Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Guest View: Diane Peters ~ Oro Valley Town Council repeatedly gets Hoodwinked by “The Deal Makers.” Part 2.

This posting is Part 2 of our 2-part discussion of "The Deal Makers." We published Part 1 yesterday.
Next hoodwinking scheduled for November 2017
Our Town Councils over the past 10 years have repeatedly shown that they are easily fooled and manipulated by “deal makers” and as a result, they have not been good stewards of your taxpayer dollars.


2006: Oro Valley Marketplace was grossly oversold to the Town and the taxpayers as an upscale shopping experience. In return for sharing $23.2 million dollars in tax revenues with Vestar, we were promised a unique upscale mall with signature shops and boutiques. What did we get? A generic strip mall and discount big box stores.

2014: The Community Center and Golf Course deal was grossly oversold to the taxpayers and as a result, the Mayor and Council’s often touted 5-year plan to turn a profit has now become a 6-year plan. This “great deal” has already cost us taxpayers over $6 million dollars…and counting.

2015: Vestar convinces the Town Council to allow the addition of illuminated signs on the backside of the buildings at OVM, insisting that this would be the catalyst that would spark retail interest. Once again, the expected results were not achieved. (Only two new businesses have opened in the past two years, 22 empty storefronts still remain along with about a half dozen undeveloped dirt lots).

A 47% percent vacancy rate
Also of note is that, according to Vestar’s Oro Valley Marketplace website, there are currently only 25 businesses in operation despite being just three months away from the 9-year anniversary of the mall’s opening (October 2008). That’s 25 open businesses and 22 empty storefronts -- in other words, nearly half of the retail space remains vacant. In fact, there are two buildings that are completely unoccupied (Bldg. 1930 containing four units and Bldg. 12115 containing six units).

Town Council Irresponsible Decisions ~ Cost to Taxpayers
  • $23.2 million in sales tax revenue “shared” with developer Vestar
  • $1 million to purchase the Community Center and Golf Courses from developer HSL
  • $1.2 million transferred from the General Fund Contingency to the Community Center Fund
  • $350,000 transferred from the General Fund into the Community Center Fund
  • $4.3 million in sales tax revenues since 2015 directed to the Community Center Fund
  • $50,000 to hire consultants to make recommendations to improve golf and restaurant operations

Total Cost: $30 million dollars

Beware of the Deal Makers
Keep all of this in mind as the next group of “deal makers” is setting us up for the next hoodwinking; the proposed $17 million dollar Naranja Park Bond, which will actually cost Oro Valley homeowners $28 million dollars in principle and interest payments via a 20-year long secondary property tax.

Expect the Naranja Bond to be another grossly oversold endeavor. Don’t get fooled again!