representation, if desired, at defined intervals not to exceed two years. This allows due process for all of the town's public safety personnel and allows them to change representation if it does not meet their needs. Failure to move on this issue will only contribute to continued problems with morale, which could effect recruitment.
Ellis: The current situation involving the town's police officers union and the town attorney reflects the lack of cooperation and compromise to resolve important issues at all levels. This conflict has created differences that must be resolved. I'm deeply concerned about the amount of taxpayer time and money spent on this disagreement. The police want to elect leaders to represent their interests while the town maintains its position resisting such action. This ordinance should be placed on the agenda to be further debated and discussed with members of the council asked to make a decision.
Rochman: The town attorney has opined that we are being asked to take an unconstitutional action and would likely face a lawsuit that our best information tells us we would lose. The taxpayers of the town would rightly wonder why we would do that. The OVPOA could still get what they want if, as already proposed, they put an initiative on the ballot. If the OVPOA election is successful, the voters will have told us that they are willing to assume the risk and costs of a lawsuit. If it fails, the issue is resolved.
Johnson: All citizens can hire attorneys on matters that affect the and those attorneys often disagree with the town attorney. But the major and members of the town council have an obligation to follow the advice of the town attorney. If they don't, they put Oro Valley, its taxpayers and themselves at risk for lawsuits. If a majority of the governing body disagrees with the town attorney and agrees with the opinion of another attorney, they have the power to name a new town attorney.
Culver: Our police have the right to decide who will represent them. We live in a democratic society and this is how things are done. Unfortunately, our town is paying legal fees due to their interference in this process. I am deeply concerned that council has been unable to reach an accord with our first defenders, our police. Perhaps the simplest solution is to meet with other cities and towns and examine their policies with respect to police. Oro Valley does not need to incur additional legal bills and/or jeopardize our relationship with our fine officers.
Conrad: In my experience, it is nearly impossible to negotiate equitable solutions when dealing with two bargaining groups. Like the 12 other cities and towns in Arizona and many more around the nation, the best approach is to deal with a single group, one voted on and appointed by Oro Valley Public Service employees. The duty of the council is to provide the leadership that best supports the citizens and employees of the town. If at some point, the general town charter conflicts with the best interest of the town, then I would support Oro Valley pursuing its own charter.
Carter: Question, is the approach by the union of police officers legal by the laws of Arizona? The council should not give the police union exclusive rights until the above question is answered. Get a legal ruling on this matter from our courts. The police officers must settle who will represent the entire group themselves.
4. The town is considering preserving several historic and archaeological sites. Should the town be in the history business? If no, explain why. If yes, explain why and say how preserving the various sites will be funded.
Feinberg: William S. Collins PH.D, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer said, "No community that I know of has ever regretted the decision to preserve the property that best represents its cultural heritage." There is a Pima County bond issue that will be before the citizens to approve in May. The town council and the citizens must support this extremely important issue. Funds in this bond will be for the Steam Pump Ranch, the Kelly Ranch, the Hohokam prehistoric site and property north of the Naranja Park. Supporting open space, historical and cultural sites are supporting Oro Valley's heart and soul.
Dankwerth: Preservation of historical/archaeological sites is a MUST - they are few in number, and an integral part of our identity. Funding should be through a combination of Pima Country bond allocations, corporate funding, foundation grants, and local business and individual donations.
Done: Historic and archaeological artifacts are fragile diaries of people who developed a community where we live today. This heritage is not a renewable resource so we should respect and preserve it to the extent possible. With the assistance of relevant experts, the Town of Oro Valley should identify the most valuable historic and archaeological sites and then pursue the public and private resources needed to preserve these sites. Public sources of preservation funding may be available, and technical assistance may be available from the University of Arizona. Private interests may also support the preservation effort through donations and in-kind contributions.
Kunisch: Historical sites provide us with an important link to the past. The people of Oro Valley are reminded of the past when they glimpse at the petroglyphs in Honey Bee Canyon, when they walk through the ancient Hohokam Honey Bee Village, or when they stand on Steam Pump Ranch. The town should be in the "history business" because if we lose these sites, we will lose them forever. The town should preserve our past for all future generations.
