Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Guest View: Mike Zinkin ~ Golder Ranch Fire District Chief uses public safety scare tactics as a reason to keep all 36 holes of golf

At the July 24th Town Council Special meeting regarding Oro Valley Golf Operations, Golder Ranch Fire District Chief, Randy Karrer, addressed the Town Council. He urged the Council to retain all 36 holes of golf to avoid a decrease in property values which he believed would result in funding cuts to the fire department since Golder Ranch F.D. operates solely on property taxes.

Karrer said that closing the golf courses “would have a cumulative and lasting effect that would most certainly injure the fire district in future years.” He speculated the following chain of events:

• Property values would go down

• Property tax assessments would be reduced as a result

• Lowered property tax assessments would result in less property tax revenue

• Less property tax revenue means less money to Golder Ranch which could result in a “significant reduction in public safety service level which would likely mean a reduction in force or layoffs of firefighters and paramedics.”

• The other option would be to significantly increase property taxes in order to offset the loss from the lowered property valuations.

Remember, this supposed reduction in property values is speculation.

Where was Chief Karrer in December 2014?
Not a bad scare tactic, but where was Chief Karrer in December 2014? On December 17, 2014, the Hiremath Council was to vote on the purchase of the HSL properties. According to the Power Point presentation that evening, the properties included, a 31,475 sq. ft. building located on La Canada, a 5,600 sq. ft. building located at the Pusch Ridge course, 324 acres of land assessed at over $30,000,000, plus 31 tennis courts and 2 heated swimming pools.

The Property Tax assessment that the El Conquistador Hotel was paying for all of this was around $40,000/year.

Since municipalities do not pay property taxes, the second the Town closed escrow on the El Con property -- the County, and therefore The Golder Ranch Fire District, lost that $40,000/year in Property Tax revenue. This was not speculation. It was a definite outcome. Why was he silent at that time?

Chief Karrer, where were you in December 2014?
Mike Zinkin has a Bachelor’s degree in history and government from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education from California State University, Northridge. He was a commissioned ensign in the United States Navy Reserve. He was an Air Traffic Controller for 30 years. He and his wife moved to Oro Valley in 1998. Mike served on the Oro Valley Development Review Board from 2005-2009 and the Board of Adjustment from 2011-2012. He served on the Town Council from 2012-2016 during which time he was named a Fellow for the National League of Cities University, he was a member of the National League of Cities Steering Committee for Community and Economic Development, and a member of the Arizona League of Cities Budget and Economic Development Committee.