Dear Mayor Winfield and Town Council Members,

My name is Steve Jones, an Oro Valley resident of 10 years and vice president of the CHCA which has 1310 homes and 418 condos and apartments and over 40 businesses as members of our HOA.

The first thing I would like to point out is that if the town’s golf courses are closed, there will be no public golf available in Oro Valley. Stone Canyon and Oro Valley Country Club are private and Sun City is semi private with only public play available after member sign in priority. There goes the second item listed by Sun Corridor for Oro Valley desirability for industry site selectors at your last meeting.

 

There are many issues I would like to discuss but will confine my comments to financial costs that are not addressed in the town staff report (that I agree is good work as far as it relates to the town budget), but there are many costs that do not affect the town budget but significantly impact all town residents.

Some of them are as follows

  1. Water Revenue – Will rates increase for reclaimed water users (the town or residents) if revenue is lost?
  2. Sales tax on the $3,000,000 golf sales @ 2.5% equals $75,000/year. No Public golf is available in Oro Valley other than secondary access to Sun City.
  3. Property tax losses are ignored in the projections. Unless the mitigation is significant, there will be impact on the entire town. A range for losses must be input for scenarios 1 and 2 and 3. If all courses close without mitigation (2400 homes around the courses), the cost equals $637,584/year in property tax loss.(page 30 of Appraisal report). Another point I would like to address is the dismissal and minimization of the Brekan-Nava Appraisal as inadequate or not relevant. It is the only professional study done on our exact situation and is supported by the Long Realty study, and every local realtor in Tucson. It agrees that mitigation will soften the blow and page 16, quoting an Oregon study in 1990 dollars, does not say open space, as you have said, is better than golf courses. It says that natural forests, (we don’t have any like Oregon) adds $10648 in value to homes, compared to $1214 dollars for urban parks, $5657 for specialty parks, and $8849 for golf courses. Assuming you can match or afford the best number for a specialty park, the golf course adds $3192 more per home value, in 1990 dollars times. Our 2400 homes times $3192 equals $7,660,800. That is probably closer to a loss of $15,000,000 in today’s value and if the Urban park figure is used the number is over $36,000,000 in lost property value.

My point is that property devaluation has to be considered, not ignored unless you can find an appraisal from a company that is as respected and credentialed as Brekan-Nava that says otherwise. Please check with local realtors, developers, and the Pima County Assessor for the verification you need. Your Budget and Commission Committee needs access to this report. At least one of them was not aware of its existence at the last meeting on July 16th.

The total of those three items is a big number. These costs will have to be recovered by higher water utility rates, higher property taxes, or loss of town or county services to all residents

The above require adjustments to the various scenarios, but does not include:

  1. Unknown costs for a project you cannot provide another example of being done successfully.
  2. Property value losses to the town as a whole between 75-150 million dollars.
  3. Loss of a valuable amenity that attracts people to move here, attracts tourism and helps hotels, restaurants, and local businesses.
  4. What I believe is underestimated or incomplete repurposing costs such as parking, access, drainage and culvert capacity problems, restrooms, trail maintenance, environmental, road damage, and disruption and chaos costs over an extended period of time to obtain a little used desert. The town of Gilbert did a study that shows costs from 50% to 500% higher depending on the quality of the repurposing.
  5. Positive impact on the financial success of our golf courses with the unfortunate closure of Vistoso.
  6. Usage analysis. Between 55,000 and 60,000 people will have used these courses in the last fiscal year. We already have 54.5 miles of hiking and biking trails in Oro Valley with world class national forests and state parks in close proximity.
  7. The fact that the Canada Hills Community helped build the golf course through higher lot premiums, higher property taxes, maintains over 10 miles of roads, provides a no cost easement for the city well on our property and access on our roads for golf course maintenance equipment and golf cart use. The road maintenance alone was over $200,000 in the last two years for a single 1.3 mile stretch of road and all roads are reaching an age that will require major rehab. This is a big savings to the town over property owners on city-maintained streets.

We still wish to be part of the solution.

Thank you for your time. I hope the proper option is as obvious to you as it is to me.

Respectfully,

Steve Jones
Oro Valley Resident and Booster
Vice President CHCA