Golder Ranch Fire District Chief Randy Karrer presents remarks regarding the effects of the potential closure of El Conquistador golf courses to the Oro Valley Town Council at the July 24th Town Council Special Session:
Good Evening Mr. Mayor, members of council.
It’s a pleasure to see you tonight. My name is Randy Karrer. I’m the Fire Chief for the Golden Ranch Fire Districts serving Oro Valley through five strategically placed fire stations.
I’m here tonight to express the concern of the Golder Ranch Fire District and provide a different perspective to you regarding the complete closure of the Oro Valley town golf courses. Our concerns revolve around the negative and unintended consequences that could impact this based upon the reduction in property value.
Golder Ranch Fire District was formed in 1977 and is governed by a five-member elected governing board under the Arizona State Statute Title 48. We’re very similar to a school district. We operate solely on property tax. We’re proud to say that we have the lowest tax rate of any full-service Fire Department in the state of Arizona and an exceptional insurance company rating.
Of consistent significant concern is the property valuation that decreases that could be felt by the closure of these town assets much like what we are now witnessing in the Rancho Vistoso community. Property values will fall as a result of the decision to completely close these golf courses.
The impact of the decrease of property values would result in a significant loss of revenue for the fire district. It would have a cumulative and lasting effect that would most certainly injure the fire district in future years.
This would result in one of two options:
A significant increase in property taxes to offset the loss of property valuation, or,
A significant reduction in public safety service level which would likely mean a reduction in force or layoffs of firefighters and paramedics.
Our other significant concerns for life safety and property protection:
We will enforce the fire code to the letter of the law. However, the deteriorating landscape of the neglected Golf Courses would certainly add to the fire load increasing that fire threat. Simply put, the closure of these town assets would negatively impact the district and the other town residents.
I anticipate the Golder Ranch Fire District Governing Board will be taking formal action in the opposition of closures or complete closures at the next Governing Board meeting in August . Further we will provide the town a detailed financial projection of the impact of this decision and what it would do to the future of the Golder Ranch Fire District.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak, your time, and of course your service to the town.