Vice Mayor Melanie Barrett, along with Majority Council, delayed the much needed Municipal Golf Irrigation in 2019 and now it will cost you an extra $3.5 Million!
Fast forward to Nov. of 2021 and the Town Council approves the 36 hole golf irrigation replacement, but this time it will cost us an additional $3.5 million because of their purposeful delay. This does not seem like fiscally prudent governance and we are pretty concerned.
In 2018 the former Town Council had already approved a $3.8M bond to replace the thirty-year-old, 36-hole golf irrigation system, but in 2019 the newly elected Council Majority (Mayor Winfield, Vice Mayor Barrett, and Council Members Nicolson and Jones-Ivey) refused to support the irrigation replacement bond and instead insisted and voted on a new “pay as you go” system for the Municipal golf irrigation project.
In July of this year, this same Council Majority approved a $25 million Parks & Rec bond. They then stipulated that the irrigation could be paid for under the umbrella of this enormous bond, but as it turns out, the current irrigation replacement cost has grown to $7.8 million dollars now, which is an increase of $4M! This increase is solely due to their unnecessary delay in insisting on a “Pay As You Go” model.
Most recently (during this week’s Council Meeting on November 3rd) the same Majority Council members voted to use only $4.5M from their recent $25M Bond, for the irrigation system and then proceeded to direct Town staff to use funds from “other sources” to pay for the remaining $3.5M that would be needed to pay for the project. Vice Mayor Barrett expressed concern that there wouldn’t be enough money left over for Naranja Park projects if they used the full $7.5M for the irrigation. A stipulation that the Majority insisted on when voting for their $25M bond was that a minimum of 50% of it MUST be spent at Naranja Park for things like Splash Pads and Bicycle Pump Tracks, which are clearly personal interest items of Melanie Barrett and Josh Nicolson. In the Statistically Valid survey (with a 95% accuracy rate), the community requested more ball fields, walking trails, maintaining the Municipal Golf Courses and the Community Center upgrades. Splash Pads and Pump Tracks were not considered important to the general community at all and yet, Barrett and Nicolson continue to insist on all of us footing the bill for their “pet projects”.
By voting this way, Vice Mayor Barrett and the other Majority Council members just added an additional $3.5M spending to the already astronomical $25M Parks & Rec Bond. And let us not forget, Oro Valley residents voted down a $17M Naranja Park bond only five years ago. We deserve leaders who will truly listen to the community and make fiscally responsible decisions with OUR money.