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Oro Valley sticks with "pay as you go" plan to fund golf courses

Posted: 9:41 PM, Nov 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-21 01:09:27-05
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TUCSON, Ariz. — The Oro Valley Town Council has decided to move forward with a "pay-as-you-go" plan to fund golf courses.

It's been a source of hot debate among the land owners in Oro Valley. Some have even threatened to recall the mayor and vice-mayor over the issue.

The town council voted to keep both golf courses open on October 3rd, but didn't have a plan to fund the courses.

The plan they decided on Wednesday outlines a system that uses left-over money from prior or current projects to fund future projects.

It is a plan initially proposed by Mayor Joe Winfield. It was passed after hours of dilerberation and a couple of amendments.

Under this plan El Conquistador course irrigation and repairs will be completed in 2021. The Canada course irrigation and repairs will be completed in 2022, and the golf clubhouse and restaurant improvements will be scheduled for 2023.

The amended proposal in part states the following:

"Staff will develop an RFP for competitive bides to operate the town courses. Town staff will issue an RFP for irrigation design and construction for both the Conquistador and Cañada courses. The town will mange the Overlook restaurant operation to support golf and reduce current losses. Food service hours and menu offerings are to be consistent with the needs of the municipal golf course. Oro valley will retain a $100,000 minimum reserve in the Community center fund.

Many members of the community were hoping the council would move to a hybrid payment plan which would include a loan from the town, a bond, or "pay as you go" coupled with a loan or bond.

Jen LeFevre, a member of the Oro Valley community, said the council decision was a huge let down to the community.

"This plan is going to run the golf courses, both El Conquistador and Canada into the ground," Lefevre said.

Phil Greim agreed, but adds the council's decision not to use city funds to help foot the bill and use the hybrid payment plan does not make sense. He says inflation is going to make the bill much higher in the long run.

LeFevre is among a group of residents that are collecting signatures to have the mayor and vice-mayor recalled, because they say this plan is not sufficient.

Those who are a part of that movement say a big concern for them is falling property values if the courses do close.

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

Now, community members are waiting to see if the plan works like city leaders think it will.