Robson: To preserve the town's historic and archaeological sites is important, if for nothing else than to realize that which you studied as a current event is now that which is studied as history by your children. Applying for and receiving federal and state grants, soliciting business sponsorship, and creating an historical society focusing on fund raising to acquire and preserve these sites are mechanisms to be pursued for funding support. Certainly bond issues also could provide the means to accomplish the preservation.
Cox: Ideally, no. Oro Valley should address its core responsibilities. These are to provide high quality, needed public services to its citizens. However, the sites being considered for preservation have such a symbiotic relationship with Oro Valley, the town cannot be passive in this situation. The Land Conservation Committee, a newly created private group of citizens should receive the support of the town. Private donations, government grants, grants from philanthropic organizations and local Indian tribes should be actively sought to fund this kind of activity. Failing this, the citizens should be asked to support this preservation with a small sales tax.
Parish: Preserving history is important. I believe that the town could facilitate the preservation of historical sites without having to incur the costs. The Heritage Foundation and state grants could be part of that process along with other private funding. The town should also explore corporate sponsorships to increase our success.
Gillaspie: Yes. Historic preservation is a critical element to building a livable and sustainable community that provides a high quality of life. It would be short sighted not to attempt to preserve our historic resources. Funding will have to be pursued on multiple fronts. The Pima County bond process, if successful, will meet some of the needs but not all. Community and private partnerships will be necessary to ensure that we can move forward without taxing the citizens. Appropriate trade offs with property owners that are in the best interests of the citizens may also be feasible.
Ellis: I feel strongly that the town should preserve the area's beauty and history. Preserving our cultural and historic resources enrich the lives of residents and visitors. Preserving historic and archaeological sites such as Steam Pump Ranch, Kelly Ranch and Hohokam Village reflects the history of this area and protects these significant contributions to our community. The funding of this preservation should come through private organizations dedicated to such activity. Conservation groups such as The Land Conservation Committee can obtain the resources and successfully complete the preservation with the support of the town council.
Rochman: The town has already taken its first step in the process of preserving the Steam Pump Ranch and the Hohokam Village sites. The two sites have been included in the Oro Valley portion of the proposed May county bond issue vote. Funds from this source plus any state, federal and historical funding organizations should be researched and solicited. The town should be in contact with the recently formed independent Land Conservation Committee.
Johnson: It's very important to preserve as much of our history and heritage as we can, and Oro Valley town government should be involved in that effort. Some preservation efforts will require town funding, either through the current year's budget or through bonding, but others can be accomplished through the rezoning process. I favor tailoring the solution for each historical site to the circumstances.
Culver: Historic sites play a vital role in our identity and there are few left in Oro Valley and the surrounding area. I believe we should vigorously support this effort by raising public awareness, seek corporate sponsorship, and fundraising to manage the cost. For example, Cave Creek, Ariz. has a vibrant and active archeological group and a supportive council. When I am elected, I plan to visit with Cave Creek's council to learn more about their highly regarded program and how it operates.
Conrad: Categorically the town should pursue preserving its history. Without its history, Oro Valley could potential become an indistinctive collection of houses around centers of commercialism. It is the history that makes the downtown of Santa Fe, the chinatown of San Francisco, and the liberty square of Philadelphia so easy to bring to mind. The preservation and enhancement of Oro Valley's core will provide prosperity and a sense of community to all citizens. To fund preservation efforts, I would support the creation of preservation districts that would include special development impact fees for building within the district.
Carter: We should preserve certain areas which have historic and archaeological values to the history of Oro Valley. These areas should be used up for commercial or housing. Each area need not be developed immediately but should be retained and a long range plan developed for purchase.
5. Should the town continue to expand its borders through annexation? If no, say why. If yes, identify areas the town should attempt to annex in the near future.
Feinberg; Oro Valley should benefit not only in getting bigger but also to get better. Getting better means, is there an economic benefit like more tax revenues, unique upscale stores so that citizens can shop there and keep the revenue in Oro Valley, in short, "Stop Leakage." Annexing state property in the north would allow more Tech Park and Campus Park Development, which employs higher salaries. Not only should Oro Valley get better but we should offer the new citizens to be annexed a Quality of Life that they will want to come with open arms and not law suits.
