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Oro Valley Town Talk: Investing in Oro Valley on your behalf

The Town of Oro Valley is at a crossroads. We have the opportunity to purchase 324 acres of land in the heart of our community, a 31,475-square-foot building which could be converted into a community and recreation center, 31 tennis courts, 45 holes of golf and two swimming pools, all for $1 million in cash over a three-year period.

January 28, 2015

Don’t let the hype and rhetoric of a few people tarnish this opportunity for Oro Valley to make the most of finally having a community center. For several years, the public has expressed the need for a community center, and we are on track to make this an affordable reality, without incurring any debt. I ask that the people of Oro Valley embrace this opportunity to meet the needs of our residents.

The terms of the purchase have been disclosed in a forthright manner and have been endorsed by the majority of your elected officials. Residents of all ages will benefit from use of the facilities, and a world-class golf management company will operate the golf courses that are part of the deal.

Opposition for the sake of opposition is not productive. It does not move a community forward. Similar obstructionist voices attempted to distort the compelling arguments that led to improved transportation and library services. I have advocated for each of these agreements because they are in the interest of the individuals, couples and families living in Oro Valley. There is great wisdom in looking beyond today, and using common sense to identify cost-effective and greatly-improved town services and programs. 

I expect and trust that the quality of life Oro Valley affords its residents will continue to speak for itself. Paying a reasonable share of the cost to purchase a community center for Oro Valley is a bargain, since the revenue will be generated by a dedicated half-cent sales tax, an estimated 30 percent of which is paid by non-residents. For all other forms of revenue, the burden would have been solely borne by you—the resident. Alternatives such as the sale of bonds would have created long-term debt along with having to pay the additional interest generated from those bonds. Make no mistake. Even in a bond situation, a revenue source would still have to be created for ongoing maintenance and operations, in addition to the long-term debt. With the direct purchase of the properties, income from the operations will help to provide stability and fund improvements over time.

Elected officials understand that criticism comes with the territory. So do responsibility and accountability. I have always welcomed constructive criticism and have pledged a good faith effort to do the best I can for Oro Valley. My fellow councilmembers have also pledged to serve in good faith, relying on sound reason and the facts, which we use when evaluating any opportunity.

Some resident have asked whether Council can refer this decision to a vote. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Council does not have the legal authority to put a decision to a vote. That opportunity for citizens to vote on this matter was lost when the referendum petition failed.

Now is an excellent time for residents to take a comprehensive look at what is being accomplished by your elected officials, and how we are investing in Oro Valley for this generation and the next.

By Mayor Satish I. Hiremath, D.D.S.   - Explorer Newspaper, 01/28/15

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