Updated: Sep 24, 2021
April 18, 2021
To: Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf
From: Niranjan Vescio (Chairman), Tony D’Angelo (President)
Date: April 18, 2021
Re: Proposed Ordinance No. (O)21-05
ISSUE AT HAND
Item No. 4 on the agenda for the Wednesday, April 21, 2021 Oro Valley Town Council Regular Session at 6:00pm has caught our attention (Click Here for the entire agenda).
Agenda item No. 4 reads:
Ø “PUBLIC HEARING: ORDINANCE NO. (O)21-05, DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION TO BROADEN THE USE OF THE REVENUE RESULTING FROM THE 0.5% INCREASE TO THE TRANSACTION PRIVILEGE TAX ENACTED BY ORDINANCE NO. (O)14-17 ON DECEMBER 17, 2014”
The board of FOPRG are extremely concerned with the town’s decision to consider a change to the use of the 0.5% sales tax at this time. No one on the Town Council has shared their motivation for the possible change or how they intend to finance the essential requirements to restore and operate the Pusch Ridge golf course.
While the attachment to the agenda item (Click Here for the attachment) suggests that if this new ordinance (O)21-05 is enacted, the funds generated by the original
Ø “Ordinance (O)14-17 shall be used to meet the needs of the operations of the Town of Oro Valley Community Center, golf and tennis facilities and for any other Parks and Recreation facilities, amenities or operations as determined by the Town Council”,
the timing of the proposed new ordinance on the heels of Mary Jacobs’ April 5th announcement (Click here, and scroll down to News) that
Ø “the Council in Executive Session provided direction to the Town Attorney and herself to move forward with the purchase of the former Vistoso Golf property subject to working with The Conservation Fund (TCF) and a successful fundraising campaign”,
has the potential to compromise our mission to help the town transform and preserve our beautiful PR golf course if the funding for PR golf course improvements is redirected.
Here is the recommendation of the former Oro Valley Finance Director in creating the special tax:
Stacey Lemos, Oro Valley Finance Director Recommendation to Town Council 12/17/2014:
“To fund these needs, staff proposes an additional revenue source in the form of a 0.5% transaction privilege tax (TPT) increase, raising our current TPT tax rate from 2% to 2.5% to generate approximately $2.0 million annually in additional revenues to be dedicated to funding the operating subsidy and capital costs of this facility over time.”
“It is estimated that the facility operations will result in an estimated operating deficit of approximately $1.2 million in the first year; however, it is anticipated that this deficit lowers each year and turns positive by FY 2018/19 as a result of increased capital investment and marketing of the facility, and quality management aimed at improving the user experience.
Capital investment needs at the facility total about $5.5 million over the next five fiscal years and address accessibility and life safety improvements at the facility, replacement of aging equipment and golf course upgrades.”
It was always clear the assets acquired from HSL properties, including the Community Center, golf courses, and tennis facilities, would require an additional dedicated funding source to cover operating expenses and capital improvements over time.
Tax funds were used to initially cover and eventually eliminate the operating deficits for the Community Center Fund assets, but the subsequent failure to maintain them to a standard of quality Oro Valley residents want and deserve, and improve their accessibility, quality and operating efficiency has undermined cost-effective operation and solicitation of qualified lease tenants.
We encourage all Friends to immediately email members of the Town Council (Council Members; Click Here) with their concerns and expectations for transparency of intension. We also encourage friends to dial into the town council Zoom meeting on April 21 to voice their concerns.
Questions to ask the town council may include:
1. Where is our assurance that the proposed new ordinance to broaden use of the TPT tax will not compromise funding for long delayed, and much needed, capital improvements of the existing CC fund amenities, including the restoration of the Pusch Ridge golf course.
2. What is the town council’s intention with the change to the use of the tax?
3. Why now? Is the Vistoso acquisition a motivation for this action?
4. Will all financial support for the Community Center facilities now be from the general fund?
5. Is there a belief that there are excess funds available in the community center fund?
6. Is the town pleased with how well facilities are being maintained?
7. If 91% of your statistically valid survey said the quality of the current parks is fair to poor, what standards will be established to improve conditions?
8. Given the generally poor quality of parks and recreation, will these funds be used to improve current parks or be used to invest in new parks?
9. Will all capital requirements now be bonded vs. “pay as we go”?
10. How will this action impact the commitment to restore Pusch Ridge Golf?
11. Does this action mean that no HOA subsidies are required going forward?
12. Will the town provide more transparency and details to how this tax is used going forward?
13. Who will decide how this tax will be reallocated? What criteria will be used?
Click Here to view this memo as a .PDF