Bill Rodman

Bill Rodman returns this election season to right what he says are governing wrongs on the Oro Valley Town Council. (Matt Man/Courtesy)

Bill Rodman returned this year to run for Oro Valley town council after he witnessed what he said was four years of little to no economic development in Oro Valley.

Rodman was elected to town council in 2016 and lost reelection by a narrow margin.

“I really thought, 'OK it’s time for somebody else,' but I still had an interest in the town so I attended council meetings and some of the Planning and Zoning Commission meetings,” Rodman said.

During these last four years of attending town meetings, Rodman said the town council did not prioritize economic development.

“They have not approved any kind of development in our town and our town cannot survive without growth unless we change how it’s funded,” he said.

Oro Valley’s nonexistent property tax is a pigeonhole for funding. Rodman said revenue sources like sales tax, tourism and especially construction are major funders for the town.

Therefore, he was surprised the town council has not supported the Oro Valley Marketplace construction. The council asked the developer to come back with more options for building apartments and hotels at the marketplace. They objected to the height and setbacks of the proposed buildings.

According to Rodman, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted six to one in support of the original application from Town West Realty.

“My view is very clear that if we don’t bring more population to our town and more businesses and people staying up at the marketplace, or it would be called the Village Center, we’re going to have to find another revenue source and the only possibility is a property tax; you’re not going to double or triple your sales tax,” Rodman said.

He said he’s worried the town’s $52 million debt will continue to cost the town with frivolous spending. Rodman is critical of the town’s method for paying the police pension fund. He said it was unnecessary and there are more pressing issues to be considered.

“We have 14 fewer police officers than we should have for our population. That wasn’t the case four years ago,” Rodman said.

Rodman attributed this problem to the town not budgeting for officers.

Most importantly, Rodman said there is a disconnect between the town’s decisions and what residents want from their governing body.

He's referencing the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation 2020 Master Plan that featured a town survey with high to low priority for facilities and programs. The council recently approved an expansion plan for Naranja Park that included building a splash pad and a dirt bicycle pump track. These features were listed as medium to low priority on the town survey. The pump track was 29 out of 32 options and the splash pad was 17.

“They didn’t bother to touch the ADA things that needed to be done at the community center,” Rodman said.

Rodman said the handicapped accessible ramp for the community center is located in the back, farthest away from the parking lot next to dumpsters. Rodman said he brought this topic during a council meeting call to the audience. He has yet to see the item on the meeting agenda.

“I think that what we’ve heard and seen from my opponents is misinformation from day one, and lack of transparency,” Rodman said. “They have done so much behind closed doors.”

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