Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Editorial ~ The El Conquistador Purchase from HSL appears to be the most Irresponsible Decision in the History of Oro Valley

On tonight’s Town Council agenda (Wednesday, June 21, 2017) is a discussion for possible action to amend the Fiscal Year 16/17 budget before it expires on June 30th. The Finance Director is requesting that the Council allow for a reallocation of an expected $2 million dollar General Fund surplus. What does this mean? If the Council approves this reallocation, instead of adding the $2 million surplus to the General Fund Contingency, they will instead add only $300,000.

Here’s the plan:
The Finance Director is requesting that the Council take $350,000 of the surplus and direct it to the Community and Recreation Center Fund (CRC). Keep in mind how the Mayor and his minions have stated time and time again how there’s no need to worry because, "We have a fund to cover all the golf and community center expenses.” That fund is the CRC which is funded with the half-cent sales tax increase. (The remaining allocations are explained at the end of this article).

The Council report states:
"Based on year-end budget projections presented in the April financial reports, it is estimated that the Community Center Fund will end the year with an estimated deficit of $285,000, including the $120,000 loan repayment transfer to the General Fund. Contributing factors to this deficit are mainly water costs due to unseasonably warm and dry weather conditions this spring and golf member dues revenues trending under budget. Staff is recommending a transfer of $350,000 from the estimated year-end General Fund surplus amount of nearly $2 million into this fund to close the deficit and provide a minimal positive fund balance to begin FY 2017/18.”

Robbing Peter to pay Paul
In other words, the half-cent sales tax is NOT covering the expenses as promised. Therefore, in order to begin the new fiscal year with a positive CRC Fund balance and to meet this year’s $120,000 loan repayment obligation back to the General Fund Contingency, they want to transfer $350,000 from the General Fund into the CRC Fund.

(As a reminder, in 2015, the Council borrowed $1.2 million from the General Fund Contingency to start the CRC Fund with a promise to repay it at $120,000 per year for 10 years. Due to lack of funds, the Town Council already reneged on the first year’s payment in 2016. Now, in 2017, still lacking the funds, they want to repay it by transferring money from one account to another.)

What has this foolish purchase cost the citizens of Oro Valley so far?
  • $1 million to purchase the Community Center and Golf Courses
  • $1.2 million taken from the General Fund Contingency to start the CRC Fund
  • $350,000 in additional General Fund revenues to keep the CRC Fund in a "minimal positive balance”
  • $506,710 in additional sales tax revenues in FY 14/15
  • $2,030,750 in additional sales tax revenues in FY 15/16
  • $1,811,207 in additional sales tax revenues so far in FY 16/17 (through April 30th)

TOTAL COST: $6,898,667

It’s a Matter of Trust
Remember, these are the same irresponsible people who are now asking Oro Valley citizens to approve a Secondary Property Tax to fund ball fields. They actually expect us to trust them with another $17 million dollars in light of this record?

Additionally (but unrelated to the Community Center) the Town is also requesting $300,000 to be allocated to the Self-Insurance Benefit Fund which is expecting a year-end deficit of $200,000-$250,000 plus an estimated $1,073,051 to refund excess employee contributions made into the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS). This will provide lump-sum reimbursement payments to the Town’s PSPRS members. You can read the entire Executive Summary by clicking here: