Joe Winfield, Melanie Barrett, Joyce Jones-Ivey and Josh Nicolson ran a campaign based on falsehoods regarding a bloated budget, not listening to residents and their strong support of public safety. Their budget does not match their rhetoric, and is an indication of their dishonesty. Following are some points for all Oro Valley residents to consider.
Winfield, Barrett, Jones-Ivey and Nicolson knowingly spread false information that the budget was five times greater than the rate of inflation, and that spending was out of control.
The reality is that the budget was not bloated, and spending was not out of control. A surplus of $16.8 million dollars had been accumulated over eight years. Their new budget, proposed by the town manager, states a decrease of 23 percent from fiscal year 2018/2019.
There is no such decrease by that amount. Winfield, Barrett, Jones-Ivey and Nicolson want you to believe they cut the budget due to overspending. Not so. They get to make this false boast by not including the surplus in their budget.
Claims have been made that the prior council put the wants of developers and businesses over the needs of residents. Not so. Maintaining the natural beauty of our town and creating a comprehensive economy is essential. Over the past eight years, excellent services were provided, as well as additional housing opportunities. This was accomplished while preserving over 400 acres of open desert space.
The new majority on the council said they would severely reduce development. We are now facing a significant reduction in revenue over the next five years. This means our residents are facing a reduction in services, and the likelihood of a property tax that Joe Winfield has suggested.
Residents need to hold Winfield, Barrett, Jones-Ivey and Nicolson accountable. Their five-year budget forecast has no new hires for any department, including public safety.
Police Chief Daniel Sharp has established the practice of community policing. He has created programs that keep us safe. The position of the new council may force Chief Sharp to pull resource officers from our schools and eliminate programs such as the Rape Aggression Defense. Sun City residents are apt to suffer the discontinuation of the Posse, the Dark House Program and the elimination of the Citizens Volunteer Assistance Program.
Winfield, Barrett, Jones-Ivey and Nicolson promised to support public safety. Their budget does not keep their promise.
Joe Winfield, Melanie Barrett, Joyce Jones-Ivey and Josh Nicolson want you to believe their budget is the product of the town manager. Not so. This budget is a reflection of their priorities.
The budget Town Manager Mary Jacobs has presented is an attempt to keep her job. She wants to avoid retaliation from the newly elected council majority. Her political ploy comes at the expense of all residents, and the morale of town employees.
Absent the resources necessary to do their jobs, it is just a matter of time before key employees move on. Watching their leader succumb to intimidation, and not standing on principle, is a travesty.
Here is what you can do. Pay attention to what is happening. Show up on May 8 at 6 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers (11000 N. La Cañada Drive) and speak your mind.
Editor’s Note: Satish Hiremath was the mayor of Oro Valley from 2010 until 2018.
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