Naranja Park Bond Map

If early results are any indication, voters in Oro Valley have once again turned down a bond package for development at the Naranja Park site.

As of 10:19 p.m. the tally for the  vote sits at 11,565 against, 4,504 for.

The bond question, Proposition 454, included roughly $17 million worth of amenities at the park, paid for by a secondary property tax. Had the bond been approved, it would initiate the first property tax in the town’s history.

The Oro Valley Town Council voted unanimously to send the $17 million bond question, Proposition 454, to the Nov. 7 ballot during the May 3 meeting. A then-potential bond plan originated from the Feb. 15 council session, at which a desire for expanded facilities at the park was expressed by dozens of youth athletes, their parents and coaches.

The Pima County Election Department began releasing election results for the town at 8:04 p.m. In Oro Valley, the "no" vote totals just over 10,200, while the "yes" vote sits at roughly 4,000.

“I’m not totally surprised by the spread," said Axe the Tax Chair Jim Horn.  "What I sensed when I talked to people, whether it was at Sun City or even when I was riding my bike around the neighborhood, I sensed that there was opposition to 454. I didn’t realize it would be that significant, but I think it’s all due to the people that were in our small group that worked their butts off to get this done. They’ve done a phenomenal job.”

Axe the Tax is a Political Action Committee formed in opposition to Proposition 454, and Horn called the victory "a true David and Goliath story."

"It’s phenomenal, but I think we had a really good story to tell, and I think that the voters were listening," he said. "I think that the underlying issue is really the fiscal irresponsibility that the voters have felt for the past six or seven years. I think that it shows in the results here.”

According to Brian Mitchell, chair of the Yes on 454 PAC, the results are "disappointing" and "appalling."

"Oro Valley has decided to not support the kids of Oro Valley," he said. "I understand, we’re big boys. We’ll figure out another way to skin a cat.”

When asked to elaborate on his reaction to the election, Mitchell said that the Axe the Tax PAC ran a "strong, nasty campaign against us, and they won."

"They won, and I teach my kids that whether we win or lose we hold our heads high," Mitchell said. "There is no crying, and we figure out how to win next time."

Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath called the election results "part of the democratic process."

"You have to respect it, you have to honor it and move forward," he said. “The council really had no skin in the game. And while probably all of us would have liked to see the development, the bottom line is that this is exactly why we take things to the voters. This is exactly why there exists the democratic process. Our obligation really ended, as a council, but just putting the bond questions on the ballot.”

Looking forward, Hiremath said the council will continue to develop Naranja Park.

“This council has done very well balancing the budget, trying to create surplus funds, do things for the community, so we will continue to develop Naranja Park," he said. "The only—I guess travesty—out of the whole thing is specifically the baseball diamonds. Because there is no way you can build that piecemeal.”

Editor's Note: Expanded coverage to come in the Nov. 15 edition.

(10) comments


Well Oro Valley, you did it again. You squandered an opportunity for your future because, god forbid you be forced to pay property taxes.

Oro Valley already lost the outlet mall, the Ritz, and now a crap ton of youth sports will all be going to Marana.

Kudos for the Town council having the forethought to send this to the voters and not dealing with another recall.

Meanwhile keep complaining about the lack of amenities, demanding more from your government, and refusing to pay more to support it. The entitled whining stupidity of the average OV citizen is on fully display right here. "I want, I want, I want!" But you never want to pay for it.

That's fine. Guess my kids and I will be driving down that great New Tangerine road to Marana.


I see my comment last night was a little too accurate and ruffled some feathers since it's already been deleted. Well done on the intellectual censorship folks. I'm going to say it again anyway. Try to shut me down again and you'll find out how loud the lambs can roar.

Kudos to the citizens of Oro Valley for draining more possibilities out of their community all for the sake of the, oh heaven forbid, not a property tax!

This is a classic example of youth and our future being sidelined for special interest groups who are here seasonally and are actually the minority.

We've lost the Ritz, the new outlet mall, and now a sports Bonanza to Marana. "I want, I want, I want!!" The leaches cry in this town. They demand more of their community and government while refusing to chip in and help. Your shortsighted cheapness will be costlier than you realize.

