Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Editorial ~ Wednesday, April 19th Town Council Meeting --The $28 million dollar question

REMINDER: Wednesday, April 19th, 6:00 PM, Town Council Meeting. Item #1: Public Comment and possible action from Town Council regarding the community request for funding and construction of additional sport fields and related improvements for Naranja Park.

The requested funding is for a $17 million General Obligation Bond to be paid back with a secondary property tax (in addition to your Pima County property tax). This tax will last for 20 years for a total repayment of $28 million dollars.

This will be the first opportunity for public input for this item. The second opportunity for public input will be at the May 3, 2017 council meeting. The council will then vote whether to put this item on the November ballot for voter approval/disapproval.

Background Information
At the February 15, 2017 Town Council meeting, the Town received a request by some members of the community (including youth sports parents, athletes, and Oro Valley user groups) to construct additional sports fields at Naranja Park. Council directed staff to return at a future meeting with a proposal and a plan to finance it. This proposal was presented at the April 5th council meeting. Council asked that it be brought back to the April 19th council meeting for public comment.

Included in the Proposal
  • 3 lit multi-sport fields (oversized)
  • Baseball/softball complex including 4 fields, batting cages, and a concession building with restrooms
  • Playground
  • Ramada shade structures
  • Pedestrian walkways
  • Paved parking spaces (300 additional)

Taxpayers shouldn’t be punished for the “Sins of the Council”
The issue isn’t the ball fields, it’s the proposed funding. The Town wouldn’t need to issue a bond and secondary property tax for ball fields if the Town Council hadn’t made the rushed and foolish decision to purchase the El Con Community Center and Golf Courses in 2014. This enterprise has been under-performing for the entire two years that it’s been operating, thus bleeding the town of millions of dollars per year…money that could have been used to fund the Naranja Park ball fields instead without necessitating a secondary property tax.

Speak now or forever pay a property tax
Attend the Council Meeting and submit a Blue Card (available on the back table) to speak about Item #1. You can expect that many supporters will be in attendance and will speak. Those who oppose a secondary property tax to finance these ball fields need to make their voices heard as well.

If you are unable to attend, please e-mail the council members and send a copy of your e-mail to Town Clerk Michael Standish (mstandish@orovalleyaz.gov) and request that your letter be included in the Council Packet for the April 19th or May 3rd council meeting. The mayor and council member e-mails are as follows: