Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Watchdog Report: January 2021 Municipal Golf Financials


According to Troon, the month of January 2021 showed a profit of $31,707. However, for the fiscal year, (July through January) golf lost $616,587. The Town’s portion of the Community Center Fund (CCF), which is primarily fitness, has lost $158,088.

When will the tax subsidy finally be lowered to $750,000?
YOUR tax subsidy is saving the CCF. For the first seven months of the fiscal year, your subsidy was $1,657,461, which allows for the CCF to show a surplus of $753,871. Not long ago, the Mayor stated that he desired no more than $750,000 in tax subsidy. It doesn’t appear that this is going to happen. Town Manager, Mary Jacobs still intends to spend $1,124,500 in Capital outlay. Where is this money coming from? The General Fund? It certainly isn’t coming from the CCF.

Golf Members and Golf Rounds
As of 1/31/21 there were 304 golf members, an all-time record. The non-member rounds played on the 36 holes were 3,266, which includes 717 rounds played on the “member course.”

The model for Oro Valley is that our 36 holes are a combination of a public course and a public/private course. In January 2021, there were 6,956 combined rounds played on those 36 holes.

How does this compare to other establishments?
An 18-hole public/private course within 5 miles of Oro Valley had 6,528 rounds in January and an 18-hole public course within 5 miles of Oro Valley had 3,588 rounds played. When you add the two together, there were 10,116 rounds played on those 36 holes. When comparing apples to apples, there were 45% more rounds played on the other 36-hole combination.

A waste of water and taxpayer money
Besides wasting money, how much water was wasted? The closed Pusch Ridge course used 69,000 gallons of potable water providing for a bill due 1/27/21 of $742.71. The remaining 36 holes used a total of 13,396,000 gallons of reclaimed water providing for a bill of $39,702.80, also due on 1/27/21.

The Council will tell you, “don’t worry about the Pusch Ridge Course because the plan is to keep it for only 3 more years.” This is the same Council majority that ran on a platform of doing something about the golf losses. It appears that all they have done is kick the can down the road until their current terms expire.

We should all continue to worry about the monetary losses and the unconscionable use of water on these golf courses.

Partial February statistics are available
Golf Course Water Usage: There were 900,000 gallons of potable water used on the closed Pusch ridge course, costing $3,838.95. There were 9,673,000 gallons of reclaimed water used on the remaining 36 holes, costing $29,115.88.

Golf Rounds: There were 8,396 rounds of golf on our private/public and public courses, but there were 11,121 rounds of golf played on the courses within 5 miles. The outside courses experienced 32% more rounds than our Town-owned courses.

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.