Monday, October 5, 2020

The Watchdog Report: Community Center and Golf Financials, End of Fiscal Year 2019/20


The Town has published the financials for the past fiscal year (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020).

• Contracted services (food and golf) lost $1,616,922. This is an improvement of only $52,311 from the prior fiscal year.

• There were 264 golf members at the end of the fiscal year, which is an all-time high. However, membership was back down to 257 as of August 31st.

• The Overlook/Garden CafĂ© lost $147,201 which is $33,284 more than the prior fiscal year.

• YOUR dedicated sales tax revenues funding the Community Center and Golf were $2,584,916, which is $121,827 more than the prior fiscal year.  Primarily due to YOUR sales tax input, the Community Center Fund (CCF) ended the fiscal year with a positive balance of $408,438. If you live in an HOA adjacent to the golf courses, you not only contribute with your sales tax, but you contribute another $125,000 via HOA fees.

• The Town’s operations (fitness, swim, and recreation) lost $231,729.

HSL gets another pass
The plan for FY 2020/21 is to withdraw another $750,000 from the General Fund to pay for the improvements needed to make the community center ADA compliant.

The current Council has foolishly decided to continue with the 36-hole model. They also recently extended the effective date from 10/1/20 to 1/31/21 for HSL to begin leasing the Pusch Ridge course from the Town. This means that the Town continues paying for 45 holes of golf for another 4 months. It appears that the hospitality industry has been adversely affected by COVID. So the Town will assist HSL by continuing to provide for the “resort” course. In other words, the Town will take $125,000 from homeowners while they give HSL a pass.

I imagine that you are as tired of all of this as I am.

Let’s talk about the water situation
In FY 2019/20, the Conquistador Course needed 103,920,000 gallons of water (319 acre feet), while the Canada Course needed 106,908,000 gallons (328 acre feet). To give you an idea of how much water that is, 1 acre foot of water will service 4 homes a year. That equals 870 homes for the Canada course and 729 homes for the Conquistador course. According to the Town Manager’s Executive report, there were 122 Single Family building permits issued in all of FY 2019/20.

Yes, it was reclaimed water, but WATER IS WATER. We pay Tucson for the water. How much could we save in water alone if we had only 18 holes of golf?

Tucson’s share of the CAP water is diminishing due to the drought and the increased population in the Colorado basin and the St. George Utah area. Water is a serious issue in Arizona and Oro Valley has decided to use more than its share on 45 holes of golf.

So, with the water situation and the continued losses, why does a Town of 45,000 citizens provide 45 holes of golf? This golf course fiasco gets more absurd and ill-advised as time goes on.

. . .
Mike Zinkin and his wife have lived in Oro Valley since 1998. He served on the Oro Valley Development Review Board from 2005-2009, the Board of Adjustment from 2011-2012, and the Town Council from 2012-2016. He was named a Fellow for the National League of Cities. He was a member of the NLC Steering Committee for Community and Economic Development and a member of the Arizona League of Cities Budget and Economic Development Committee. He was an Air Traffic Controller for 30 years. Mike 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.

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