Now that the Town Council Majority (Mayor Joe Winfield, Vice Mayor Melanie Barrett, Josh Nicolson, and Joyce Jones-Ivey) has voted to spend $25 Million Dollars (via bonding-which is brand new debt) on Parks and Recreation projects, take a look at the “Needs Assessment” -which took 2 years to complete and also included the extremely important “Statistically Valid Survey”. This was an expensive survey that the town put out to residents to find out what the community felt were necessary improvements. This study had an over 90% accuracy rate, so we are to assume it best reflects the overall desires of the entire community. (see survey below)
The issue here is that when compared to what the community desires, based on this important survey, the Majority Council has different ideas about what they feel should be completed. For example, Vice Mayor Barrett wishes to have a Splash Pad installed at Naranja Park, and Councilmember Josh Nicolson wishes to have a bicycle Pump Track created. Those items are clearly not listed as priorities by the rest of the community.
Serving on council is about representing the community, not personal interests. It should be noted that this bond (which will likely total somewhere near 32 Million dollars after interest), has a stipulation that 50% of it must be used at Naranja Park. Interestingly, a Naranja Park bond was turned down by voters only 5 years ago. And yet, this new bond has been pushed through anyway, by this new Majority Council.
These four are presenting the repayment of this bond by using 50% of the ½ cent sales tax, which was originally dedicated to the Municipal golf courses and the entire Community Center. Their justification for this was that the golf courses and community center were doing so well that they no longer needed all of the financial support generated by the half cent sales tax. In this new bond, the only money going toward the actual community center is to mitigate some parking issues, possibly replace the old broken irrigation system on the courses, and minor tennis court upgrades.
Please don’t be fooled by the flashy splash pads and bicycle pump tracks that this Majority Council wants to push through, while completely ignoring what our community truly desires. To date, this Council Majority (Mayor Joe Winfield, Vice Mayor Melanie Barrett, Councilmembers Josh Nicolson and Joyce Jones-Ivey) has added a total debt of approximately 51 MILLION DOLLARS..the MOST in the entire history of Oro Valley. And while we are fully supportive of ball fields, walking trails and the community center (which were top priorities of residents, based on the survey) what we do not support is a lack of transparency, and pushing personal interest items ahead of what the community has already voiced.