Monday, October 20, 2014

Oro Valley Town Council To Explore Revenue Options To Fund "Special Project"

The Oro Valley Town Council will consider revenue options. At the March 15 council meeting, Council unanimously approved a 60 day public notice for a future discussion of revenue options.

The revenue options that will be considered include a change in the sales tax and two new taxes: a commercial property rental tax and a residential property rental tax.

http://www.fashionable.pics
The 60 day notice period gives residents and other interested parties notice to speak on these taxes if they wish to do so.

Council Member Mary Snider supported the motion because there is a specific project that the town is considering and a discussion of revenue options is essential to that project.  This project requires funds from a new revenue source. 

Snider did not specify the project.  Perhaps it is the community center or new ball fields that council members have mentioned. Perhaps it is something entirely different. We shall see.

Some revenue sources require voter approval.  For example, voters must approve a property tax, electric or gas utility franchise fees, or a residential rental tax.  Sales in existing sales taxes do not voter approve. These sales taxes include a utility tax, construction taxes, bed tax,  general retail tax and a commercial property rental tax.
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Did You See This Drone?

One of our readers sent us an email reporting the sighting of a drone a bit north of Oro Valley.

"This afternoon, about 4:20 p.m., we were sitting on the bench that overlooks our fish pond. We heard the sound of a small motor, then looked up to see what at first appeared to be a small aircraft flying slowly at perhaps 40 mph, maybe 150 feet up, directly over us on a wnw heading. We stood up, went over to a more open area, looked at it and said “it’s a drone!!”

They described it:  "...estimated wingspan of at least 8 to 10 feet.  The drone was yellow and white, with an antenna on top, behind the canopy."

They continued: "Someone was controlling it, but why and for what purpose?"

Did anyone else see this?

Council Agrees To Delay Decision On Olsen Property

Wednesday, the Oro Valley Town Council agreed to reconsider a prior council passed motion approving development of the Olsen property.

Olsen Property On Moore Road
Council Member Hornat's original motion, as passed by council 7-0, required that the developer improve 2 parks for $80,000 before grading the property.   Now Hornat's want to reverse it. Grade first. Work on the park later.

During consideration of the original motion, Council Member Zinkin had suggested a 2 week delay in approval to make sure that everything was ironed out regarding the property.  His motion was rejected. Now, two weeks later, Council goes: "Opps, You wus right, Mike."

So, rather than a 2 week delay, there is now a 5 week delay.

Two Oro Valley Residents Running For State Offices

"Senate candidate Jo Holt hails from Oro Valley but is no stranger to many Maricopans. Holt unsuccessfully ran against incumbent Sen. Al Melvin in 2012 and is now competing for the open seat against Rep. Steve Smith." (Source)

Mark Finchem "...is a retired police officer and a Realtor with Long Realty. He lives in Oro Valley. He previously ran for a seat on the Oro Valley Town Council. His priority is education reform. He supports sending more National Guard troops to the border. Finchem supports expanding the school voucher program. He is pro-life." (Source)

Bet mom is proud of you, Monica.
Cops Catch Crook

"Oro Valley Police Department arrested Monica Garibay for theft on residents of Brookdale Senior Care Living facility on Monday, Oct. 12. The residents of this facility are vulnerable due to diminished memory capacity." (Source)

"With the cooperation of Brookdale's management, the investigation identified a new employee, as a possible suspect. The Criminal Investigations Unit was able to locate one of the stolen items at a local pawn shop and connected it to Garibay." (Source: Oro Valley Police Department Press Release)

Tonight Is Oro Valley's National Night Out

"The Oro Valley Police Department would like to invite the public to its annual National Night Out. Since 1983, this special crime prevention event has been held by communities across the United States focusing on safety. There will be exhibits and demonstrations along with music, prizes and food. Parents and children will learn about safety in regards to water, internet, poison, drugs and much more. Golder Ranch Fire District and others will also be at the event. The event is being held at the Target Shopping Center at 10555 N. Oracle Road from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on October 17, 2014."(Source: Oro Valley Police Department Press Release)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Can't We All Just Get Along?


We wonder why it is so difficult for Council Member Mike Zinkin to get answers from Town Manager Greg Caton or Police Chief Dan Sharp on even the simplest of questions.    The latest request, as Mike provided to many, involves a rather simple request to provide some detail regarding what Police overtime costs and council meeting security needs.

Mike believes that it is his responsibility to question police expenditures since the police department reports directly to the Oro Valley Town Council.    He also believes that it is his responsibility to ask questions because you elected them to do so.

