Three OV candidates for mayor answer questions - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Three OV candidates for mayor answer questions

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 8:07 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

The Explorer asked mayoral candidates these questions. Some answers were edited for length. The Oro Valley primary election concludes March 9.

 

1. What new sources of revenue should Oro Valley examine?

 

Satish Hiremath

1. There really are not any "new" sources of revenue.  I would stimulate economic development through a review of existing zoning restrictions on use and by expediting the permit and development review procedure so that a business which wishes to expand, create and promote can do so quickly at minimal time and expense. This is a long-term solution. Short term solution would be to change the policy use on contingency reserves so that the overage we have could be used. to help offset the current deficit immediately.

 

Paul Loomis

1. Our General Plan vision is "a government that is responsive to residents and ensures the long-term financial stability of the town."  We need to look at all possible sources of revenue, dedicated sales taxes, user fees, franchise fees, rental taxes and property taxes.  Each needs to be justified.  We also need to expand our partnerships with businesses to help them grow and generate more sales taxes.

 

Mike Zinkin

1. Oro Valley is 85 percent developed.  State shared revenues are down 25 percent.  Given the state of the economy, what is paramount to Oro Valley is to increase its sales tax base.  To start, I would establish an Economic Development Commission.  This commission would consist of Oro Valley residents that are, or were, business owners.  This commission would have direct access to the council and advise it directly on how to increase sales and bed tax revenues.  I would streamline the development process.

 

2. Would you put a property tax question on the ballot for voter approval? Why or why not?

 

Satish Hiremath

2. No. My aim is to balance the budget without the use of the additional revenue that a property tax would generate.  Economically, the senior population is very fragile and should be respected.  They really have no recourse in generating additional household income.  I will focus on streamlining all expense categories and shore up revenue streams by enhancing economic development and feel confident that we will not need a property tax to balance the budget.

 

Paul Loomis

2. Property taxes are one leg of government funding structure; income and sales taxes are the other two. Each leg fluctuates differently with the economy and helps provide "financial stability." We must examine all legs of the stool for revenue and determine the best balance for our town.  If a property tax is fully justified and supported by the council, I would support putting the question on the ballot.  The final decision will be in the voters' hands.

 

Mike Zinkin

2. There cannot be any property tax without voter approval.  At this time, with so many of our residents on fixed incomes, facing job losses, or struggling to pay their bills, it would be premature and irresponsible to even consider a property tax. If 10 years ago the cost of government was $1,700 per resident, and now government costs $4,600 per resident, that indicates that there is a lot of excess. We must be fiscally responsible and separate our wants from our needs.

 

3. What areas of the budget would you cut?

 

Satish Hiremath

3. There are recreation programs that are desirable, but are heavily subsidized by the town.  However, if contingency reserves were utilized through a change in policy, no cuts would be necessary.  Also, paying off bond debt would result in lowering our expenditures, thereby making a balanced budget somewhat easier.  It also lowers the contingency reserve, but not below the required minimum.

 

Paul Loomis

3. First, I would look at the non-core services that the town provides. Can we save by changing our service hours?  Should the library be open 50 hours, six days a week or are there more efficient times?  Should the town work a four-day week of ten hours rather than a five-day workweek?  Should the parks hours be reduced?

 

Mike Zinkin

3. There will be no expenditure without a justification. I would cut all areas where service is longer justified. We all agree that development and building is down from what it was a few years ago, so we can we cut Development Services and Building Safety from current levels without sacrificing service.  If there is no longer a demand for their services, we don't need to continue to staff.

 

 

4. Name two areas of the budget you would cut and two areas of the budget you would protect?

 

Satish Hiremath

4. Recreation services that are heavily subsidized.  May look toward reducing operating hours at the library.  Again, this would not be necessary if use of the overage of contingency reserves is revised.  I would not cut public safety or public works.

 

Paul Loomis

4. I would cut some hours of operation and parks and recreation programs that are nice to have but not essential, or that could be done by other organizations or businesses.  I will protect public safety and public works.  If these services are cut, it will take many years to recover. Deferred maintenance is always more costly in the long run.

