We must do a better job of moving at the speed of business.
The Your Voice, Our Future General Plan
Oro Valley is blessed by highly engaged community members who deeply care about the future of the community. As a result, people who live in Oro Valley share a strong sense of community. Oro Valley is highly-respected for its public safety, well-managed local government services, outstanding public infrastructure, top-ranked schools, extraordinary natural beauty and scenic view sheds, smart land use and shared sense of environmental stewardship.
When the residents of Oro Valley created and approved the 2016-2026 General Plan entitled “Your Voice, Our Future”, our residents acknowledged the need for long-term financial sustainability which would be enabled by a diverse and robust economy.
The Your Voice, Our Future General Plan set forth the foundation to guide and direct the community and economic development priorities of local government, which include:
Developing and sustaining a diverse and robust economy that supports long-term economic and financial stability in the community
Establishing economic development policies, strategies and programs that retain business and attract new investment to Oro Valley, thus supporting a wide range of services, including shopping, housing, high quality parks and recreational amenities, arts and culture, exceptional city services enabled by the business community
Promoting Oro Valley as an ideal destination for new economic activity ranging from welcoming new advanced technology employers, new shopping and tourism attractions
Supporting strategic annexations that are economically beneficial to the Town while enhancing the social, aesthetic and environmental quality of the community
Generating new economic vitality and new job and wealth creation for local residents
Ensuring that development integrates well with our natural open space
Maintaining financial stability for Town operations, programs and services that support all of the aforementioned goals.
As our community, state and nation continues to recover from the devastating effects of the global pandemic, we want to ensure that Oro Valley remains committed to attracting and welcoming new residents and businesses. For example, Town West Companies (TWR, Inc.) is working to revitalize the 114 acre Oro Valley Market Place and transform it into a blended use Oro Valley Village Center. The ownership team is working closely with Council and staff to accommodate a mixed use programs that will attract new investment in support of a myriad of new commercial/retail activities, entertainment, hospitality and new residential options. This is just one example of multi-year project that is dependent on fair and reasonable local government.
Other new employers will also be attracted to the community including advanced business services, aerospace and defense, bio technology, health and human services, engineering, information technology, research and development brought forth by the University of Arizona, Roche Tissue Diagnostics along with a myriad of new professional services.
On the Horizon/Annexation:
Annexation is the process by which municipalities incorporate new territory into their municipal boundaries. Annexation has been an important tool for the Town of Oro Valley since its incorporation in 1974. As a result of Oro Valley’s 48 annexations since 1974, our community now encompasses approximately 36 square miles. In comparison, Pima County has 9,187 square miles.
Approximately 13,000 adult workers who live in Oro Valley drive to another community to work. So by continuing to annex commercially-viable nearby properties, this will help ensure that our residents will enjoy a wide range of new employment opportunities, services and amenities, such as housing, shopping, and dining. New employment locations can also be incorporated, thereby maintaining and expanding the financial and economic stability of the Oro Valley community.
Additional revenues to the town include new sales tax collections, hotel occupancy tax, some shared state income such as state income tax, highway uses revenue, vehicle license tax and state sales tax. These additional revenues will ensure the continuation and funding of serves such as smooth roads, public safety, new parks and recreation, etc.
As our community transforms from economic recovery to economic resilience, we must do an even better job of moving at ‘the speed of businesses’. Some important questions come to mind.
How can we help retain our existing businesses and help them succeed? What do we want from our elected and appointed officials regarding new businesses, industry and talent attraction? Will future town councils truly support economic development and effectively work with the business and industry? Economic development occurs primarily in the private sector and community development occurs primarily in the public sector.
Oro Valley needs elected and appointed leaders who are committed to bringing together the public and private sectors to ensure that Oro Valley delivers truly ‘business friendly’ service. Too often we hear that Oro Valley is perceived by land owners and developers as being comparatively difficult to deal with and “Too Political” even with the highest quality proposed projects. As a result, our “Brand Identity” Vis a Vis other communities continues to cost the community lost opportunities. Bottom line…
Business owners require rational, thoughtful and supportive governance which brings predictability and certainty to business. Given the uncertainty of the future, Oro Valley needs a comprehensive and results-driven economic development game plan now more than ever before.