Thursday, May 9, 2024

Bits and Pieces

Council doesn’t like town staff five year financial projection message that “the future ain’t what it use to be”
Town Finance Director David Gephart’s message to council at last week's town council meeting was clear: There are going to be financial headwinds in Oro Valley’s future. 

“The [five year financial] forecast does not include really enough to keep the town functioning the way it ought to and keep service levels and … especially maintaining our capital assets.” As reported by LOVE, that is after issuing bonds to pay for needed public works projects.  Even worse, the projection does not include at lease one major future capital need: The funding of a new police facility.

The council's reaction? Two council members felt that the forecasts were overly pessimistic. Two focused on the challenge presented in the forecast of maintaining a maturing infrastructure, especially bridges, during times of higher inflation than historic norms. There was discussion of the many capital projects that were not included in the forecast simply because the town has no idea of some of these costs and how they will be financed.

Wilkins strikes again: Police Chief “informed” that financial projections include needed new police facility this year

The five-year projection does not include funds for a new police station. However, we did find it listed as a future "contingent project" in a future year in the town manager's 2024 recommended budget. It's contingent because, according to the town, it has yet to be defined and they don't know how they are going to fund it.

This is a surprise.

A new station has been included in the ten-year capital improvements plan for many years. The estimate ranges from $25 to $40 million. Town Finance Director Gebhart said that the town has no idea what facilities are needed.  

The police were not involved in the decision to not include a new facility in the projection. Instead of being part of the process, they were "informed" that it would not be included.

The Police Department reports directly to the council. The town manager has no role in their operation and no authority to exclude the police facility from the forecast.

Naranja Park Opens May 18
It’s finally here! The town will host a reopening event for Naranja Park on May 18. The event starts at 9am. “The event will include activity demos, giveaways for kids and adults and remarks from the contractor, town staff and elected officials. The ceremony will take place at the north end of the park near the skate park and pump track.” (Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Email) This marks the “mostly completion” of a park that started with a groundbreaking event on January 27,  2014. It been a long time,  with an investment of well over $30 plus million over the years, converting a gravel pit into a beautiful regional park.

“Behind the Scenes” with Oro Valley’s Public Works Department
The town’s Public Works Department plays a key role in building and maintaining the town's infrastructure.  Click this link to meet the people who make this happen.
- - -

No comments: