Oro Valley Town staff held the first public meeting of the year on Jan. 26 to discuss the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget. Members of Town staff and council held the meeting to hear citizen input.
Interim Town Manager Greg Caton said the meeting implements a new step to the budget process that has not been done in previous years.
“One of the critical elements into a good budget is communication, input, and that’s what we are here for tonight,” he said. “We have Council here, and we have staff here to hear your thoughts before we develop the budget for the coming fiscal year.”
Finance Manger Stacey Lemos presented the basic elements of the year’s adopted $94.2 million budget in a presentation before opening the floor for input. The fiscal year runs from July 1- June 30.
One of the main concerns regarding the budget is related to the town’s desire to acquire annexations to increase revenue streams. “Annexations are great, but annexations cost money,” said one Oro Valley resident. “Some of the annexations you’re looking at to the south involves Pima County roads, which are in dire condition. Annexations are not the golden answer.”
Caton said annexations are taken into consideration through a fiscal analysis to determine how various departments would be affected before they occur. “
The Town has a considerable amount to gain, given the annexation’s revenues outweigh expenditures,” Caton said.
In other news, residents urged town staff not to relinquish control of the Oro Valley Library to Pima County, which Caton said is still under review by staff.
“I strongly urge you in considering in your budget to work on finding a way,” said one Oro Valley resident. “The money is there, it’s a matter of reallocation.”
For now, Caton said the 2012-2013 fiscal budget will proceed as in years past, with the library accounted for. A separate meeting will be held in February for further discussions of the library’s future.
Residents also voiced their support for increased arts and cultures venues in Oro Valley, to which Caton said any sizable development would be unaffordable for the upcoming budget. However, Caton said the recommendation has been heard, and will be taken into account for future financial planning.
According to Caton, the Town has cut down $700,000 in expenditures for the coming fiscal year, largely due to a partnership with the Regional Transportation Authority pertaining to Coyote Run.
Caton said Oro Valley, like the rest of the nation, is slowly coming out of the recession. In the years to come, Caton and staff envision more programs and infrastructure developments becoming available to residents.
Caton said regionalism and partnerships will play a big role in Oro Valley’s financial future.
“In times like this, it is critical,” he said. “We are working together with our partners all throughout the region. In tough times, there are sometimes some good benefits.”
Caton will introduce the manager’s budget to the council on April 4.