May 2, 2021
To: Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf
From: Niranjan Vescio (Chairman), Tony D’Angelo (President)
Date: May 2, 2021
Re: Oro Valley Town Council Regular Session Agenda Items for May 5, 2021
We are pleased to report tremendous progress toward preserving the Pusch Ridge golf course but urge Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf (FOPRG) to seek further clarity at the May 5th Town Council meeting at 6:00 pm.
Our April 18, 2021 Special Memorandum advised FOPRG that Ordinance (O)21-05 had suddenly appeared on the April 21st Town Council agenda and threatened to undermine funding for the Pusch Ridge (PR) golf course by broadening use of the 0.5% sale tax. The 0.5% tax was originally established to operate and improve the community center, golf and tennis facilities being acquired from HSL Properties.
Many expressed concerns at the April 21st meeting, urging the Town Council to make their intensions clear about whether the PR golf course would continue to be funded through the 0.5% tax. Although there was a crescendo for voices supporting broadened use of the 0.5% tax for other Parks and Recreation properties (all of which is fair and prudent, given excess funds), the concerns expressed by the HOAs, golf supporters and FOPRG were heard.
The Oro Valley Town Council extended discussion on Ordinance (O)21-05 due to Councilmember absences but may vote to use of the additional 0.5% tax to support other Parks and Recreation amenities and other uses as early as this May 5th. The May 5th agenda states: 1. 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 (continued from April 21, 2021 Town Council meeting) 2. SUBJECT TO APPROVAL OF AGENDA ITEM #1, DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION REGARDING THE FUTURE USE OF THE BROADENED 0.5% SALES TAX COLLECTIONS, INCLUDING THE POTENTIAL BOND FINANCING FOR CONSTRUCTION OF PARKS AND RECREATION, GOLF, AND COMMUNITY CENTER CAPITAL PROJECTS, AND/OR OTHER USES AS DETERMINED BY COUNCIL (continued from April 21, 2021 Town Council meeting)
In a private meeting last week with leaders of the Canada Hills HOAs, Mayor Joe Winfield and Town Manager Mary Jacobs suggested this change is not intended to alter commitments made to support the Community Center, tennis or golf operations, including Pusch Ridge. Key points made during this meeting included:
·Sales Tax will be dedicated to all recreational needs not just golf and the community center.
Sales tax collections are far exceeding original estimates.
Operational expenses for all golf, tennis, and community center needs will be covered.
Funds in excess of the above will be allocated to Naranja park/community center/golf/tennis/Steam Pump Ranch/Amphi Schools partnerships/ other multiuse needs
HOA Agreements (irrigation of Conquistador and Canada) will be fulfilled.
Excess funds will be available for bonding projects (it was suggested that instead of continuing with “Pay as you go” to fund capital for the facilities, the council will consider bonding to complete all capital requirements and use tax funds to pay back the bonds)
All parameters and goals established by the mayor to win his support for golf have been met.
The proposed budget for next year includes the Conquistador course irrigation project and funding for all operational costs for all golf, community center and tennis facilities.
What mayor and manager did not provide were specifics for restoring and operating the Pusch Ridge golf course, and authorizing capital investments to improve the course.
Attached below is the draft Ordinance that the town council will consider on May 5th. Funding to operate is mentioned, but funding to improve is not. There is also no mention of capital bonding nor is there any mention of quality standards for the Community Center, tennis or golf facilities to assess excess funds availability for other uses. Instead, it appears to leave that to be determined by Town Council.
Therefore, as written, this Ordinance may not assure the Community Center, tennis and golf facilities will be adequately funded to achieve and maintain viability as quality operations serving the community.
If the mayor follows through as he stated to the Canada Hills HOA leaders, this change could be a positive for Pusch Ridge Golf Course and all of the Community Center facilities. Sufficient funds will be allocated to operate all golf courses competitively and the capital projects can be completed sooner.
However, the mayor only represents one of the seven votes on the town council and there remain some members with firm anti-golf/community center positions.
We encourage Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf Course to make your concerns and positions known to the Town Council. It is important that we do not come across as opposing support for other parks and recreation needs, i.e., ballfields, playgrounds, etc. Our objective is to gain assurances from the Town Council that they remain committed to adequately fund both operation and improvement of the Community Center, tennis and all 45 holes of golf so that they can succeed. This includes accelerating the completion of capital projects (i.e., PR irrigation system replacement from Year 4 to Year 2 or 3) and fulfilling the commitment to restore and reopen Pusch Ridge Golf Course.
We encourage Friends to email the Town Council members in advance of the May 5th meeting and call into the Zoom Town Council meeting to express your position during the public hearing on the subject. (Town agenda and Zoom information at https://destinyhosted.com/agenda_publish.cfm?id=67682&mt=ALL&get_month=5&get_year=2021&dsp=ag&seq=591)
Please contact either of us is you have any questions. Thank you.
Niranjan Vescio: email@example.com, Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf, Chairman
Tony D’Angelo: firstname.lastname@example.org, Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf, President
Click Here to view this memo as a .PDF
Click Here to view the Town's Ordinance No. (O)21-5