Reason #1: The El Con deal is a great deal for HSL Properties – not for Oro Valley.
The deal was negotiated behind closed doors between Mayor Hiremath and HSL Properties (who contributed thousands of dollars to his re-election campaign.) The $1 million price-tag is more like a down payment as an additional $12 million in revenue losses, repairs, and upgrades is projected/planned for the next 5-10 years.
Reason #2: The decision was rushed and there was a lack of transparency.
The acquisition was decided by a divided Council (4-3 vote) with only two weeks notice to the citizens. The council was clearly not afforded the appropriate time for due diligence as some pertinent documents were given to Council only a couple of hours before the meeting.
Reason #3: The contract was negotiated between Troon and HSL, not between Troon and the Town of OV.
The Council did not see the contract (which will be assumed by the Town upon purchase) until 6 days after the vote!
The council voted to approve this deal without ever seeing the contract!
Reason #4: The Troon contract was drafted on December 15th meaning it could have been made available for the council to inspect prior to the Dec. 17th vote. The contract could have been and should have been shown to the council but it wasn’t. Why?
Reason #5: A sales tax increase without public input is wrong.
Mayor Hiremath dictated to the citizens where the community center would be located, what it would contain, how much it would cost, and how we would pay for it (with an increase in our sales tax from 2% to 2.5%). The community center is supposed to be for the citizens, but the citizens were not allowed to have any input. In fact, a Town survey conducted in June 2014 revealed that a sales tax increase was the residents’ last choice for funding Parks and Recreation facilities.
Reason #6: A 2014 survey of residents revealed the top ten amenities that residents wanted. The list does not include tennis courts, pools, or golf courses.
According to this survey, 56% to 82% of respondents want the following in a Community Center:
- ramadas and picnic areas
- paved walking paths
- Little League baseball fields
- indoor racquetball and basketball
- multi-sport fields for soccer, lacrosse
- youth softball fields
- rooms for aerobics and yoga
- natural surface trails
- outdoor basketball courts.
How can Mayor Hiremath claim that he’s doing this for the citizens when this isn’t what the citizens requested?
Tomorrow, in part 2, I will discuss the concerns of residents living along the golf course.
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 to photograph baby harp seals. Her other interests include reading, nature photography, traveling to National Parks, Native American history, art galleries, museums, and politics. In her past life, she worked at various University Hospitals in New England assisting in 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.