Oro Valley tax hike for golf course facing referendum petition

tax-hike-oro-valleyTee’d Off Over Tax Hike – T.O.O.T.H. in OV – will challenge the Council’s vote

The meeting of the Oro Valley Town Council and their vote to raise taxes showed that the concerns of the residents and their opposition to plans for purchasing the El Conquistador Country Club meant little to the powers-that-be, as a result Oro Valley residents who oppose the Town Council’s recent resolution to purchase a golf club have filed an application for a referendum petition to overturn that vote.

Tee’d Off Over Tax Hike, (T.O.O.T.H. in OV), will challenge the Council’s decision to buy the El Conquistador Country Club, Golf and tennis facilities in an effort to ultimately have voters decide on the project.

Following 5 and a half hours of public comment mostly against the proposal, Mayor Satish Hiremath, Councilwoman Mary Snider, Vice Mayor Lou Waters and Councilman Joe Hornat voted to approve the controversial project and tax increase. Citing concerns with financial data and forecasting, Councilmen Bill Garner, Brendan Burns and Mike Zinkin voted against the idea and corresponding tax hike.

The few members of the public who did speak out in support appeared to be mostly residents living on or near the golf courses and echoed the fears they had been fed by Hiremath that the course would likely “go brown” if the town did not buy the course. However, Troon, a course management group, took control of the course today so that threat was baseless.

Shirl Lamonna, who is heading up the referendum said, “It is unfortunate Hiremath, Snider, Waters and Hornat, who were elected to represent the people they serve, not only ignored the will of their constituents by approving this financially flawed project but have further risked the financial future and prosperity of Oro Valley in doing so”. Lamonna went on to say, “It is also very concerning that every individual who voted for this project and tax increase, has received substantial campaign funding from interested parties involved in this transaction”.

On top of the declining golf industry statistics, residents were stunned to hear the council had received new, revised capital improvement numbers just hours before the meeting. Questions of due diligence, transparency and lack of fiduciary responsibility were the common theme from the residents who spoke out at the meeting.

T.O.O.T.H in OV plans to set up various locations in Oro Valley to have residents sign petitions in order to overturn the decision of the Town Council and to allow the decision to be placed on a ballot for vote. The petitions will be turned in by January 16th.

For more information contact toothinov@gmail.com, future updates will be available at www.toothinov.org, which is currently under construction.

Related articles:

Oro Valley Town Council votes on El Conquistador acquisition

12/17/2014: A “Watershed Moment” For The Town Of Oro Valley

Oro Valley Council forced to open public discussion of El Conquistador purchase

14 Comments

  1. I can’t imagine what the Council is thinking. They know the public opposes this purchase. They know they will lose the election if they proceed. Is the pay off so big that the deal is too big too fail?

  2. Something seriously wrong here folks. golf clubs in this day and age do nothing but suck money from members, period. most fail to make profits, etc…. look around at all the failed clubs. OV is so corrupt, look at Stone Canyon and what OV politicians and water dept are doing to them, absolutely criminal. Now they want hundreds of thousands of dollars for permits on new clubhouse. Seriously folks, who’s pockets are getting lined when permits for other clubhouses would be more than a hundred thousand less, yes LESS.

  3. More of the same mafia-style governance from the liar and corrupt Mayor. Why do you people put up with this arrogant jackass and his stooge police dept. There’s needs to be a federal investigation into these crooks, Chief of Po!ice included. One last thing about the speed traps, Waze is your friend in the fight against these thieves. Maybe next time you won’t reelect the Orofice Valley clowns.

  4. I find myself questioning why I should bother to respond to the comments posted regarding Oro Valley and the town council, as they are based in ignorance and bitterness and come from a dark place, but here goes: The OV town council made a tough decision, and only time will tell whether it was a wise decision or not. But there is no doubt the council members care about Oro Valley, and to a person they voted their convictions. That is all the citizens can ask for. There are certainly valid concerns about future revenues covering expenses but there is a reasonable opportunity for a positive outcome, and in my opinion, the council made the best choice given what is at stake. And to succumb to mob rule would have been a travesty. Just because more people at the town council meeting opposed the purchase than supported it doesn’t mean that the contrarians represent the view of the entire town of Oro Valley. In fact, go to the LOVE blog site and you will see that the people who support a popular vote are in the minority by nearly a 2 to 1 margin. The town voted to elect the individuals on the council to represent their interests, and now the town council voted on a challenging and difficult decision, so get over it and move on. The sky isn’t falling. And if you are so afraid of the OV police then it is probably best that you avoid the town.

