Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Guest View-George Cates: Golf Course/Community Center

Opposing voices concerning the town of Oro Valley’s purchase of the El Conquistador Golf and Country Club have fallen on deaf ears with the ruling majority of Oro Valley Council. What was true at the outset, before the purchase, continues to this day. They seem to believe that if we keep trying, somehow the great deal will turn in a positive result. Therefore, no criticism or recommendations for improvement meets with agreement.

Special Fund? Not hardly.
Following one recent update from Mike Zinken that called attention to the $2+ million golf course losses, Lord Mayor Satish Hiremath pronounced from his high horse that this was a “real estate deal” and not a “golf deal “ and admonished us to not worry about the losses because we have a “special fund” to cover them. His statement makes it seem that we have a source of free money when it is, in fact, tax money being diverted from other more productive uses. A bookkeeping maneuver created the “special fund” not some magic source. This fund ultimately flows from the massive tax increase that was supposed to cover repairs and upgrades to make the facility viable. Instead it does not even cover golf losses. Special Fund? Not hardly.

Zinkin, Burns, and Garner golf fix efforts continuously rebuffed by Majority-4
I appreciate the continual efforts of Council members Zinkin, Burns, and Garner to keep the issue in focus. Their efforts are continually rebuffed and often kept off the Council agenda by a solid majority that seems intent on preserving the status quo regardless of the consequences. For example, Council Member Zinkin researched and brought forward an operator who would lease the golf course and relieve the town of these continuing losses. His efforts were met with “stonewall” resistance and the operator could not even make a presentation to the council. What is the majority afraid of at this stage? The mayor continually resists any efforts to correct the golf course problem.

Another example was recently brought forward by Council Member Burns to correct many of the deficiencies by bonding the improvements and then using the (already enacted) tax receipts to fund the bond repayments. Again, the solid majority voting bloc gave the matter thumbs down.

Other examples can be given but they illustrate the same point: Oro Valley simply must reelect these three fine independent thinking council members if we have any hope of restoring fiscal and operational sanity.

George Cates
Oro Valley (16 year resident)