Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: One Busy Year For Oro Valley

2014 in Oro Valley started with a recall attempt and it ended with a referendum attempt.  A busy year in Oro Valley.  Here's a review of the year, as told from the pages of LOVE.

January saw the continuation of an attempt to recall Council Member Mike Zinkin.     Boy, did we spend a lot of time writing about that!  Also in January, Oro Valley began to develop a two-year memorandum of understanding (MOU).  This memorandum defines the terms and conditions and pay scales for all public safety personnel.    January also saw the town extend the use of A-Frame signs for another two years.  We posted that at this point A-frame signs are permanent.

February saw the end of the Zinkin recall attempt. That attempt failed when the committee attempting the recall could not get sufficient signatures.  This closed yet another adversarial chapter in Oro Valley's history. We spoke at a council meeting asking Mayor Hiremath to bring our community together.  LOVE also celebrated its seventh birthday. This of course would have been the most important event of the year! However, it was not because Heather joined our team that month, bringing a much needed family and personal perspective to LOVE's reporting of life in Oro Valley.

March saw the council approve what LOVE called a "benefits rich" MOU. It also marked a time in which the town tightened public access to information by changing the manner in which requests are submitted and handled.  We suspect it was during that month that the town tightened up the way it was going to deal with LOVE's requests for information, most of which were submitted by John Musolf. There was also a puppy poisoning in town that month.  We wonder if the police ever solved that?

In April, we spent considerable time discussing the 2014-15  town manager recommended budget. It call for a substantial increase in spending of 14%. It also called for one time wage increases for Employees and cost-of-living increases that were twice the rate of Social Security increases.  In one of our postings we also chided Mayor Hiremath for further dividing our council by attacking council member Garner for a comment Garner made regarding the Police Department.

May saw the passage of the record budget. Oro Valley soared past the $100 million mark! Do we need say more?

Then came June, when our own John Musolf wrote about the perpetual life of the Oro Valley Utility tax.  We like to whine about the utility tax from time to time because it was supposed to be only a temporary tax when it first passed. However, like all taxes, this one just goes on and on. It has a perpetual life.

July and August was election time. We covered the forums. We provided the videos. We let you make a decision. Which you did make by reelecting the Council majority in late August.

In September, the town was hit with a massive once in a 100 year storm. The storm flooded many areas. Mayor Hiremath  declared a "state of emergency".  Town manager Caton mobilized resources. Within hours of the storm ending, highway and water department personnel were working to restore access to some of our communities.  They worked tirelessly in our behalf and within six weeks the roads were in pretty good shape again. It was a time in which Oro Valley came together.

We presented an article in October regarding the general agreement that we hoped could be reached in our community regarding a community center. We did not know about the planned The El Conquistador Club purchase when we made that posting. The posting included comments from most of our council members. We were hopeful that we might get something that the prior year we had identified as one of the key items that should be included in Oro Valley's 2015 General Plan update.

November was the first time we published anything about the golf business. We published about golf because it is critical to our community. Our research revealed that it is a sport that is in decline. We also reported about two major general plan amendments.

This month, December, we  reported that the two general plan amendments were considered but decisions were deferred until sometime in 2015. Council member Zinkin is work on this to build consensus. We also reported on town's council approved purchase of theThe El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Country Club and its conversion to and Oro Valley Community and Fitness center. This was another 4-3 vote. Recently we've reported about an attempt by TOOTHINOV.ORG to put the purchase decision two vote of the people.

So, we started the year with the recall attempt and are ending the year with a referendum attempt.

Oro Valley: "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." The more it changes, the more its the same thing."


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