Approximately one year into their four-year terms, Oro Valley Mayor Joe Winfield and Council member Melanie Barrett are facing the beginnings of a potential recall election.
Local Cañada Hills resident Thomas Plantz filed a recall petition for Winfield and Barrett on Oct. 22. He claims the two have “implemented policies that will likely result in a local property tax, degrade your public safety, decrease your property values and adversely harm town revenues,” according to a recall application submitted to the town clerk and obtained by Tucson Local Media.
Winfield and Barrett have faced harsh criticism from Oro Valley residents at several council meetings, primarily on the topic of the town-owned community center and two 18-hole golf courses.
While the two previously expressed interest in closing some or all of the golf holes, Winfield voted with the other council members on Oct. 2 to keep the 36 holes and community center, which need improvements that range from course irrigation to restaurant reconfiguration.
Many residents spoke at public meetings in support of the 36 holes while the debate was ongoing.
Now, Winfield and Barrett are experiencing another wave of criticism as they turn their sights toward a pay-as-you-go system for funding the improvements. At the Nov. 6 council meeting, town staff recommended a funding plan that mixed inter-fund loans, bonding and pay-as-you-go in order to get all improvements accomplished within two years from now.
Staff estimated that a solely pay-as-you-go funding system would delay any improvements until 2025, at least.
During a previous council meeting, Barrett said the pay-as-you-go system serves as a “control mechanism” that requires the town to meet projections regarding rounds of play and annual tax subsidy. She had voted “no” on retaining the 36 holes because that decision did not include a pay-as-you-go requirement.
In his application, Plantz wrote Winfield and Barrett’s “bad policies” will cost Oro Valley homeowners significantly more to live in the town. Recent reports show local community organization Oro Valley Thrives promoting the recall effort and collecting signatures from a lot near the community center.
For the initiative to be placed on the 2020 ballot, Plantz will need to collect and turn in 3,952 valid signatures in support of recalling Winfield and 3,668 valid signatures in support of recalling Barrett by Feb. 19, 2020.
Developments in this story are ongoing. More details will be in next week’s edition of The Explorer and Marana News.