Regarding July 10 article “Local groups offer private subsidy to Oro Valley golf courses”: The article featured the country club’s men’s golf association offer to assist the town in covering the millions in future golf losses. However, it comes with a non-negotiable requirement to retain the 36 holes when Troon has lost nearly $9 million to date. They demand 36 holes in spite of the fact the town only has enough play for 18 holes. The 36-hole operation is “designed to fail” which is brought out in the article.
If everything works as they would suggest Oro Valley would lose $1 million per year forever. Does anyone think that makes sense for an amenity that directly benefits 1 percent of the town and was at the bottom of the resident survey of desired parks and recreation amenities?
Here is what has to happen to lower the losses to their target of a $1 million per year. The town must invest $4 million to fix the courses; the town must take a haircut and write off $1 million in outstanding loans to the community center fund; let equipment leases expire, then maintain the equipment for a few years before it needs to be replaced; the residents of the Cañada Hills HOA not benefiting from golf must agree to pay the $108 per year increase in HOA dues floated in the offer; we must believe Troon’s forecast that revenue will increase substantially over this year, and that members will agree to a second membership increase. The town’s CFO was quoted saying that a 5 percent increase was included in the budget, but Troon wage increases will cause the $1.8 million forecast loss for next year to be worse than this year’s loss.
Why is 36 holes non negotiable? The country club members need 36 holes so they can enjoy a dedicated 18-hole course and don’t have to share tee times with day play residents.
—Jack Stinnett, Oro Valley
WHAT’S YOUR VISION?
Oh, joy! We all own a couple of golf courses and a clubhouse, aka the Oro Valley community center, yet many of us feel less-than-joyful about the acquisition and obligation. Town voters/owners are being ignored while a move to demean our new administration coincides with a demand that Oro Valley continue to subsidize not just 18, but 36 holes of unwanted golf.
All Oro Valley residents are taxed to pay the bill for the El Conquistador Hotel whose guests enjoy prime use of the course, the millions in former hotel losses becoming our liability. As for the community center, of which Oro Valley citizens so ardently longed, the building, now called “The Clubhouse” by golfers, needs, according to the town, over $2.5 million in future repairs and code compliance remediation. In addition, the La Cañada tennis complex needs another $675,000 for repairs.
Oro Valley has lost over millions on golf and the country club restaurant operations since the personally-negotiated “great deal.” The result is a facility that, to many resident taxpayers, feel exclusionary and not the least welcoming.
Rather than spend another $6 million on golf, let’s come up with a community-wide solution that offers recreational opportunities for everyone on our property. My choice is to convert some existing golf holes to open space that more non-golfers could enjoy. What is your vision?
—Kay Rudek, Oro Valley
I wanted to tell you and your staff that everyone does an awesome job with the featured stories, pictures, layout and content in The Explorer. I have been a reader for many years and look forward to seeing it in my driveway every week.
Also, thanks to the behind the scenes staff that get the funding from advertisers to keep it going and the advertisers for supporting. Thank you for your efforts. I really appreciate all that everyone contributes.
18 MAKES SENSE
Town manager Mary Jacobs suggests keeping 36 holes of golf, a decision that will guarantee large future losses. After investing $4 million to repair the courses, the target is to achieve a loss of $1 million every year. Who would invest in that plan?
Troon has managed these courses for four years, losing millions while not generating enough rounds of golf. Why? There are not enough golfers in Oro Valley to support the town retaining 36 holes.
Oro Valley can lower golf losses by reducing the town’s golf operation to 18 holes, match the demand, and operate as a municipal course. By doing so, town golf losses can be less than forecast in the town’s 18-hole scenario.
How can this work? The Troon/town forecast shows the 18-hole option losing $750,000 per year. This is twice what other public courses lose.
Troon forecasts lower revenues, saying current members would leave if they only had one 18-hole course. My response is: good riddance. It is these members that drive up operating costs insisting the town operate as a country club.
