Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Watchdog Report: The $750,000 Dollar Question


Who remembers the letter to the Council from the Town Manager dated September 4, 2019?
Yes, this is a loaded question because I seriously doubt if any of the council members would remember it since it was communicated almost six months ago. Additionally, neither Council members Greene nor Bohen were on Council when the above communication was written.

However, this is an important document because it offers the Town Manager’s forecast with the important caveat that the Mayor stipulated -- that the 36-hole option would require no more than a $750,000 tax subsidy.

Ms. Jacobs’ report was full of prerequisites that had to be fulfilled before the maximum subsidy of $750,000 could be accomplished. One of the requirements was that “The irrigation replacement and general refurbishment of both 18-hole courses was completed.” This had not even been started and the costs for just the irrigation improvements for the Conquistador course alone are over $1 million. This money is to come from the existing Community Center Fund, when, and if, it becomes available.

The forecasted target dates
In her report Ms. Jacobs states:
“By adding in the sales taxes collected by Troon for golf ($46,500), the utility sales tax for the water ($40,400), and the projected additional revenue from opening up the member course to day-play ($175,000), the subsidy is projected to meet the $750,000 target by FY 22/23. If the HOA contribution discussed below is factored into the pro forma, the subsidy is projected to meet the $750,000 target by FY 21/22.”
Jacobs goes on to say:
“According to the pro formas attached, the $750,000 tax subsidy target is achievable by FY 21/22 and possibly sooner if revenue collections remain strong. The potential action plan and accompanying pro formas included in this memorandum more fully demonstrate the financial viability.”

You can read the entire report HERE.  

Since this communication was written almost six months ago, nothing has been accomplished toward improving the courses because the money is not there. Currently available financials from the first 5 months of FY 2020/21 (July-Nov) reveal that the tax subsidy is already over $1 million.

The current formula is not working
How many communications are going to be written, and forgotten, before the Council understands that the 36-hole formula is not working and will not work?

The Mayor and 3 Council members ran on a platform to do something about the golf financial drain. The meetings and abuse they took from the “Green Shirts” are over.

Although golf is up 30% nationwide due to the pandemic, losses continue for Oro Valley due to the fact that our golfing population cannot support one entity owning 36 holes. The Town could possibly support the losses with just 18 holes.

Mr. Lopez and HSL want nothing to do with golf as witnessed by their refusal to take on the 9-hole Pusch Ridge course. This is further evidence that golf does not make good business sense.

Oro Valley is made up of more neighborhoods than Canada Hills and the Villages. In fact, the vast majority of Oro Valley residents live outside those communities. What it is going to take for the council to represent the entire Town, and not just one faction?

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.