On Tuesday, the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted in favor once again of the highly controversial purchase of the Golden Pins Bowling Alley, and to accept County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry’s July 12, 2018 memorandum on the “World View Incident Investigation Report.”
Supervisors Elias, Valadez, and Bronson voted to approve spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on asbestos removal and remediation for what many believe is an over-priced building.
On May 15, 2018, the Pima County Board of Supervisors in a 3:2 vote approved an Acquisition Agreement to acquire the Golden Pins Bowling Alley located at 1010 W. Miracle Mile for the contract amount of $2,941,600–which is nearly 30% higher than the appraised value of $2.2 million. Supervisor Miller opposed the acquisition citing issues with the appraisal which didn’t include consideration of asbestos and questioned why the urgency in approving this purchase at 30% over appraised value.
|Did you know?|
|According to a memo dated February 8, 2018, prepared by Huckelberry, “The Raytheon Airport Site facilities sustained minor damage and disruptions in business operations as a result of the incident. Additionally, Raytheon continues to be concerned about the World View “Test Planning” process and the safety reviews/oversight of those test plans for activities on the “Launch Pad.”|
Supervisors Bronson, Elias, and Valadez objected and approved the purchase, stating the 45-day due diligence would be started after the purchase approval. County Administrator Huckelberry later issued a memorandum stating the county would spend $2.9 to acquire the property plus an additional $4 million to renovate the property.
“Due to my effort to exercise due diligence, the presence of asbestos in the building was made public,” said Miller. “Despite the presence of asbestos and high remediation costs associated with this building, County staff has pushed forward with the sale. Today County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry confirmed that taxpayers will be asked to pick up the majority of the costs associated with removal and remediation.”
“So much about this deal is still unknown and the most important question has never been answered.” Miller concluded, “Taxpayers want to know why the County Administrator insists on buying more and more private property and refuses to use their tax money on fixing our roads.”
On July 18, 2018 Supervisor Miller directed the Clerk of the Board to place an item on the August 7, 2018 Board of Supervisors meeting agenda to discuss the World View incident on December 19, 2017. Supervisor Miller raised a number of issues with the various reports generated by the County and claims made by staff since the time of the explosion that rocked Pima County residents.
Mr. Huckelberry’s July 12 memo raises more questions than answers, said Miller on Tuesday. Miller noted that while Mr. Huckelberry tried to downplay the damages, he now, through many contortions, acknowledges that the damages were “significant,” but “superficial.”
The damages incurred as a result of a hydrogen gas-fueled balloon explosion at “Spaceport Tucson” on December 19, 2017, now total $475,196.08.
According to a memo dated February 8, 2018, prepared by Huckelberry, “The Raytheon Airport Site facilities sustained minor damage and disruptions in business operations as a result of the incident. Additionally, Raytheon continues to be concerned about the World View “Test Planning” process and the safety reviews/oversight of those test plans for activities on the “Launch Pad.”
Currently, the Goldwater Institute is in litigation with Pima County. There are 3 prongs to the lawsuit filed by Goldwater. They include allegations regarding lease terms, alleged violation of Arizona’s Gift Clause and the procurement process employed by the County in the World View deal.
“Once again, Pima County taxpayers’ resources are being used for private interests. In this case, those resources were used to generate multiple stories, piles of paper, and unbelievable spin in order to mitigate the public relations damage this entire deal has done,” said Miller.
“If the County spent as much effort creating a business-friendly environment as they do on propping up questionable enterprises,” said Miller, “our small business owners might have a fighting chance.”
“The purpose of my inquiry was to provide answers that the public wanted and deserved to hear from County staff. The investigation wasn’t conducted by an independent outside agency such as the FAA or the NTSB,” explained Miller. “County staff member John Voorhees stated in an email that he did not want to be directly involved in the investigation of the explosion. As a result of these failures, the public did not get the answers they wanted and deserved.”
Miller stated, “I know that few Pima County residents will ever be able to enjoy the space toursim experience World View hopes to offer one day, but they sure seem to have been taken for a ride by the County administration.”
Miller said she still does “not have a high level of confidence in the investigation or the County’s response. There still remains a number of unanswered questions and unaddressed issues.”