Mayor Joe Winfied assured community leaders that the Town of Oro Valley remains financially robust while weathering the coronavirus storm during the 19th Annual State of the Town at El Conquistador Resort on Thursday, Oct. 29.
The mayor underscored the town’s achievements during this difficult year and gave a look at what’s next for Oro Valley in 2021.
“What encourages me and what I hope to share with you today is that the fundamentals of the Town of Oro Valley are strong,” Winfield said. “The council and town staff are optimistic and hopeful that the hardest parts of this storm are behind us and we can enjoy the sunshine.”
Thanks to the CARES Act, the town has consistently deposited more than the minimum required to improve their bottom line throughout the pandemic, said Winfield. Oro Valley received $5.3 million in state allocated CARES Act dollars which were specifically designated for public safety and public health expenses, according to the mayor.
“We were able to include another $500,000 in additional funding toward this liability,” Winfield said. “Applying that unexpected revenue source to the town’s public safety functions freed up general fund dollars that were already allocated in the town’s budget for other uses.”
While some funding was set aside to bolster the town’s contingency fund, Winfield noted the town was able to allocate $1 million to support local businesses affected by the virus. The town’s O.V. Safe Steps program—a result of that allocation—is instrumental in helping address best-practices for businesses during the pandemic, as it provides much needed funding to suffering
“It was evident early on that some of our businesses would suffer. The major retailers have fared very well but we knew it would be the small businesses, local restaurants and retailers that would need our help the most,” Winfield said. “At its core (O.V. Safe Steps) equates a healthy community with a healthy
The mayor and council recently increased the amount of reimbursement funding businesses can receive through the program for personal protection equipment, marketing and professional services needed during the pandemic. He said they are committed to helping small businesses succeed during this difficult time and encourages all area business owners to enroll in the program.
Winfield touched upon the town’s various infrastructural improvements over the year with director of public works Paul Keesler, who cited updates to La Cholla Boulevard, the Safeway shopping center off of Tangerine Road and the roundabout at Moore Road and La Canada Boulevard as key to the town’s infrastructural improvements. The director said fixing Oracle Road is the next big project Oro Valley residents should expect soon. Although the state highway is maintained by the Arizona Department of Transportation, Keesler said the project is in the works.
“This is a critical corridor for us and to be in the condition that it’s in...it needs to get fixed,” Keesler said. “The ADOT board heard us and they’ve subsequently put money toward it. It’s gone out to bid.”
The mayor also spoke with the town’s water utility director Peter Abraham about the new 500,000-gallon palatable water reservoir currently being built at La Reserve. As opposed to a yard reservoir that looks more like a creek, this will be a 18-foot-tall-by-80-foot-diameter steel tank, said Abraham. In spite of less-than-normal rainfall in 2020, Abraham assures residents Oro Valley has plenty of high quality water for years to come due to the town’s Central Arizona Project water coming from upper basin states, like Colorado.
Abraham also addressed a new partnership between the Metro Water District and Marana Water, the Northwest Recovery and Recharge Delivery System, that will deliver an extra 4,000 acre feet of CAP water a year in addition to the town’s current 2,600 acre-foot allotment.
Due to the increased use of the town’s parks and trails during COVID-19, the mayor said the Parks and Recreation Department is assembling a master plan to address the needs of the community. Winfield said community feedback is necessary and the town will be providing ways to get involved later in