It seems, however, that whenever Mike asks a simple question he gets either no response or a response that is so confusing that it makes no sense.    It also seems that it takes forever for Mike to get a response.

We don't want to bore you with the details of the latest request.   Here is a sample.  In one part of this recent request, Mike asks about police presence at Oro Valley Town council meetings.  Mike reasons that Oro Valley is alleged to be one of the safest cities in the nation.  Why, he wonders, do we have the security coverage we do when, in addition, we have the Chief or his assistant sitting on the dais at council meetings.  Aren't they part of providing security?

Rather than answering the question, Town Manager Caton  said that he could not respond to that because counsel security was a matter that should only be taken up with the full Council.   Zinkin  sought to legal counsel advise on this and found that Caton was not correct.

It really is time for simple questions to be answered in a simple manner.  Every question asked does not have a nefarious intent. The questions are being asked because, in this case, a council member believed that the information that he has been provided at a council meeting was not complete.

It is not big deal.

Provide the information. Let's move on!

"Can't we all just get along?"
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Heather's Corner: Oro Valley Toastmasters: A Club to Build Confidence

Are you looking for a way to enhance your confidence in a public setting? Perhaps you find it difficult to express your thoughts to others? Or maybe you just desire an atmosphere where you can hone in on your friendly discussion skills? Oro Valley has a club that might be for you.

Oro Valley Toastmasters is a supportive and self-paced program in the setting of a neighborhood club, designed to build confidence through speech.

Each time you give a prepared or impromptu speech on what they call, "Table Topics," there is an opportunity for growth with other members pointing out your strengths and suggested improvements. At first you will be applauded for your efforts. With time you will be applauded for your skills.

Whether you are a professional, a stay at home parent, or a retiree, there are all times when we can use a boost of confidence or practice the art of being a good communicator. There is a great sense of ease that comes with being able to effectively formulate and express thoughts and I imagine doing so in the solidarity of Oro Valley residents adds to this benefit as well.

Think about visiting a meeting. The Oro Valley Toastmasters meet at the Golder Ranch Fire Station the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Mondays of the month, at 6:15 pm. For more information you can visit their website at orovalleytoastmasters.com.

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Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley a total of five years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Her husband is Canadian so she is a hockey fan by default and so are her two very clever children. When not being a mommy, she enjoys hiking in Catalina State Park, hand building pottery, and gardening. Her favorite things about living in Oro Valley are the towns recognition of art and culture, their commitment to preserving nature and the Christmas parade. (Also anything from GMG Chinese Bistro.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Here's Some Cheese To Go With Your Whine

The town of Oro Valley And the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce held in Oro Valley Economic Summit at the Oro Valley country club on October 3. The summit was open to businesses in the community and those residents who were invited.

We were not invited. However, resident Bill Adler was invited and he provided us some insight into what was said at the meeting.

Very little was said about economic development during the summit.  Instead, the focus was on what the Town of Oro Valley could do to make things better for business.

We had an "Ah Ha" moment when we read Bill's update. We realized that some businesses whine and complain as much as some residents. "It's interesting how business related individuals feel they have trouble being heard when well over 95% of development is approved," Bill observed. "What failed to occur is a commitment on the part of business to participate in solutions.  Business has never participated in the community to solve problems, but only as a special interest."


One businessman, Greg Wexler of land developer Wexler and Associates, spoke of residents who persist in demanding answers when, in his opinion, they've already been provided.

Adler notes: "This is a basic problem that the Neighborhood Ordinance that I initiated back in 2008-9 was to help solve. It hasn't because the meetings are not run consistent with the ordinance."

As Don Bristow stated at the last town council meeting (see our posting), at least some of the neighborhood meetings are run in a manner that causes residents to learn only some information.  The result, in Don's opinion, was that there are often many unanswered questions.

Participants feel that Oro Valley needs a "Downtown." Just a few years ago, Oro Valley did have a visioned downtown. It was called Town Center. It was to be at First and Oracle. There are those who would assert that politics and opposition from business interests resulted in what is being built there today: A shopping center and "class A" apartments.

At no time has the business community offered to construct a Town Center for the Town. Though, they would like to see one, none stated interest in creating of financing one. That would be up to the residents.

"A Town Center is largely civic in nature...that means non profits, community service organizations as well as some local government offices." observes Adler. "Is business willing to create, in exchange for some retail/office mixed - use development, a balance of civic uses in a Town Center?"

Other items mentioned by businesses was that Oro Valley needs to simplify regulations, recruit businesses that will provide better jobs, further develop and increase occupancy of Innovation Park and promote, and market Oro Valley more effectively.