That's fine. Prepare to watch as the rest of us drive down that nice new tangerine road to Marana. Say bye-bye tax dollars!

Logan BurtchBuus

Hey Joecorzo, just wanted to let you know that no deleting or censorship occurred, though I appreciate the metaphor. All comments have to be approved by our web editor before they go live (as you can tell by the timestamp on your original post) A lot of retail sites use bots to post spam in the comments section), so we try to keep everything relevant. She was not awake at 9:33 last night, and approval was set until this morning. Thanks so much for the contribution to the dialogue! -Logan Burtch-Buus Managing Editor Explorer Newspaper, Tucson Local Media

(Edited by staff.)


Guess Oro Valley stays in the hands of Sun City retirees. In other words--our town is controlled by the unemployed. That is not economically sustainable and we will not attract working families this way. I won't sugar coat it. Marana is going to kick our ass in this battle and our town will go into decline. Our property values will fall while Marana increases. I hope everyone enjoys bewing upside down in their mortgages. Oh...and forget about big tech companies thinking about locating in our area. They will go to Phoenix--the same place we have to send our kids to play baseball games. All that money and none of it will be spent in Oro Valley because a bunch of old unemployed golfers don't give a shit about children.


Can't say I'm surprised. All the old people came back from their state of primary residence to quash something good for the families in Oro Valley. Crap schools, crap parks, lack of amenities etc... But by God we have great walking paths and no lights so the old people can get their walks and look at the stars. Maybe it's time to look at moving somewhere more family friendly. Oro Valley is clearly just a retirement community.


Since only 1/4 of the Oro Valley population is over 65, they must make up the majority of the people who vote. The supporters of prop 454 should have done a better job of getting the young people out to vote. Young voter apathy is unfortunate, but don't complain when you can't get the vote.


Why should it be only the property owners that pay for it. If in fact it is full of old, retired golfers, who have no children, thus no skin in the game, they have zero incentive to approve it. If this is for the children, then it should be paid for primarily families with children. Especially since a large portion of families are renters and would not contribute to the bond at all. A sales tax would have been much more equitable. The problems with bonds is that they are not always just used for the proposed purpose. As the Pima County Board of Supervisors have show no us, they can’t easily be redirected for another purpose. You can’t seriously believe the new animal shelter will use all 22 million. If you do I have a British import bridge I would like to sell you. 5 will get you 10 that Somme of theism 17 million would end up in the monetary sinkhole golf courses. Perhaps we should close one of them down and convert it to other uses such as skate board park, or soccer fields or an outdoor pavilion to host special events and shows. At least then the land would be more useful to a larger part of the population and the constant loss of our tax dollars in a money losing venture would end. I am all for children having plays areas but not $17 million dollars worth.


Prop 454 was overwhelmingly defeated - 72% to 28% according to results published last evening. It wasn't just retirees who voted against it. I have not voted against a school or park bond issue in my life until yesterday. My reason for voting no was that the property taxes on my home have increased in the range of 30% in the last 4 years. That is a massive increase and another increase was a step too far. Proponents of this bond issue timed it poorly and asked for too much. The massive defeat makes that clear. So, for those of you who want more baseball fields, come up with another plan and try again. My suggestion would be to scale it back. Shouldn't cost $17 million (or $28 million) to add a couple of baseball fields when the city owns the property already.


Wow. Instead of taking defeat gracefully it seems like the few supporters of Prop 454 are using insults to not just the senior population but everyone that didn't vote the same way that they did. Has it ever come to mind that many of us young and old like Oro Valley the way it is? While a major sports complex would be nice, it would probably make more sense for it to be in a town with a population of 400,000 instead of 40,000. Besides higher taxes, traffic and most likely crime comes along with it.
The excuse of "for the kids" is ridiculous. Also, with higher property values comes higher property taxes. The developers have the Mayor, city council, and small amount of supporters brainwashed. Developers don't think about community. Developers think about their profits instead. After they leave, guess who gets stuck with all the maintenance costs that comes with a development. Who cares if Marana gets this or gets that? Are we going for bragging rights? If people are so concerned what Marana has it sounds like they would be better off moving to Marana and living there than living in Oro Valley.


Note to mayor and town council: the recall clock is ticking

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