Generally, we reserve Friday for "Bits and Pieces" of stuff about Oro Valley. This week, it being election time, we're going to also post a guest view regarding the practice of Council Member’s Hornat and Waters charging the taxpayers for every mile they drive. This includes miles they drive from their home to the Town offices.
There is something for you to consider as you cast your vote in the Oro Valley Town Council election, Do you think that the council incumbents have been good stewards of your taxpayer money? One indicator of this would be their requests for mileage reimbursements.
As a point of reference, I’m providing the statistics for all the councilmembers even though only three of them are up for re-election.
To their credit, Councilmembers Garner, Burns, and Snider charged ZERO for 2012-2013. They do not charge the taxpayers to attend meetings or events. Councilmember Zinkin charged only for trips outside of town limits, most trips averaging 30-50 miles.
Contrast this with the mileage reimbursements submitted by Councilmembers Hornat and Waters during the same period. They submitted a total of $2,637.56 despite rarely leaving town limits. They even charged the taxpayers when there was a free meal involved.
Hornat charged for every 8-mile round-trip from his home to Town Hall. He charged to attend fun events including a “Baseball Fiesta,” the Halloween Safe Treats Program, and the Annual Holiday Parade. He charged to attend events that included free meals such as the OV/Marana Legislative Breakfast, the Marana State of the Town Luncheon and the Annual TREO luncheon.
Waters charged for 4-mile round-trips from his home to Town Hall. He charged to attend enjoyable events such as ribbon cuttings, grand openings, the El Tour de Tucson, the Project Graduation Car Show, the Steam Pump Ranch Fall Festival, and the Holiday Tree Lighting. He also charged for attending events where he was treated to a free meal including farewell and retirement parties, the State of the Town Luncheon, and an Appreciation BBQ.
Waters even charged mileage to attend a Veterans Memorial Program and to deliver groceries for the disadvantaged at the Annual Ed Jones Thanksgiving Bag-a-Thon where he was treated to a free breakfast.
Perhaps the reason that Councilmembers Hornat and Waters attend so many events or visit Town Hall so frequently is because they get money-to-go in the form of mileage reimbursements. Apparently, they see this as an easy way of getting a few more bucks from the taxpayers. While I have no issue with anyone charging mileage for travel of 30-50 miles or more, I think it’s presumptuous for council members to think that taxpayers should foot the bill for travel within town limits or for attending enjoyable events and parties.
I have no doubt that Don Bristow will not follow this standard. He believes the citizens are stakeholders, not cash cows.
Diane Peters has lived in Oro Valley since 2003, moving here to escape the humidity of the East Coast. Combining her love of animals and writing, she wrote her first protest letter at the age of 12 to the Canadian Prime Minister in support of ending the annual baby harp seal hunt. Years later, she flew by helicopter to the ice floes off the coast of Newfoundland where she was able to pet baby harp seals recently born on the frozen tundra. Her other interests include reading, nature photography, traveling to National Parks, Native American history, art galleries, museums, and following politics. In her past life, she worked in medical research at various University Hospitals in New England, including coordinating Oncology Clinical Trials and preparing manuscripts for publication in medical journals. Her husband is an Army veteran who served in Germany and South Korea. A former hippie, he attended the 1969 Woodstock Festival in Upstate New York.