Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath discussed the need to spend locally, work on the regional level to better Southern Arizona, and keep the town flourishing in tough times during the 10th Annual State of the Town address on Thursday.
Hiremath spoke to 477 guests, about 100 more than last year's attendance, during the $50-a-plate luncheon held at the Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort in Oro Valley.
Elected officials from Oro Valley, Marana and the Arizona Legislature, as well as officials from Tucson, Pima County and Sahaurita, also were in attendance.
Dave Perry, president/CEO of the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce, opened the event by introducing two of the community's newest business leaders.
The Oro Valley Hospital has a new chief executive officer, Jae Dale, and Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., has turned the reins over to Mara Aspinall.
Following introductions, Mayor Hiremath took the stage.
Hiremath addressed the need to step outside of the box to help local businesses in tough economic times.
• Oro Valley started the "Shop Oro Valley" program in 2008, and drawing on that, Interim Town Manager Greg Caton has created the OV Dollars program.
Hiremath explained the program will allow residents to get gift cards that can be used at businesses throughout the community.
He encouraged business owners and residents to give employees and friends the Oro Valley gift card. The program is slated to begin this fall.
• The Town of Oro Valley will host a business and banking forum next month to bring together lenders and business people to break down some of the barriers standing in the way of growth. The forum will be held in conjunction with the NPCCC and the Oro Valley Business Club.
In regard to partnerships, Hiremath said Oro Valley is not just about taking care of the area designated inside the lines of a map.
The first-term mayor stressed the need to work with neighboring communities, such as Marana, the City of Tucson, Sahaurita, Vail and Pima County to improve the region as a whole.
While the incorporated towns of Marana, Oro Valley and Sahaurita combined have more than 100,000 people, Hiremath said the three communities are missing out on nearly $60 million a year in state-shared revenues because so many in the Northwest area reside outside city and town limits. Because of this, tax dollars stay in Maricopa County instead of being returned locally.
To change that, both Marana and Oro Valley officials are taking a serious look at annexing some unincorporated areas of Pima County.
Hiremath said it is also important to maintain a good relationship with the Pima County Association of Governments, and the Regional Transportation Authority.
On a local level, Hiremath not only thanked the town's employees for good work, but he also applauded community volunteer programs.
Volunteers at the Oro Valley Public Library worked more than 14,000 hours last year, and members of the Citizen Volunteer Assistance Program has 80 volunteers from the community who provided 17,000 hours of assistance last year to the Oro Valley Police Department.
An in-depth review of the speech will appear in the Oct. 12 edition of The Explorer.
A link to the transcript of the mayor's speech appears on this page.