It’s disappointing to see the Oro Valley mayor and vice mayor allow division and misinformation among its residents regarding the funding of parks and recreation. At the April 21 town council meeting, they opened discussion to change the purpose of the half-cent per dollar sales tax currently dedicated for the community center facilities.
No one is arguing against funding more and better parks. The notion that the tax has been squandered to support golf is just false. Since late 2017, a tax fund balance has grown beyond operating expenses. Currently user fees (i.e. greens fees) cover over 75% of costs (versus the rest of parks and recreation, where fees only cover only 11% of expenses).
Those of us who support all parks and recreation funding are not trying to hoard this tax for golf, we just want the town to take better care of what they already own. I challenge residents to drive by the community center or Pusch Ridge facilities and see the appalling conditions of the grounds and buildings. Better stewardship of these facilities will drive more revenues and provide more “excess” to support other needs. But the promised capital projects must be completed now.
Sales taxes are paid by more people than Oro Valley residents. Tourists and visitors spend money here on golf, hotels, restaurants, etc. Residents on average annually contribute about $30 a year to the community center fund. To hear some residents complain about paying this when they don’t use it is disheartening. It is a slippery slope for residents to look at only whether they personally benefit from a use of taxes paid. There are many among us, long past raising children, who do not lament the fact we pay taxes to support schools. We understand that we all benefit from a well-funded community—schools, parks, roads, et al.
I ask Oro Valley residents to not take the bait that tries to divide us. We need to hold our elected officials accountable to do their jobs. We are a community blessed with talent and resources to do it all, we just lack strong leadership.
Tony D’Angelo, Oro Valley