  5. Oro Valley has been a wonderful town to live in. Unfortunately as with many nice towns it has put into office some pretty lame leaders. We need another golf course like we need higher taxes. With all of the golf courses we have in the area that you rarely see golfers using why would the city powers that be think we need to purchase a dead duck and club house? We can’t afford it NOR do most of the residents of OV want it. We certainly don’t need higher taxes to pay for it. Especially in todays economy. As for the present owners of this property in question .. LET it turn brown…Plant some more cacti etc. What is wrong with having some natural desert around us. A club house that requires 5 million in repair and revamping on top of purchasing price is not exactly something we can’t live without. IF this goes through and is a final outcome then I think it should be renamed…” Satish Hiremath’s FOLLY “. And the good people of OV need to keep his and other’s names in mind next time they go to the poles….

  6. Hey, the developers like Lopez et. al. think this is Mexico. Why wouldn’t they with all the B.S. that the city pukes up on a daily basis??? Suan is correct, that idiot Lopez will ruin the suburbs just like he did with Tucson. Stop him before it’s too late. Oh, maybe it already is.

  7. Well, Umberto Lopez (HRL), you know the slum lord that buys a hotel and then strips it and trys to ruin a city, now he has his sights on Oro Valley and Marana. He is the builder of those apartments next to Basis school. The people of Oro Valley are going to be sorry he even heard the name of Oro Valley. He is going to ruin the El Conquistador. Also, no one has even checked to see if there is any MOLD at the Country Club, they want to turn into a Rec Center. Mr Umberto gave money along with the other apartment builders to the mayor. The Mayor stated that we need apartments for the employees of Santfi Advistis (sp). There are not that many employees there to fill those apartments. Renting a house would be much better.. The Mayor is doing to Oro Valley, what they did to ruin San Bernardino,California. So receiving money for building the apartments and now the golf course, that Umberto Lopez does not want, is shocking. He found a few suckers that he could donate money to there campaign to try and do to Oro Valley what he has done to Tucson. How sad.

  8. The old joke was, “when was the last time you read about a Dunkin Donuts being robbed?”

    (24/7 security on the property.)

    One crawler at a time.,

  9. well you thought it was a speed trap city, hang on to your hats and wallets now as they will have to reinforce the pd to have enough to go out and raid the streets. Good thing you guys dont have any donut shops up that way, but wait, maybe thats why it is such a speed trap? No DONUT SHOPS to hang out in for free food.

  10. Let me see if I got this right. HSL is basically giving the clubhouse and golf course to OV because they don’t want it and don’t want to put any money in it. It will cost the town 1 million over three years to take over the property. OV has said that the golf course will most likely lose 1.2 million a year for the next 5 years or a total of 6 million in losses that are just projected. Yet OV has a better idea and the golf industry will come back gangbusters and all will be unicorns and rainbows just like the trolley. Wonder why we haven’t had a report on the expenses and income of that piece of crap??? To remodel the clubhouse will take another 5 million or so and that brings the total of taxpayer monies spent without a vote to raise sales tax (most regressive form of tax) to about 12 million give or take. That doesn’t even include operations and maintenance. Wow, I can build a hell of a recreation center for 12 million and it would be paid for and the only expenses would be that operations and maintenance. As we all know figures like this have just been picked out of the air and OV has a better way of figuring so I am going to imagine that the total will be at least 30% more than they have told everyone. About the only fixed cost is the million to HSL so he can get out from under the golf course.

  11. Sadly, this nightmare doesn’t seem to end, only gets worse. I wonder how the people who voted Hiremath and company in now feel about their choice?

  12. This is the response to the Town Attny who told council person Burns that they coouldn’t put the acquisition to public vote. Well now there will be a public vote if the signatures are collected. Hopefully OV residents will step up.

  13. there’s little reason to be in OV unless you want a ticket for some minor infraction in the hyper-enforcement zone which OV has become. We do business there – because there are residents – is it better than COT, hate to admit it but yes… I’d have to say Marana currently has the leading city in this area – the COT seems to be moving north. OV is a nice retirement location – those living and paying their should be the one’s making the decisions of how they are taxed. This GC thing… I like the course – it’s far away – I rarely play because of that.. and of course you have to travel in OVPD ticketing ground to get there.. a significant reason to go around or stay out of town.

    • Agreed. I refer to OV as a police state because of the omnipresent police cars, suvs, motorcycles, they are everywhere. As for golf, I have worked in this industry for 30+ years, worked with the PGA and their golf growth initiatives (Get Golf Ready, Play Golf America, Foot Golf, etc…) and for all the golfers being brought into the game it does not offset those who leave for a variety of reasons. Golf is just a hard sport to play, takes a long time to play, is expensive, no meaningful exercise after the 4-5 hours spent playing and in addition to all that, there are too many golf courses in the area to support the quantity of golfers. Way too many. You can bring in Troon, OB Sports, Palmer, any management company and after their expenses are covered, their management fee (they don’t do it for free) there will be a shortfall forever that will have to be covered by taxpayers.

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