Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Watchdog Report: Look out! Council To Discuss Property Tax At April 5th Town Council Meeting.

The second regular agenda item on on today's Oro Valley Town Council meeting is a:

 "Discussion and Possible Action From Town Council Regarding The Funding and Construction of Additional Sports Fields and Related Improvements for Naranja Park."

You might ask, what is the connection between dipping into the General Fund Contingency Reserves to fund Community Center upgrades (see Part 1. of this article) and funding the construction of sports fields at Naranja Park? The answer is in the text of the agenda item. The financing plan for the sports fields at Naranja calls for a secondary property tax.

The mayor and all the sitting council members ran on a pledge of no property tax but we all know why this property tax discussion is suddenly needed. If the Town had not entered into the fiscally irresponsible decision to purchase the Community Center and Golf Courses from HSL, the .5% increase in the sales tax could have paid for the Naranja Park ball fields instead.

Sowing the seeds
Now the seeds of a property tax are starting to sprout. We finally see the results of the wasted dollars that were squandered by the purchase of the El Con Community Center and Golf Courses. The mayor and council have stated time and time again how Oro Valley can function without a property tax. Mayor Hiremath actually focused one of his State of the Town Addresses on how Oro Valley proudly does not have a property tax and was founded on the promise of no property tax.

Forcing people to subsidize other people’s golf games and sticking us with a Community Center that does not contain any of the Top 10 Amenities that residents requested in a Community Center apparently is not enough for this mayor and council. They’re now considering a property tax to cover the losses from their ill-advised, money-sucking golf course purchase.

Courtesy of WakeUp Tucson
The cost of poor leadership: $28 million dollars
The Town is suggesting General Obligation Bond funding (GO) of $17 million to finance these improvements. This will be paid back with property tax revenue of $1.4 million per year for 20 years for a total principal and interest repayment of $28 million. The secondary property tax will sunset at 20 years.

You can view the text of the agenda item here. (The property tax request is under the item labeled “Fiscal Impact.”)

How much has the El Con Real Estate Purchase cost the People so far?
Besides increasing the sales tax .5% to raise an additional $2 million per year, this fiasco has cost us $1 million for the purchase, $1.2 million to start the Community Center Fund, and thousands of dollars in illegal use of HURF funds (Highway User Revenue Funds) for Capital improvements. This is YOUR money. The Community Center fund is over $500,000 in the red with no chance in sight of becoming a positive balance.

Since its inception in 2015, the increased sales tax has raised $3,792,543. This is YOUR money that went to the El Con-HSL debacle.
Editor’s Note: Tonight’s Town Council Meeting begins at 6 PM in Town Council Chambers. Although there is no Public Hearing scheduled for the Naranja Park – Secondary Property Tax Agenda Item, residents opposed to this property tax are urged to attend the meeting to make your presence known. A packed room always signifies citizen awareness of a controversial agenda item.

If you cannot attend, you can link to the live meeting link beginning at 6 PM. Click on the “Town” tab in the upper left corner of the page, then click on “Mayor and Council,” then click on “View Live Meeting.”

You can link to the entire agenda here.

You might also want to e-mail the Mayor and Council with your thoughts at: