Resident Don Bristow, a former council candidate, agreed to share a message he sent to residents about this transaction. Based on feedback you have given us, his concerns are shared with many in the community.
"In case you haven’t heard about the December 3rd Council meeting, and read that Oro Valley will raise sales taxes (without a sunset) to acquire El Conquistador’s country club, I have attached three items. Two are articles from the Arizona Daily Star, one appeared only online at Tucson.com. The other is an article about the decline of golfers and reasons for not getting into the golf course business. Course constructions, play and number of golfers continued to decline in 2013 as it has for many years, and it seems as though nothing can restart it. Even the proposed management company, Troon, agrees, when its vice president of sales says, “There’s no one thing that’s going to turn the industry or a club around.”
Pay back is hell! This deal is too good to pass up! These axioms are very appropriate for the Town Manger and Mayor Hiremath’s push for the Town to purchase the golf courses, tennis courts, and associated supporting facilities. The Town would purchase these through a collaborative arrangement with HSL Properties. This would allow HSL to buy the financiallydepressed Hilton El Conquistador Hotel which has been for sale for two years with no offers. Could HSL even buy the hotel if the golf courses are not sold?
You may know HSL as the owner of the new Encantada Steampump apartments near the Basis School; Hotel Arizona near the Tucson Convention Center; among other apartment and hotel holdings. You have probably read about Mr. Lopez and the Hotel Arizona which he let fall into shabbiness and disrepair; abandoned; and has refused to do anything to it unless Tucson gives him money.
You may also know HSL was biggest contributor to the reelection campaign of the four incumbents. The incumbents received close to $16,000 from HSL. Right before the election, the four incumbents began talking about the need for a community center. Mayor Hiremath claimed the discussions regarding sales of the Hilton have been going on for several months. Was he part of the discussions before the election? Is this purchase pay back for the money HSL invested in Oro Valley’s reelected officials?
Recently, the Stone Canyon Golf course sold for $20. The Ritz Carlton golf operations were sold for only $1. Is one million dollars a good price for Oro Valley to consider this? The Town’s PowerPoint presentation at the December 3rd meeting (view online) shows the Town will pay a yearly $1.2 to $1.5 million operating subsidy. That plus significant capital improvements of over $5 million, will leave the Town with a multimillion dollar deficit over the next five years.
On top of all this, the Mayor and his cohorts DO NOT WANT ANY PUBLIC INPUT. Is it fair for everyone who lives or shops in Oro Valley to pay increased sales taxes to support this purchase without input? Hopefully this is not a done deal.
Your opinions should be heard, and all your questions should be answered! Contact all of these people before the December 17th meeting when the decision will be finalized. Also, attend the meeting and let your voice be heard!
firstname.lastname@example.org (town manager) email@example.com (mayor)