Thursday, June 29, 2023

Guest View: Mike Zinkin – Why Does the Town Council Keep Taking Money From the People to Subsidize the Golf Courses?

Golf operations have been in the black since FY 2021/22.
In 2020, the Town of Oro Valley entered into a 5-year agreement with the Canada Hills Community Association (CHCA) HOA and the Villages of La Canada HOA to keep the 36 holes of golf open. In return, the HOA’s would give the Town $125,000/year to support the courses. The CHCA would give $100,000 and the Villages would give $25,000. This was during a period when golf was losing millions of dollars.

Now, according to the Town Manager’s Recommended Budget (page v) “golf operations have been in the black since FY 21/22”.

The homeowners of CHCA never voted to approve this subsidy.
I can’t speak for the Villages, but I can speak for the CHCA (as I live there). The obligation of the $100,000 was never voted on by the homeowners of the association. There are approximately 3100 homes in the CHCA and some commercial properties (Fry’s center at Lambert/La Canada). Of the 3100 homes, approximately 400 of them align the golf course. The decision to obligate this money was made by the CHCA Board of Directors only.

I wonder how many of the 5 member HOA Board were golfers and were thinking of themselves and not their constituents. The CHCA homeowner’s dues have increased from $65.00/year to $118.00/year all for the purpose of giving the Town $100,000.

The difference between this HOA contribution and a property tax is that a property tax can be deducted from your taxes and also must be approved by the voters prior to being implemented.

If golf is in the black, how is our $100,000 per year contribution currently being used?
Under the previous Town Manager, the Council approved the expansion of the Community Center Fund to include Parks and Recreation. Does this mean the Town can now use the $100,000 in HOA contributions to help finance a splash pad or a BMX track? Golf, by the Town’s admission, is making money and no longer needs to be supplemented by the HOA’s, so it stands to reason that the HOA contributions are now going elsewhere.

The 5-year agreement ends on April 1, 2025.
Why doesn’t our responsible Town Council go to the HOA’s now and say, “Thanks for your support, but the Town no longer needs your monies to supplement golf” and then VOID THE CONTRACT.

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.