 

Mike Zinkin

4. I would cut all monies given to outside agencies without first showing they have provided a tangible benefit.  I am against any budgetary "earmarks."  The additional money needed to fund the library has to be closely examined.  Unless we can get the Legislature and the Supervisors to work with us on eliminating the double tax on our library, I would consider taking action.

  

5. Do you think the town should push forward with stalled plans to annex Arroyo Grande? Why or why not?

 

Satish Hiremath

5. Arroyo Grande represents the town's best chance for economic development on a scale that could make a difference in our local sales tax revenue.  Long term, economic development will be Oro Valley's salvation.  The net gain in revenue would greatly exceed the necessary costs.

  

Paul Loomis

5. Yes, we need to ensure that development in this area is compatible with our community and consistent with Oro Valley standards.  The people of Oro Valley will be directly impacted by development in the area whether it is annexed or not.  Since Arroyo Grande is upstream in our aquifer, even our water supply may be affected.  It is in the town's best interest to pursue annexation of this area.

 

Mike Zinkin

5. The town did not stall the Arroyo Grande process.  Due to their budget shortfalls, the state closed the Tucson office of the Arizona State Land Department.  Our town has submitted a conceptual plan for Arroyo Grande and gone forward with a General Plan Amendment for Arroyo Grande.  We need to continue to push the state to accept the conceptual plan, so we can go forward with the pre-annexation development agreement.

 

6. Do you think the town should continue financial support of the NPCCC, TREO and/or MTCVB? Why or why not? *

 

Satish Hiremath

6. Yes.  Our main priority is to sustain the services to our community.  Groups like these are a very integral part to Oro Valley's success, as they form the economic infrastructure of our community.  Supporting them will allow for increased levels of services and quality that we, as elected officials, are responsible for providing to our citizens. 

 

Paul Loomis

6. Business and economic development throughout the region benefits Oro Valley.  These investments bring jobs, new retail and business to our region and enable us to leverage our limited resources; and the entire region benefits.  Oro Valley does not have the resources to do it alone.  We are a high tech, resort town.  TREO helps us with primary jobs, the Chamber with retail and commercial (sales tax) and MTCVB helps with tourism (bed tax).

 

Mike Zinkin

6. The Town has not funded NPCCC since 2008.  They have also cut funding during the past two years to TREO and MTCVB, and recently, the council voted unanimously to cut all funding to outside agencies. With today's budget shortfalls, we need to define our core services.  If we provide a safe, healthy, clean, well maintained community, businesses will want to locate here and tourists will desire to visit.  We can spend our money to finance our own Economic Development Department.  We can hold that department accountable for their work and expenditures. 

 

*Note: The town has not funded NPCCC for two years and last year decided to cut funding to other outside agencies. The question should have asked if the candidates would reinstitute funding. Thanks to the candidates for noting the oversight.

 

7. The town has a reputation as being business unfriendly. Do you agree with that assessment and what do think can be done about it?

 

Satish Hiremath

Yes I agree with that perception. There is nothing wrong with the town's codes, policies and regulations.  The perception of unfriendliness is in the administration of those codes, policies and regulations.  The town has slow and cumbersome processes and is inconsistent in application, and that lack of predictability creates the perception of being unfriendly.  Boards, commissions and council, are poorly prepared for many of the decisions they are expected to make, and that also results in a lack of consistency.  That is unfriendly and unnecessary.

 

Paul Loomis

7. Oro Valley's early ordinances were not written for a town that depends on business success for revenue.  We have made great strides towards remedying this situation, yet there is still more work to be done. Our economic development staff meets with about five businesses every month to gain feedback and identify ways we can work together. I am committed to support updating our codes and review processes to reflect a town that partners with business.

 

Mike Zinkin

7. Yes, I agree with that assessment, especially in light of the incumbent mayor's vote against the creation of a volunteer Economic Development Commission. That vote sends a clear message to resident business people that their voices are not important to the council. We need to streamline the development process and inspection process.  The advent of an Economic Development Commission will be businesses direct pipeline to the Council.  The design guidelines that make Oro Valley unique need not be sacrificed.  The business community and Oro Valley can certainly prosper together.

 

 

 

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

MOS: Monsoon Season

We asked the community about the Monsoon Season.

Featured Videos

Spacer4px

Online poll

Follow us on Facebook