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A group in Oro Valley is collecting signatures to recall the mayor and vice mayor

Golf course controversy in Oro Valley
Posted at 5:46 PM, Nov 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 19:46:43-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — A group in Oro Valley is collecting signatures to recall the mayor and vice mayor. The main complaint is they think the town's golf courses may eventually shutdown, because the plan to fund them is inadequate.

Jen LeFevre was the organizer in front of the Oro Valley Community Center Wednesday.

The town did vote back in October to keep funding 36 holes of golf and a community center, but she says the mayor's current pay-as-you-go plan for improvements would lead to the courses shutting down.

“The mayor pulled out an already typed motion saying this is what I want to do, pay-as-you-go only,” said LeFevre. “It’s such an insult and slap in the face to our town employees and to all these people do you really think we are that dumb, did you think we are that stupid?”

LeFevre says they've already collected hundreds of signatures.

“Mainly we are looking for honesty in our government officials and transparency,” said resident Jane Shurtleff.

People we talked to say the golf courses closing would be a major blow to businesses in the area and to property values.

“It would completely demolish the equity in our home,” said Resident Trish Chilton.

Vice Mayor Melanie Barrett sent KGUN9 a statement saying the council has not yet decided how to pay for capital improvements and that a pay as you go approach would mean improvements on the El Conquistador course could be budgeted next year and be done in 2021. We asked the mayor's office to confirm or deny the groups assertion the pay as you go approach would not work, but they did not respond in time for broadcast.

Here is the full statement:

Last month the Town Council voted to keep all 36 holes of golf. The Council has not yet decided how to pay for capital improvements, and plans to issue an RFP for a competitive bid for operation of the courses. The Town has a ½ cent sales tax for golf which generates around $2.5 Million per year and can provide the funding for improvements without jeopardizing other key Town assets and services like public safety and parks. By opening both courses to outside play, accepting an HOA contribution, and doing a membership drive to increase revenue, the Town has projected a reduction in our current tax subsidy levels for golf, which will allow funding for capital improvements. If a Pay as You Go approach is used to pay for golf rather than bonding or borrowing from the Town’s other funds, improvements on the El Conquistador course could be budgeted next year and be done in 2021.

Melanie Barrett
Vice Mayor, Town of Oro Valley