Fiscal responsibility is living within your means. We must consistently prioritize our needs so that less essential expenses never leave us unable to pay more essential expenses.
The Town of Oro Valley has the same responsibility. Our income comes from local sales taxes, construction sales taxes, County and State revenues returned to us from our taxes paid, license fees etc.
Highest priority Town expenditures are for public safety, resident services, road construction / repair, and providing recreation amenities for residents.
Lower priorities include the irresponsible golf subsidy. Records show that much of this subsidy was paid to Troon for service the Town could have provided more efficiently. This includes a guaranteed $720,000 incentive fee over five years ($12,000 monthly) simply to open the doors each morning. Troon was sold to Oro Valley as the Rolls Royce of golf management. In our view, Oro Valley effectively paid Troon to drive Rolls Royces.
In the 45 years since our town was founded in 1974, Oro Valley has lived within its revenue derived primarily from the above sales tax sources.
Oro Valley does not have a town property tax, rather we are taxed by Pima County, Amphi School district, Golder Ranch Fire District and 10 other taxing authorities for the services they provide. Our Pima county property taxes are among the highest in the state of Arizona.
Town voters in 2017 rejected the $17 million 454 bond for the partial build out of Naranja Park by almost 3 to 1. Residents don’t want town property taxes. They want Oro Valley to control town spending and continue to live within our sales tax revenues. I oppose any town property tax
Today in spite of rapid residential growth and constantly increasing sales tax revenue, Oro Valley is spending far too much on non essential services while failing to fund our Arizona Public Safety Personnel Pension benefits our police have earned. Failure to properly prioritize this responsibility during the Hiremath era 2010-2018 will be painful for Oro Valley’s future. What could have been a difficult yearly budget challenge was simply ignored. It will now require decades to again achieve even the 76% funding level Oro Valley had in 2010.
Click HERE for further explanation of Oro Valley’s pension under-funding.
The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on FY 20/21 town revenues is not known at this time, however it will dramatically reduce sales and bed tax revenues. The questions are by how much and for how long? I feel that the town’s FY 20/21 budget must reflect spending for core services and not draw down reserves to provide non essential amenities while allowing pension funding obligations to fall further behind.
As a council member, my commitment to residents is that we will be fiscally responsible in town spending to provide for all essential town services and pension obligations without a local property tax.