June 15 - June 21, 1995

THE SOUTHERN ARIZONA Homebuilders Association is once more out to preserve its members' pork and perks, this time in Oro Valley. A recent Arizona Daily Star column by business writer Ernie Heltsley told of a report made to the homebuilders by the accounting firm of Frizzell, Senkerik, and Co. which says the town is too dependent on construction-related fees for its revenue. They suggested an alternative revenue source, like imposing a property tax.

SAHBA Executive Vice President Alan Lurie was quoted as saying of Oro Valley's current leadership, "If they keep managing the way they are now, they could, in fact, kill the golden goose."

Let's get real. Once upon a time, Oro Valley was a nice, sleepy little community with few problems and no local property tax. As they say in the beer ad, "It doesn't get any better than this."

But rich developers conned various turkeys on the OV Town Council and their bureaucrats into a grand annexation drive, a drive that was made easy because the losers running OV at the time were even bigger pushovers than the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

The result of OV's frenzied annexation and growth has been a community that has a crying need for more and better roads, more cops, more infrastructure and all that expensive stuff growth brings with it.

The SAHBA report says 48 percent of OV's income comes from construction fees. What it didn't say was how much of OV's current budget needs were a result of all that construction.

The folks in OV have two choices. They can impose a property tax, or they can start letting those new developments pay their real costs--which means 48 percent isn't nearly enough. Clearly, they need even higher impact fees.

As far as Lurie's "Golden Goose" is concerned, to the people of Oro Valley it's beginning to look like just another ordinary vulture.
--Emil Franzi

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June 15 - June 21, 1995

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