A GOOD DECISION
In its special session the council voted to approve Mayor Winfield’s motion to spend $4.2 million to replace the irrigation systems on the Conquistador course to be completed by 2021, and the Cañada course to be completed by 2022.
The council accepted the town staff recommendation to request proposals from irrigation specialists to provide for the design and construction of the irrigation repairs on both courses. Town manager Jacobs advised that the design, procurement and construction planning would be too rushed for a start on the Conquistador course this summer, and recommended a May- November 2021 construction period for the first course.
Jacobs presented financial schedules showing that with the 2021 irrigation construction the Community Center fund would have sufficient reserves for the town to fund the $4.2 million for course repairs on a pay as you go basis.
Mayor Winfield’s approved motion also addressed the Overlook restaurant losses by directing town staff to adjust operating hours and offerings to be consistent with a municipal golf course food service and reduce needless losses.
The council majority rejected the staff’s recommendation to bond $3.2 million for community center repairs to update the pro shop, locker rooms, build a new ground level restaurant and a new main entrance. The mayor was not willing to borrow over $3 million without vetting this project and considering it along with other town needs in the comprehensive parks and recreation study now underway.
To no one’s surprise minority council members Piña, Rodman and Solomon all voted “no” after delaying the vote on the mayor’s motion for two hours. All three were fine with the millions in losses, and stated their case that since the town is in good financial shape we can bond and borrow to rebuild the clubhouse sooner.
In spite of the green shirt’s recall effort launched the previous week to pressure Mayor Winfield and Vice Mayor Barrett, the majority voted for funding the 36-hole repairs by pay-as-you-go which they believe to be the best approach for Oro Valley.
—Jack Stinnett, Oro Valley
THE RIGHT CALL
Last Wednesday, the majority on council did their job and voted responsibly on golf financing. They understood that the rights of the golf communities should not take precedence over the interests and rights of others who want the town’s golf losses reduced. In fact, the town’s organization chart shows residents at the top. It doesn’t show the communities of Cañada Hills and the Villages of La Cañada as having priority. Many remember that we voted for a new direction in town governance in 2018. We were tired of our voices being ignored and unanimous votes to approve rezoning for tract homes on small lots. We wanted to get the golf financials under control. Fifty-nine percent of residents voted to stop the destruction of our beautiful desert town; to reduce the golf losses so our tax dollars could be better utilized for the community center, parks, little league fields or Steam Pump Ranch—things the entire community could enjoy.
Our new mayor and new councilmembers understand that residents don’t like bonds and prefer to pay for projects as funding is available rather than going into debt or issuing bonds. Therefore, they voted to finance golf and the community center’s needed improvements without bonds or borrowing while the three who served under Mayor Hiremath voted to keep borrowing and spending without regard for anyone except the golf communities.
The pay-as-you-go plan is reasonable and fiscally responsible. It also gives those who live in the golf communities the opportunity to buy community center/golf memberships to help the cause.
It would have been fiscally irresponsible to bond or borrow when we still owe most of what was borrowed to buy the property initially. PAYG is a wise decision.
—Shirl Lamonna, Oro Valley
It makes me sad to see how divided even our little community has become. Yes, I know we can’t please all the people all the time, however it seems like we used to be able to at least listen to both sides and come to compromise. It doesn’t feel like that is the case over the past couple of years. And now we are talking recall because the town council has listened and made a decision that some of our community doesn’t agree with—and they are the ones who got what they wanted from the council with regards to the golf courses.
The council decided to keep both 18-hole golf courses and has provided the less than 300 members of the courses several options to maintain them and keep them viable. Two of the neighborhoods close to the courses promised to provide funding to help with that. Now one of the communities has reneged on their promise, so the town has discussed continuing with the pay-as-you-go budgeting solution that Oro Valley has always done instead of a bond issue or a property tax which we were told at town’s inception 45 years ago that would never be initiated. And now, some of those same people who reneged on their promise are talking recall of the council members who heard them and provided them with two golf courses on which to play.
I’m hoping that we won’t go the route of recall. It’s expensive, divisive and unnecessary for a group that is doing the best they can for a town population that just wants to continue living in the wonderful neighborhoods we have grown to love. Instead of this negativity, let’s just be grateful that we have citizens who are willing to govern as fairly as they know how to provide us with a very comfortable community.
—Devon Sloan, Oro Valley
The president wants to eliminate DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) and it appears our right-leaning Supreme Court may support him. Liberals often view DACA through a lens of compassion: the Dreamers are innocents lacking legal status through no fault of their own. Conservatives may lean toward a strict interpretation: they’re not here legally, so throw them out.
But, taking this hard-line approach is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. We’ve already invested in educating these young Dreamers and now they’re entering their most economically productive years. To send them to a country they’ve never known, would be discarding their ability to give back through hard work, paid taxes, and civic involvement.
To falsely claim, as the president has, that “some are quite rough, hardened criminals” fails to recognize that DACA guidelines already bar anyone with a felony conviction or serious misdemeanor from participating.
So I ask, “Mr. President, where is your compassion for these young people?” But I also ask all conservatives, “How does this program hurt our country when it allows us to reap the benefits of our investment, and profit from the results?”