Monday, May 15, 2017

The Watchdog Report: By Mike Zinkin

The Ides of March weren't good for Oro Valley either
Just like Julius Caesar had a bad month of March, so did the Oro Valley Golf and Community Center. The Community Center Fund (CRF) ended the month $346,907 in the red. At 75% through the fiscal year, the fund remains in the red, and the council still owes a $120,000 payment to the General Fund Contingency and $454,808 in promised capital improvements.

Troon-managed facilities (golf, food, beverage, non aquatic center swimming, and some tennis) lost $77,103 in March. They were forecasted only to lose $25,754. They missed their forecast by 33%. How does Troon manage to keep their job with their 2.5 year record of continually poor forecasting? Troon has lost $1,809,051 so far this fiscal year and we still have 25% of the fiscal year remaining. So far, they have upped their year-end forecasted losses from $1,534,505 to $2,038,334 to $2,092,218.

The Overlook Restaurant was forecasted to make $27,021, but lost $3,204. The food and beverage portion of Troon has lost $93,705 through March.

The dedicated Community and Recreation Center Fund is not covering expenses
The CRF fund was suppose to provide ALL the revenues for capital improvements, yet the FY 17/18 budget shows $75,000 coming from the Bed Tax Fund for tennis court improvements, another $75,000 coming from the Water Utility Fund for a water main replacement at the Community Center, and only $50,000 actually coming from the CRF for cart path improvements. In other words, of the $200,000 being spent on Community Center capital improvements, only $50,000 (or 25%) is actually being provided by the "special Community Center fund.”

Solomon’s Fuzzy Math
During the April 19th council meeting, Councilmember Solomon bragged that “7,000 rounds of golf were played” in March. Of course, he didn’t mention that 2,046 of those were member rounds. This is important to note because members do not pay per round, they pay a monthly fee and that fee does not change whether they play one round or 100 rounds. Solomon also neglected to mention that 602 of the 7,000 rounds were complimentary rounds or that golf memberships had increased by just one, from 238 to 239. This is a far cry from the 318 memberships that Troon desired to have by December 2016.

Solomon Speaks with Forked Tongue
Councilmember Solomon also mistakenly crowed during the April 19th council meeting that:

“…the Golf and Community Center revenues and dedicated half cent sales tax for this year will cover all of its costs. It’s not using any other town funds. It’s not taking money from any other town project or town source.”

Of course, none of that was true. Interestingly, after claiming that the dedicated Community Center fund was covering all of the costs, just one week later, during the April 26th budget study session, it was none other than Councilmember Solomon who suggested taking additional monies from the General Fund Contingency to do some upgrades to the Community Center. Councilmember Rodman agreed.

This is a complete turnaround from what they asserted while campaigning – that we didn’t need to worry about Community Center expenses because there was a special fund set aside for those expenses. Additionally, it has always been the Town's philosophy that one time expenses should be paid for with one time revenues. Dipping into the General Fund would certainly be a departure from this philosophy.

A novel idea - Represent your constituents
If Councilmembers Solomon and Rodman desire to spend General Fund Contingency monies, why don't they spend them on Naranja Park? That way their constituents will get something they desire. They NEVER desired a golf course, more swimming pools, or a restaurant. What their constituents desired is spelled out in the June 2014 statistically valid survey.

Councilmember Rodman is a member of the Gallery Golf Club – a club that fired Troon. Oro Valley residents should ponder this question: If Troon was not managing Councilmember Rodman's money responsibly, why does he allow them to mismanage your money?

Et tu Hiremath, et al.