Friday, November 16, 2018

Jacobs To Hear Your Concerns on Moore and LaCanada Traffic Control

Town Manager Jacobs issues a monthly to council. The report is now available on line. The following "items in quote" are from the November report.

Jacobs to hear your thoughts on traffic control at Moore and LaCanada
"The Town Engineer and the internal Traffic Safety Committee are recommending to me [Jacobs] that the Town install a roundabout rather than a traffic signal at the intersection of Moore and La Canada. Since there was significant interest in the intersection at a neighborhood meeting held earlier this year, I will hold a final neighborhood meeting on Monday, December 3 to personally listen to issues and concerns prior to making a decision." The budget for this project is $1million.

Strategic Planning in store for council and executive leadership team
"The Town received eight responses from firms interested in providing strategic planning services to the new Council and Executive Leadership Team. The proposals are under review and we anticipate awarding a contract to the selected firm later this month."

Economic development creation plan in progress
"The CED Director is working with the Town Manager to finalize an Economic Development Strategy outlining specific strategies and tactics on how to retain, expand and attract new primary and service sector investment and job creation in Oro Valley. The finalized report will be forwarded to the Town Council in the near future."

Community Center getting facelift
"The Community Center lobby will have a facelift in November. New carpet and front desk reconfiguration will result in improved aesthetics, improved customer service flow and improved staff security and safety. Minor disruptions on Nov 20-21, but members will be notified well in advance"

Overlook restaurant still in business
"The Overlook restaurant will continue to facilitate the very popular Family Fish Fry, Second Saturday, Date Night and Third Thursday Pasta and Pizza. New fall hours went into effect on October 1. The Overlook will serve lunch daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The annual Thanksgiving Holiday Buffet will be served on Thursday, November 22, from 1-5 p.m."

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Western States Drought Could Restrict CAP Water

CAP water comes from the Colorado River by agreement, not by right
The Central Arizona Project (CAP) channels water from the Colorado River to cities and towns in Arizona. CAP gets its water from Lake Mead.  CAP  has an agreement with six other states and Mexico.

The amount of water Arizona is allowed to take for CAP is designated by agreement with two other states, Unfortunately, a huge water hog, California, drinks from the same trough. Nevada, another water hungry state (how many water displays are in Las Vegas?) also partakes.

CAP water came to Oro Valley in 2012
CAP water was not used by Oro Valley until six years ago. That was because there was no way to get water to Oro Valley from the reservoirs in Avra Valley. First, the reservoirs had to be built; then the City of Tucson had to get the water.  Oro Valley Water signed an agreement with Tucson Water to "wheel" water through
them to Oro Valley. Oro Valley needed the water because growth had caused the town to draw more than it target maximum groundwater target water usage.

CAP water is a significant contributor to Oro Valley's water supply
Oro Valley uses CAP water to recharge its wells. As this chart shows, Oro Valley now uses less groundwater than its target maximum groundwater use. Prior to CAP becoming accessible, this was most certainly not the case.

Oro Valley now depends on CAP water to replenish its wells. Oro Valley can not provide water at a "safe well usage" level without it.

The prolonged western states drought threatens the Colorado River water supply
There is a prolonged drought in the West that has reduced available water levels.

"The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, responsible for divvying up Lake Mead’s water and electric power, in August reported a 57 percent chance that Lake Mead’s water levels would be so dismal in 2020 that Arizona and Nevada would face cutoffs." (Source)

Specifically, Lake Mead and Lake Powell that feeds it, are at 38% and 45% of maximum levels. (Source) The sources that feed these lakes aren't in much better shape. (Read more about the CAP water situation here and here.)

Our conclusion: Be good for the town to consider whether it really is wise to encourage growth in total water consumption given the possibility that CAP water could be restricted. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Watchdog Report: August 2018

Community Center Fund
The August 2018 Community Center/Golf numbers are in. The Community Center Fund (funded with your sales tax revenues) to pay for ALL the expenses for the Community Center/Golf ended August 2018 $215,610 in the red. This is what Hiremath-Hornat-Snider-Waters referred to as “breaking even” during their 2018 re-election campaigns. This deficient includes $356,161 in your sales taxes to offset the losses.

Revenues were 869,664. Expenses were $1,121,274. When you add the fact that this fund started the year $74,010 in the hole, you get a fund balance as of August 31st of minus $325,620.

We lost $75,177 more in August 2018 than in August 2017.

Troon Golf
Troon’s revenues were $13,345 less in August 2018 than August 2017. This is partially because the dues the members pay were $10,752 less in 2018. What happened to the robust membership income? As of September 30, 2018, golf membership is down to 214. For comparison, golf membership in August 2017 was 238.

The Overlook Restaurant
The Overlook Restaurant lost $21,661 in August 2018. They pay no rent, they pay no utilities, and they do not pay for advertising, yet they still lose almost $700.00 a day. Since the close of FY 2015/16 (the first year of operation) the Overlook has lost $384,685 yet the “Hiremath” Town Council and Town Manager kept it open.

The golf membership is at an all time low, the Overlook continues to lose money, your sales tax revenues continue to increase, the Community Center Fund continues to be in the red, yet the Troon contract has been extended for another 6 months to December 2019. Additionally, the Pusch Ridge course was reopened on November 1st and we will continue with the same 36-hole model that includes private membership.

We still have September and October numbers to see before we can close out the legacy of Hiremath-Hornat-Snider-Waters. Although those two Watchdog Reports will be published after the new Council is seated, the numbers posted in those upcoming reports will still be the responsibility of Hiremath et. al.
Mike Zinkin has a Bachelor’s degree in history and government from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education from California State University, Northridge. He was a commissioned ensign in the United States Navy Reserve. He was an Air Traffic Controller for 30 years. He and his wife moved to Oro Valley in 1998. Mike served on the Oro Valley Development Review Board from 2005-2009 and the Board of Adjustment from 2011-2012. He served on the Town Council from 2012-2016 during which time he was named a Fellow for the National League of Cities University, he was a member of the National League of Cities Steering Committee for Community and Economic Development, and a member of the Arizona League of Cities Budget and Economic Development Committee.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Guest View: Diane Peters ~ A New Beginning

Please watch the included video of Mayor Winfield’s opening remarks after being sworn in as mayor last Wednesday. Contrary to the openly hostile and “I’m always right” demeanor of the previous mayor, I believe you will find Mayor Winfield to be amiable, humble, and respectful.

Highlights from Mayor Winfield’s opening remarks
Winfield stated that in working with many elected officials over the years, he has learned that “Our elected officials are (1) simply ordinary people for the most part and (2) they clearly are individuals that have a desire to serve and make their community a better place.”

Mayor Winfield graciously thanked the outgoing mayor and council
He shared anecdotes to include Mary Snider’s long-standing involvement with school students and how it “speaks to her devotion to our community.” With Veterans’ Day approaching, Winfield honored Joe Hornat’s military service, noting that it “exemplifies a lifetime of service that Joe has dedicated to our country and to this community.”

The video also includes Winfield’s kind remarks and anecdotes about Mayor Hiremath and Vice-Mayor Lou Waters.

Winfield also shared his vision for leading our town
Winfield extended an inclusive outlook in defining his vision. “It’s our greatest desire to serve all the members of our community and we know it takes collaboration and cooperation and civility to make that happen…certainly we can be civil and collaborative in our efforts to serve you.”

“We are anxious to build a relationship with you, our community. We pledge that we are here to serve you and we are going to do everything we can to make you a part of that process. We don’t want anyone to feel disenfranchised or out of the loop, so to speak…We’re here to govern for all the members of our community.”

Diane Peters has lived in Oro Valley since 2003, moving here to escape the humidity of the East Coast. She’s been involved in OV politics and development issues since 2006. In 2014, she organized a citizens group, Citizen Advocates of the Oro Valley General Plan, who over a 9-month period, successfully negotiated a controversial 200-acre development project. In her past life, she worked in medical research at various University Hospitals in New England. Her interests include reading, writing, nature photography, travel, art galleries, museums, and politics.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

New Mayor and Council Sworn In

There were many smiling faces in the crowd during the Welcome Reception held in the Town Hall courtyard just prior to the new mayor and council taking office last evening. Familiar faces in the crowd included former Mayor Paul Loomis, former councilmembers Mike Zinkin, Bill Garner, and Dick Johnson. LOVE’s publisher and numerous LOVE contributors were also in attendance.

Afterwards, the crowd moved into Council Chambers for the swearing in ceremony. Immediately after being sworn in, Mayor Winfield gave a very touching and often humorous speech as he introduced himself to the audience. He took a few moments to thank the outgoing mayor and council for their service and included a thoughtful anecdotal story about each one.

One of the more humorous moments came when Winfield mentioned that a resident had warned him that, “Governing is a lot different than campaigning. To which Winfield replied, “I certainly hope so.”

The video of his speech will be published on LOVE next week.

Later in the evening Melanie Barrett was appointed as Vice-Mayor with a unanimous 7-0 vote.

Below are some pictures from the reception and the council meeting.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

New Council Installed Tonight... Big Challenges Ahead

The installation
For the first time in 8-1/2 years there will be four new council members.
Tonight, at 6pm in Town Council Chambers, Mayor Joe Winfield, and Council Members Joyce Jones-Ivey, Melanie Barrett, and Josh Nicolson will be seated at the table. We've published a personal profile about each of them this past week.

Huge challenges ahead
The new council faces many challenges. We have discussed some of these in the past several weeks.
Biggest challenge is to work together
Despite the magnitude of these challenges, the biggest challenge will be within the council itself. Can they work together in the best interest of the community?

We have no doubt that the newcomers will be able to do so. They are individuals. They will all act in accordance with what they believe is best for the community. They will disagree on some things but they will never be disagreeable.

But what of the three holdover members?

They have 2 years left in their term.  They ran as a team in 2016, supporting the agenda of the former council. They have distinguished themselves by voting for general plan amendments, zoning changes, a property tax, a bonding to pay for improvements to the golf course, and for developers in general.

What will the three Hiremath holdovers do when faced with decisions for which they must prepare? What will the three Hiremath holdovers do when they have to engage in a logical and not a bullying discussion? What will the three Hiremath holdovers do when their job requires more than attending events for photo ops?

Time will tell.

It begins tonight!