Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oro Valley's 2016 Strategic Plan Is A Guide To The 2015 Budget.. But Is That Good Enough?

Last week, the Oro Valley Town Council approved by 4-2 vote a strategic plan for 2015.

"The overall purpose of the Strategic Plan is to direct decision-making and budgeting by the Town of Oro Valley and provide guidance to staff. The Strategic Plan also communicates to the residents or stakeholders the town’s priorities."

The plan identifies five focus areas. Each of these has a goal. Each goal has one or more strategies to achieve it. Each strategy has one or more steps.

For example, one area of focus is fiscal responsibility. The goal is to maintain thelong-term financial health of Oro Valley through diversified revenue sources while strategically investing in community initiatives. One strategy is to evaluate opportunities to diversify the Town’s revenue sources. One step to achieve this strategy are was to "Review and update Town-wide fees and charges for services, as necessary, to ensure appropriate cost recovery.

Three action areas of particular interest include:
  • "Explore the possibility of a special taxing district for a cultural/historical center or downtown area.
"Special taxing districts, often referred to as special districts, are usually created to fill a need and to enable the provision of services in an area that might otherwise be limited from receiving those services." The State of Arizona allows for 42 types of special taxing districts. For example, Golder Ranch Fire district is a special taxing district. Generally, voters must approve its formation. The services provided by the district are paid by property taxes.
  • "Evaluate the development of an entertainment district that includes music, sports, museums, and private/nonprofit galleries."
  • "Improve processes to allow appropriate flexibility to regulations (e.g. sign code), streamline processes, determine new practices, encourage innovation, and implement new ideas."
At least one Oro Valley resident, Bill Adler, is not completely happy with the strategy. Bill asserts that the strategy is far from satisfactory in recognizing the contributions of strategic partners SAACA and the Oro Valley Historical Society.

In a message sent to Mayor Hiremath, resident Bill Adler wrote:
"SAACA continues to provide economic development, cultural and educational programs in Oro Valley with very little Town support, acknowledgement or participation. ...The strategic plan makes no mention of SAACA or the Historic Society as existing partners in these efforts. Talks about "event planner" when SAACA and the Historic Society have both demonstrated success in both capacities. The Town chooses to manage some events in-house, and the resident attendance is consistently lower than when SAACA handled the same events in the same locations, but with different levels of skill, talent and attendance."
What do you think? Is the strategy balanced? Or is the strategy missing something?

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