Adler concluded: "There were more generalities, but again what is important is what is missing: What's important to the community - not just to business. They are not the same to many. But, essentially, the attendees did not offer to help achieve any of the items discussed. It's the Town's duty, which means local residents."
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Our thanks to resident Bill Adler for his help with this posting.
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Shannon Road South Of Ironwood Ridge High School Major General Plan Amendment Withdrawn

Shannon Road Partners and Roberta J. and Dale G. Manning have withdrawn their general plan amendment request for 77 acres located south of Ironwood Ridge High School on the east side of Shannon Road. The land designation is rural low density residential and significant resource area. The request was to designate it low density residential, medium density residential and urban services boundary.

"Please note that the applicant may resubmit at some point in the future. If an application is received, neighbors will be notified consistent with Town noticing procedures and additional neighborhood meetings and public hearings will be required."

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact town planner Matt Michaels @ mmichels@orovalleyaz.gov or (520) 229-4822. (Source)
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Rents Highest In Oro Valley 

"Rents were highest in the Oro Valley/Catalina submarket, at an average of $838 per unit, and the lowest average per unit of $512 was registered in the South Tucson/Airport area."   This from a recently released report by commercial realtors Cushman & Wakefield.

"Cushman & Wakefield analysts associated the slight rental gains of the past years with the lack of job growth within the region, and they expect minimal growth until significant hiring occurs in the market." (Source)
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Four Arrested For Shoplifting and Credit Card Theft at Kohls

Oro Valley Police Officers arrested two male and two female suspects inside Kohl's for shoplifting.  More than $1,200 of stolen merchandise was taken. During the investigation a large quantity of identification cards from Arizona and Illinois were located belonging to numerous victims, along with blank checks and stolen credit cards. (Source: Oro Valley Police Department press release)
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Oro Valley Police Assert That HiVE Works

"While the [accident] cases at Oracle and Magee are the highest, Oro Valley Police say the data shows a 4.5 percent drop since traffic officers began enforcing its high visibility enforcement, or HiVE, patrols in 2012. Injury-related accidents also dropped by 50 percent in the last year, police said." (Source)

The focus of the HiVE activity is on Oracle between Suffolk Road and Magee.

The data to which the police refer are they town's latest crime statistics.  Most traffic accidents in the second quarter of this year involve Oracle Road.

So, please do slow down and drive patiently on Oracle Road.
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Riverfront Park Fields Closed For Over-Seeding

For the first time in many years, The Town Of Oro Valley has over-seeded the soccer fields at Riverfront Park.  Finally, Oro Valley will look beautiful to our winter visitors.

The fields will reopen for use October 19.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

3 Ways To Get Involved In Oro Valley

Oro Valley is a community of active and involved residents.  Being involved gives you the opportunity to shape are community is many ways.   If you've got the interest and the time, Oro Valley has the opportunity.  Here are 3 from al list we were provided by town communications director Misti Nowak.

The Oro Valley Historical Society

The goal of the historical society is to preserve Oro Valley's heritage for future generations.   Their mission si to "promote research preservation, education and gathering of historical information."  They are a non profit organization, offering lots of fun this in which to be involved.

In fact, this Friday they are hosting their annual "Boots and Spurs" fundraiser at the the El Conquistador resort.   It is from 5PM to 10PM.  Cocktails. Dinner. Auction. Music. Why, it doesn't get better that that.  Learn more at their web site or contact roxy@ovhistory.org.

Oro Valley resident Bill Adler is a leading member of the historical society. "A person doesn't have to know anything about history or have an appreciation for history to support historic preservation. You don't have to be a wounded warrior to support wounded warriors or ever have visited a National Park to support their preservation. Once you find out a little about any of these subjects, it's easy to make a commitment."

Oro Valley Citizen Academy

Interested in public safety? "The Citizen Academy is a 36-hour block of instruction designed to give the public knowledge of the Oro Valley Police Department,"  The 12 once a week classes cover a variety of areas including communications,  community policing, criminal investigations and DUI investigations.

The program is free.  Click here to apply.

2015 Oro Valley General Plan update

There is nothing in which you could be involved that has more of a long term, town visioning impact than participating in the creation of the 2015 Oro Valley General Plan.  As a minimum, you should have signed up to receive email updates and to participate in the questions the planning committee has posted for citizen input.

The following are questions open for discussion right now:

  • Would you be in favor or using public funds to conserve our environment? 
  • What steps can we take to conserve our community’s natural resources and open spaces? 
  • From which community can we draw inspiration as we work to conserve our environment?
The planning team is using your responses as a gauge to directing the general plan update.

Have you signed up?
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