On Wednesday, Nov. 18, the Town of Oro Valley council voted 5-0 for the suspension of all community funding for 2010-'11 because of economic conditions.

At the TOV budget retreat on Jan. 23, Mayor Loomis stated that money should be included for MTCVB and TREO in the 2010'11 budget under economic development. Switching them to a different name will not get Oro Valley a justifiable return on investment.

We should all support economic development agreements, where there is a distinct justification. ROI can be seen in the Hilton El Conquistador Hotel EDA tax returns from hotel bookings and associated local retail spending.

Let's look at MTCVB ($72,000) and TREO ($43,000) performance:

MTCVB first quarter performance submitted report was originally written for the regional area of the City of Tucson and Pima County, and recycled as an Oro Valley report.

The MTCVB report states 1,147 sales leads will be targeted for fiscal 2010. There is no break out of sales leads for Oro Valley only.

At the bottom of the report it states that the 208 sales leads were given to all MTCVB partner hotels, including the Hilton El Conquistador and Wingate in Oro Valley. Lacking sales lead breakdown detail, there is no way to determine if the Oro Valley hotels (rather than Tucson or Pima County) would even have a chance to capture any of those leads.

The MTCVB quarterly report states there will be targeted travel articles: local (310), international (400) for FY 2010. There were supposed to be seven articles that mention Oro Valley. No samples were included in the report, so they could be evaluated for content.

TREO's first quarter 2009-'10 85-page performance report is filled with newspaper or web site articles. The articles (90-plus percent) extol the virtues of the city of Tucson. Mention of Oro Valley in the report: TREO talks about a "roll up you sleeves monthly meeting where Benson, Sahuarita, Sierra Vista, Oro Valley and TREO share business leads and strategize on how to use them." There is no listing of any of those leads, a strategy to follow-up on those leads, nor any results accomplished for those leads.

Arizona Star newspaper article (Sept. 19) talks about the acquisition of Tucson-based Ventana Medical Systems by Swiss firm Roche Pharmaceuticals. Ventana is turning into a major Tucson area employer that will soon cross the 1,000-employee mark. Today, with parent Roche's blessing, Ventana is in the midst of an ambitious expansion at its 60-acre headquarters campus in Oro Valley, northwest of Tucson.

Gregg Forszt, Ventana director of facilities, "notes that the Tucson area, with a population of 1 million, can supply most of the work force needed. … but Tucson is not a hard sell to out-of-towners. There's a lot to be said about Tucson."

Tucson is the centerpiece of this article for any reader. The article does mention that the Oro Valley campus is geographically adjacent (northwest) of Tucson.

Under the future agenda item at the town council study session on Jan. 27, Mayor Loomis asked to discuss economic development at a future council study session. Look for Mayor Loomis to suggest marketing money for MTCVB and TREO for economic development.

The town's economic development strategic plan from March 2007 is out of date. Oro Valley does need to update its economic development plan to reflect the economic conditions that currently exist.

Amanda Jacobs, OV economic development manager, could advertise for competitive bids (request for proposals) from economic development organizations for developing business and tourism growth.

In 2006, Oro Valley contracted with Buxton to develop Oro Valley's customer profiles. Matching Oro Valley customer profiles with 4,500 matching profiles in Buxton's proprietary database, they were able to identify major categories of retail that were candidates for location in Oro Valley. The successful economic development organization bidders could use the Buxton data to help attract retail developers.


John Musolf is an Oro Valley resident.

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