Remove Troon and costs will drop, then market the course as a quality municipal course. With the Vistoso course closure, 18 holes have been removed from the market. By reducing Oro Valley’s 45 holes to one, 18-hole course, another 27 holes of excess capacity will be removed. The impact will be to reduce the local public golf course capacity by over 50 percent with Oro Valley’s 18 holes the only public course remaining. The town can then easily achieve 40,000 to 50,000 rounds on its 18 holes and have much lower losses.
—Joe Lauer, Oro Valley
What is happening to our Explorer? Tucson centric articles on front page and or national stories about asylum seekers. July 24th. This has been the trend the last few months. Goodbye Golf page 6?
I read the Explorer to know what is happening right here in the northwest, not special Tucson Local Media or Cronkite stories that do not affect our region. Even reading the Don Cox ridiculous letters to the editor are preferred.
The Explorer needs to refocus on why we read this newspaper.
At the Atlanta airport recently I observed a t-shirt stating: “Most people today are looking more for security than liberty.”
This observation provokes the enduring question whether everybody has their price and whether voters can be lulled into silence or complacency by politicians’ promises and handouts (“I’ve got mine, so it’s all good”).
In the current election cycle politicians on the left are offering guaranteed annual income, free medical insurance and free college education. The president is taking credit for a booming economy that was coaxed and clawed its way back from the 2008 Recession (consider how long it has taken your own household budget to stabilize after a huge unanticipated hit, extrapolate that to the national level and the fallacy of his ownership is apparent). His false claim is designed to convince voters to express their appreciation by rewarding him with a second term despite endless scandals and corruption.
The offerings of the left are tantalizing, offering false hopes of a utopian society. One study has shown that 70 percent of those who come into sudden wealth actually squander the windfall and return to their previous lifestyle.
The observation on that t-shirt prompts the question: Would you be willing to give up your right to vote or be less likely to vote if you were receiving guaranteed $50,000 annual income, free medical insurance and free college education from the U.S. government?
—Steven Sanders, Tucson
An estimated 700 residents attended what was advertised as a fact finding meeting concerning the future of the golf courses. In fact, it was a waste of four hours of time as it was evident that the mayor and a few council members already had their minds made up before the meeting. That was evident by closing statements of council member Jones-Ivey and especially the Mayor who was booed and some chants of recall. The following were key observations:
The attorney presentation of legal matters indicated the town was in a very weak position if you could get by his lifting and placing his glasses on his head and back to his eyes as a distraction.
It was no accident the first blue card speaker was presenting Zinkin input as he had trouble presenting the Zinkinite zingers.
The majority of the blue card presentations were in favor of retaining golf course operation and it was obvious by the Mayor’s closing statement that he really did not care what the Oro Valley residents wanted but presented what he wants for the town.
It is sad that the mayor and some of the council members are trying to close the golf courses because that is what they ran on rather than what is good for the entire town. It is difficult to understand how they can zero in on the golf operation because it does not make money when in fact many of town amenities which we all enjoy operate in the red. Examples are the Aquatics Center, parks, Steam Pump Ranch, etc.
I urge Oro Valley residents to let the mayor and his council know how they feel and for those who pick and choose what they use to be more considerate of the entire population.
Will Don Cox please sit down and shut up? The current Oro Valley Council has a horrendous problem to solve, and his constant carping adds nothing to the conversation.
It is obvious from Kathleen Kunz’s story in last week’s Explorer that in attempting to purchase a community center inexpensively, our prior council purchased a pig in a poke. Using the figures provided to Ms. Kunz by Mary Jacobs, I totaled the costs to get out of the golf business: Conversion of 138 acres to natural landscape: $2,346,000; 75 percent natural and 25 percent park: $4, 347,000; 50/50 natural landscape and park: $6,348,000.
But this is only the beginning! Ms. Jacobs then estimates between $744,376 and $1,149, 561 annually, per acre, for operations and maintenance. That’s $102,723,888 to $158,694,618! (Does anyone besides me think this may be a bit inflated?)
The golf courses are an ongoing financial drain. The council needs positive support and constructive input to address this fiasco. My suggestion is to lease back Pusch Ridge immediately, and close at least nine holes to get a realistic handle on costs.
—Leslie Platt, Oro Valley
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