Positions on the Issues
KEEPING ORO VALLEY SAFE
Oro Valley is the safest Town in the State of Arizona. This has been earned by the commitment to excellence displayed by all members of our Police department. They provide an amazing level of service to our residents far beyond that of any other police department. Unlike Tucson, OV Police responds to EVERY call, not just high-profile crimes. In Oro Valley, if you call the Police, they will be there and be there fast! For the safety of our children, they provide a School Resource Officer for every school in Oro Valley. They are proactive, working to prevent crime before it happens. I have and will continue to support our Police and ENSURE that they have the funding and resources necessary to continue to keep Oro Valley the safest place in Arizona. Last year I pushed to include the funds necessary for hiring needed additional officers and this year I fought hard for the selection of a very highly qualified internal new Police Chief, Kara Riley.
OPEN SPACE AND RESPONSIBLE GROWTH
I am a firm supporter of open space and high-quality responsible development. To ensure that future growth and development are responsible and meet our community values, as a Council Member I led the implementation of the Oro Valley Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance (ESLO) and new comprehensive Development and Architectural Standards. Since its implementation ESLO has resulted in preserving hundreds of acres of open space & natural desert in our community.
A vibrant community is a growing community. A healthy Town is one where its residents have access to local restaurants, shops, entertainment and jobs. This is both convenient and generates the sales taxes that fund our Town services. Oro Valley is nearly built out and effectively land locked greatly limiting new business, services, jobs and opportunities. Stagnation is a real possibility and not a pleasant one. Fortunately, this can be alleviated by well thought out annexations of developed and undeveloped areas on our Town’s boundaries that will result in new businesses and net positive increases in sales tax revenues.
Open spaces and recreational spaces are very important to our community, as evidenced by resident responses in our recent Parks and Recreation survey. I have been actively working for a solution for the closed Vistoso Golf Course property that supports the community desires by preserving the land as recreational and open space. I led the Council discussion on the various possibilities to preserve Vistoso through public private partnerships and utilizing available grants. I will continue to use my prior preservation experience when I worked with the Town, Pima County, Tohono O’odham Nation, and our community to create and donate the Honeybee Village Archaeology Preserve. By working together, we can achieve a similar preservation of the 208-acre Vistoso Golf course including its open space, paved walking paths, restroom facilities and archaeological features to be enjoyed by our community.
TOWN FINANCES & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Upon first taking office our Town was faced with a $3 million shortfall due to the great recession. I supported efforts to control spending and balanced the budget while maintaining the Town’s quality services. During my time on Council I helped guide the Town to financial success with $2M+ annual surpluses, the growth of the Town’s contingency account to over $17M and a AAA credit rating. I will continue our conservative approach to spending within our means and maximizing the services provided for the minimum amount of dollars.
The vast majority of funding for Oro Valley’s public services is through local sales taxes. To avoid unwanted new taxes, we must ensure that our sales tax base continues to grow to provide the excellent services our residents expect. This can be accomplished by expanding our retail sales base through recruitment of new businesses, expansion of existing businesses and annexation to south to bring into Oro Valley the large retail center at Oracle Road & Ina Roads
Companies that are looking at potential new and or expanded facilities consider several factors in their choice of location. A prime consideration is whether they will be able to attract new and existing employees to the location. These employees want a desirable and safe place for themselves and their families to live, work and play. Oro Valley must continue to offer this “desirability”. We must continue to have well planned development with open spaces, different housing choices, a wide range of local services, restaurants, entertainment and recreational opportunities. We need to continue to be the safest town in Arizona, which is of upmost importance to current and future new employees/residents.
We need to ensure that Oro Valley is business friendly, particularly compared to other communities competing for these businesses. New businesses are very concerned with the time required to open their new busines in a new location. We have started to and need to continue to streamline the necessary reviews and approvals required while still maintaining our Town’s high standards and neighbor participation.
During our current COVID-19 crisis we need to ensure the survival and success of our local businesses. As a long time, Oro Valley business owner, I know what our businesses need to help them recover and thrive through this difficult time so that they can continue providing our needed services, employment opportunities and revenue. Helping our business thrive will ensure the Town services continue to be funded from sales taxes and NOT new and increased taxes.
ORO VALLEY MARKETPLACE TRANSFORMATION
I fully support the transformation of the Oro Valley Market Place into a thriving retail and entertainment town center. Imagine a local neighborhood center where we can go to enjoy a night out with family and friends. A place where we can shop, dine, relax, and enjoy a drink while our children play in a splashpad on a beach. This is the new and exciting vision of the OVMP. The new local owners of this project will be investing and spending millions of dollars in our community to build this center. This is the ideal location for this for this project adjacent to Oracle and Tangerine Roads and isolated from existing residential areas. Not only will this provide wonderful new local services but also the revenue to keep Oro Valley a Place of Excellence. This will put the play in our moto live, work & play.
