Enough signatures from the petition to recall Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath have been validated by the Pima County Recorder’s Office to send the mayor to the ballot.
The county validated 3,242 of the 3,392 signatures submitted on the petition, according to a certification released last week. Recall organizers needed at least 2,765 signatures. With the town’s follow-up certification, Hiremath will now appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Hiremath has said often that he supports the recall as part of the democratic process. He said he looks forward to being on the recall ballot.
Signatures to also put Councilmembers Joe Hornat, Lou Waters and Mary Snider on the November recall ballot passed the verification process last month.
“The timing on the recall gives not only me, but also Joe, Mary and Lou another opportunity to highlight and emphasize all that has been accomplished over the past five years as a result of our leadership. Since 2010, the town of Oro Valley has been recognized for reinvesting in our roads, preserving public safety and greatly enhancing our parks and recreation,” Hiremath said in a statement to Oro Valley citizens. “As the recall process moves forward, I encourage all residents of Oro Valley to become familiar with the facts and to weigh the rhetoric. Joe, Mary, Lou and I have begun to provide you with information about the realities associated with our responsibilities, record and accomplishments.
I am confident that caring and concerned voters will vote again to retain the rational majority in office.”
Organizers had previously expected a March 2016 election for Hiremath but with the town and county moving quickly to certify the petition, they made the Aug. 3 deadline to have an item on the Nov. 3 ballot.
By adding the mayoral race to the earlier ballot, which will also feature the county bond package, the town will not spend any money beyond what it previously committed for the council recall, said Chris Roads, Pima County deputy recorder.
The town of Oro Valley set aside $30,000 out of reserves last month.
Hiremath said he was pleased that he will not need to be in a later special election, saving the town at least $50,000.
Opposition to the town’s recent $1 million purchase of the El Conquistador country club and golf courses, further fueled by a failed attempt to have the matter referred to a public vote, motivated a citizens’ group called Oro Valley Citizens for Open Government to recall Hiremath, Waters, Hornat and Snider, all of whom voted for the purchase and an associated half-cent sales tax increase to pay for property improvements and operations.
A challenger for Hiremath is yet to be determined. Recall organizer Ryan Hartung, co-organizer for the attempted El Conquistador referendum Shirl Lamonna, and retired Navy officer Steve Didio have already announced their interest in running for the council seats.