TUCSON – Last month, Oro Valley Mayor Joe Winfield and the town council voted 6-1 in favor of keeping El Conquistador and La Canada golf courses open with several conditions.
Those conditions include expanding yearly membership.
In addition, public play would increase to about 40,000 rounds a year by fiscal year 2021 to 2022.
Now, residents say the mayor is going back on his word by supporting a pay as you go option to fund the courses.
Some residents are collecting signatures to begin a recall effort of Winfield and Vice Mayor Melanie Barrett.
“When the town council and the mayor voted to keep the golf courses and community center open, they made a promise to the residents of Oro Valley and all we want for him is to keep that promise and show integrity and fiscal responsibility,” said Jane Shurtleff, an Oro Valley resident.
Some homeowners say the town manager has outlined pay as you go as the most costly option, potentially adding $1.5 million in costs to account for construction and irrigation and delaying course improvements by three to five years.
We reached out to Mayor Winfield for an interview and he sent News 4 Tucson this statement:
“On October 2, 2019, the Town Council voted in a six to one vote to keep all 36 holes of golf. The Council is deliberating about capital improvement priorities and how and when to pay for them. The Town has dedicated a ½ cent sales tax for golf which generates around $2.5 Million per year and I believe this is adequate funding to repair the courses if we realize the promised increased revenue. By opening both courses to outside play, doing a membership drive, and accepting HOA contributions to increase revenue, the Town has projected a reduction in the tax subsidy for golf which would facilitate phased capital improvements beginning in 2021.”
Residents said they’re also angry because the mayor and council are looking at outside candidates to succeed longtime Oro Valley Police Chief Daniel Sharp who is set to retire in February.
“It’s just questionable,” said Jen LeFevre, an Oro Valley resident. “Why? Why wouldn’t you give our chief’s candidates the option?
Mayor Winfield said the council is looking at both candidates within the department and outside to cast a wider net.