Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tonight's The Night: What People Don't Like About The ElCon Purchase (Part 2)

Tonight, the Oro Valley Town Council will consider increasing the sales tax by one half cent to finance the operation of a community center and recreation facility. The facility will be the site of the The El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Country Club.  The facility includes several golf courses, two swimming pools, and 31 tennis courts. Oro Valley will  purchase from HSL Properties for $1 million.  HSL is purchasing it from Met Life.

Monday, we presented the town's case for approving this transaction.    In this posting, we present the objections of those who do not favor this transaction:
  • The one half cent sales tax increase lacks community input
  • There is a rush to make a decision 
  • Some allege insufficient due diligence on the part of an inexperienced Oro Valley management team. (Monday we posted regarding the steps undertaken by the town.  You can and should draw your own conclusions as to whether these steps were sufficient to use to advocate for the purchase...or not.)
  • Some fear an appearance of influence based on the campaign relationship between the Mayor, the council majority and HSL Properties 
  • Some question the judgment of purchasing and running golf courses at a time when the golf busineess is in a major decline and when other golf courses in our town are suffering financially.
  • Others fear the substantial investment required and a financial feasibility pinned on the "hope" of making money five years from now, after investing millions 
  • Some question wither the town should go into a business that compete with private enterprise
    • Oro Valley's private golf clubs 
    • Oro Valley's fitness clubs 
  • Perhaps, some allege, the inspection of the facility has not revealed big problems like an allege "black mold" problem
  • Others wonder why Oro Valley wants to provide two activities, golf and tennis, that have never even been on the radar of the town before the El Con opportunity.
Some of these concerns have been asked and answered. For example, the town responded to a lack of community input, the urgency of the transaction, and the need for a multi-use facility in its press release last week. In addition, LOVE was provide a list of due diligence activities, which we wrote about on Monday.
  • The community will have the opportunity this evening to opine on this transaction.  This will give them the opportunity to opine on the sales tax increase that is proposed.  
  • The  urgency of the transaction is based on the timing of the other parties involved in it. 
  • The town is providing golf  and tennis  this facility because the community, in a recent survey, said they wanted a multi-use recreation center. 
  • The town provided us with a detailed list of due diligence activities that they undertook.  We posted these Monday.
Mayor Hiremath's view of the transaction is that any "...implication that campaign contributions are a factor in my decision making is ludicrous."

Some of the concerns have not been addressed by the town or others:
  • It is wise to purchase and operate a golf course? 
  • Is it wise for Oro Valley ito compete with private enterprise? 
  • Is this transaction and the substantial future costs worth the investment?
  • Do people want the community center but  not the "amenities?"
It is expected that many citizens will speak at tonight's meeting. Feelings are running strong.

We have been told  that some are prepared to form a PAC to petition for voter approval of this item. if he council approves this item tonight.

Mayor Hiremath faces a cross roads: Will he jam this purchase down the throats of the many who oppose it, as a 4-3 council vote would do; or will he have the wisdom to should slow down this race, take a breath, and let Oro Valley residents digest it?  

LOVE plans to attend this meeting and post results.  Stay tuned!


Richard Furash, MBA said...

They're all saying campaign contributions had no part in their decision making. Do they think we're stupid? All politicians say that. Check out NY Times coverage yesterday regarding campaign contribution influence.

"Mr. Menendez’s office acknowledged going to bat for Ms. IsaĆ­as, but insisted that the advocacy was not motivated by money.

“Our office handled this case no differently than we have thousands of other immigration-related requests over the years and to suggest that somehow the senator’s longstanding and principled beliefs on immigration have been compromised is just plain absurd,” said Patricia Enright, the senator’s spokeswoman."

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Let us see: A $16K "contribution" to the pro-development wing of the Town Council and a $1M pay back to the developer.
Looks like a good return on investment to me. It is only "ludicrous" if you get caught.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

I want a referendum on the "deal" (or two) AND a recall of the Fab Four......I cannot take four more years of this.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Don't need a crystal ball for this one. The Sprouts marketplace did not generate the sales tax dollars that were projected by the developer. OV Marketplace did not generate the sales tax dollars that were projected by the developer nor did we get the unique shopping experience that they promised.
The promises we're getting now are empty promises, too.

First the council should find out specifically what citizens want in a community center and find out how much they're willing to pay for it. Right now, King Hiremath is dictating both of those things to us.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

If, and that's a big IF - OV wants a community center, Steam Pump Ranch is sitting right there with plenty of room and ready for real action. Building costs for a new facility must cost-out better compared to the major repair costs necessary on the Hilton C.C. building

Richard Furash, MBA said...

IF this goes through (I'm trying not to assume WHEN), the property needs work. Are the projects things that can be done by people, contractors, businesses in OV in exchange for greens fees, gym and pool use, restaurant use, etc?