Dankwerth: Expansion continuing south to Ina, east to the Westward Look Resort, west to Shannon (inclusive of the Foothills Mall), and north to the Pinal County line is necessary to provide tax revenues for the services/amenities demanded by our citizens. Initially, the cost of providing additional infrastructure will preclude sizeable revenue - but, over time, annexation of proven commercial areas will be both cost effective and a stimulant to further economic development.
Done: Our community continues to expand because of the high standards of public service that we provide. It is inevitable that the Town of Oro Valley will continue to grow, and it is important we provide the same level of public service to newcomers as we do to current residents and businesses. The annexation of developed areas will allow the Town of Oro Valley to provide area residents and business with the level of public service they value. Likewise, the annexation of undeveloped areas will establish strong development standards that will protect the value of our existing developed areas.
Kunisch: Yes, the town should continue to annex. The town should proceed down Oracle Road to Ina Road and then east to First Avenue, which includes Westward Look Resort. Oro Valley should also consider the area south to Ina Road and west to Shannon.
Robson: Expanding the town's borders through annexation should be accomplished but only under certain conditions. The annexation must be a financial plus, that is the revenues must outweigh the expenses. The annexation must preserve and enhance the existent community. The annexation must be citizen driven and approved.
Cox: Yes. The State of Arizona/Pima County land to the north and the land to the west and south currently controlled by Pima County. However we must accomplish this annexation in a manner that is fiscally responsible.
Parish: Some annexation over the next few years is and will continue to be necessary. Annexations should benefit the town financially and cannot be allowed to diminish Oro Valley's unique character. Annexation gives the town more control over future development and if used correctly will bring new revenue streams to the town without increasing population density.
Gillaspie: I am not in favor of poorly planned annexation that detrimentally impacts the existing Oro Valley services, but I understand that annexation may provide for revenue and potential job creation. I support annexation when it meets the favorable cost/benefit analysis criteria and when it favors economic development and enhancement to our quality of life. Annexation must adhere to, not diminish, Oro Valley standards. Areas the town should consider annexing include the Casas Adobes/Westwood Look area, the Foothills Mall area and state land to the north.
Ellis: Oro Valley should continue to expand its borders but only after a thoughtful decision making process and the support of citizens on both sides of annexation. This process means additional services that must be provided to surrounding areas that in most cases are highly urbanized and with significant residential development. Through annexation additional revenue is made available through income tax and sales tax that should remain in our community. With regulations related to "state shared revenues" which requires shared revenues to ONLY be returned to incorporated towns this process is the only way to ensure additional funding for Oro Valley.
Rochman: Any area that wished to be annexed to the town should be looked at on its own merits. The town should look at annexation of the Oracle/Ina area, the Westward Look area, and the Foothills Mall area; if these areas are receptive to becoming a part of Oro Valley and (a.) Town services can be provided in a timely manner (b.) Projected revenue exceeds projected expense (c.) There are no other reasons not to proceed, then the annexation process should go forward.
Johnson: Absolutely, yes! In general, Oro Valley should look toward annexing south to Ina, east to the Catalina Mountains, west to Shannon and north to the state trust land or perhaps to the Pinal County line. As we progress, those boundaries will undoubtedly be refined, depending on what other governments are doing.
Culver: Foothills Mall and Westward Look would greatly enhance Oro Valley's sales tax revenue base. This component of annexation would be beneficial to our town. However, annexation stimulates the demand for more services from the town. Additionally, we must respect the lifestyles of those areas we try to annex. If desirable areas have large acreage or aircraft privileges, we must respect these rights and not try to change them. Therefore, each instance has to be carefully evaluated; I would emphasize respect of people's existing property rights. We should not have to defend ourselves in court to annex adjoining neighborhoods.
Conrad: In order to pursue desires to preserve open space and create nature preserves, the town should examine growing its borders to support its expected population growth. However, I would only support annexation of the areas that conform to our general plan and do not require exhaustive annexation agreements in which the majority of the to be annexed area has to be exempted. I would additionally support annexing existing pre-developed commercial areas. One definitive area that should be annex is the northern most portion of Pima County to buffer Oro Valley from unwanted and uncontrolled county development.
Carter: Annexation should continue on a planned process to secure income producing areas. I would work for expansion to the south along Oracle Road for tax producing business. Continue to annex south and west for areas to develop in the future. State lands should be annexed if possible and using this land for possible technical parks to increase employment for this area.