ORO VALLEY COMMUNITY CENTER & GOLF
People who claim the Community Center & Golf loses money refused to include its income in their numbers, it nets over $1M a year. Its operating costs have steadily decreased while its income has steadily increased. It is funded like all town services by sales tax revenues plus its own income from user fees. It is not a part of our Parks & Rec budget and does not take away any money from those facilities. After its purchase there was a recall vote whose purpose was to close it down and rescind the ½ cent sales tax implemented to fund it. The recall failed. The voters spoke they want to keep it open and approved of the sales tax to fund it. These facilities are being heavily utilized and are an asset to our residents. They also play an important role in our economic development and efforts to attract high paying professional jobs to Oro Valley. I have and will continue to ensure that they are successful and provide the best and highest level of services at the lowest costs to the Town residents.
Oro Valley is nearly built out. A vibrant community is a growing community. Stagnation is a real possibility and not a pleasant one. Our town is funded through sales taxes, if our tax base does not grow, we will have new taxes. This can be alleviated by well thought out annexations of developed areas, such as Oracle & Ina Roads and undeveloped areas bringing in new businesses and sales tax revenues. Annexations only happen if detailed analysis shows they will result in net positive revenue and benefit our Town. The prime State Trust land adjacent to Oro Valley on Thornydale and Tangerine Roads will certainly be developed and impact Oro Valley and our residents. It makes sense for Oro Valley to regulate this development and to receive the tax benefits for our residents. This land would provide room for Oro Valley to grow and receive sales taxes generated by the retail businesses that will open there.
BUSINESSES: GOOD FOR ORO VALLEY
Our Town is composed of three basic groups; Town Government, our residents and our businesses. All three of these groups working together is what makes Oro Valley such a special place to live. Oro Valley Businesses provides our residents services that are close to home, jobs for our residents and their children, and the sales tax revenue for the Town to provide services to its residents such as public safety and roads. Additionally, our businesses tend to be very involved in our community, contributing both time and money to local causes. We have a very high standard for our businesses including architectural standards that result in attractive buildings and commercial centers. Through our sign code we obtain a fair balance between signage needed for business success and their size, placement and color to maintain an attractive community.
Unfortunately, some people have the mistaken idea that more businesses in Oro Valley is a bad idea. They seem to think that there is a conflict between businesses and Town residents, that what is good for business is bad for residents. This is completely false. There is no conflict between businesses and residents. A good strong business community is good for both Oro Valley and its residents.
PROVIDING FOR THOSE IN NEED
Oro Valley’s Coyote Run ADA & Senior transportation service was in jeopardy in 2011 when State funding was cut. Vice Mayor Lou Waters and Council Member Steve Solomon initiated an effort to save this valuable service, noting that the RTA had voter approved funding for a similar service. Meeting with Coyote Run users, Coyote Run Staff and the RTA they developed a plan for the RTA to hire Oro Valley Coyote Run Vehicles and Drivers to provide this service. Lou and Steve initiated an agreement with the RTA that formed the Oro Valley Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride. This resulted in an improved service with more time and locations. Since its formation in 2012 its ridership has increased fivefold while saving the Town over a Million dollars.
BUSINESS LEADERS DONATIONS
As our Town excelled due to the leadership and vision of Council Member Steve Solomon our residents and business owners took notice. They enjoyed balanced budgets & surpluses and Oro Valley being the safest Town in Arizona. Businesses that have large investments in Oro Valley and bring both jobs and revenue to our community have a vested interest in the success of our community which in turn helps their business succeed. Seeing the great success of our Town some of Oro Valley’s business owners have contributed to Steve’s campaigns. Some of these Oro Valley businesses are hotel & apartment owners and home builders many of whom live in our community. Some critics are attempting to put these contributions in a negative light implying through generalizations and innuendos that they are inappropriate and affect the incumbent’s actions. This is absolutely false and insulting. Steve’s votes regarding development were always based upon extensive engineering and planning staff reviews & assessments along with our citizen Planning & Zoning Commission recommendations. There has never been any council decision or action influenced by any of these contributions. The critics knowing this never provided any specifics and are simply resorting to dirty political tricks to cast this successful incumbent in a bad light and influence your vote.
HONEY BEE VILLAGE ARCHAEOLOGICAL PRESERVE
As a private Developer I created, preserved and donated the significant 13-acre Hohokam Honey Bee Village Archaeological Preserve in the heart of Oro Valley.
ORO VALLEY VOLUNTEER
Though out the last 25 years I have volunteered and served on many Town committees and functions including as a guest instructor for Town classes.
Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Council Award in Public Archaeology
Metropolitan Pima Alliance Common Ground Award