Oro Valley, Arizona–January 19, 2022
It’s my honor to serve as Mayor for the Town of Oro Valley. Today, I am announcing that I will run for re-election this year and would appreciate your vote.
Four years ago, I announced my candidacy to become your mayor because I felt the Oro Valley residents needed to be heard and deep-pocket contributors had the appearance of unduly influencing Town Council decisions. I believe that Oro Valley needed “a new direction” where everyone has an equal voice on matters related to its future.
Joining me are Councilmembers Melanie Barrett, Joyce Jones-Ivey, and Josh Nicolson. We ran and were elected as a team and have been honored to serve the citizens of Oro Valley for four years. We will run as a team again in 2022.
We will run a self and resident funded campaign to ensure that council decisions are made in the best interest of the Town. We invite you to join us and welcome donations from residents who want an independent Town Council representing them. We want to build upon and expand the many successes the Town has experienced under our leadership and make Oro Valley the best place to live, work, and play in Arizona.
Your Council has been extremely supportive of public safety. In 2019, we approved funding for four new police officers. After conducting a nationwide search for a new police chief, we appointed the best candidate for the job, Chief Kara Riley. Her selection was strongly endorsed by residents and community leaders, and she has since been voted the Best Public Official in Northwest Tucson. Under her leadership the Oro Valley Police Department has thrived and has started an officer wellness program, added a mental health specialist, and texting to reach 911. In 2021 our officers saved 11 lives. While Public Safety was under attack elsewhere, we increased funding for our police department.
Our commitment to fiscal responsibility and our police officers led us to solve the problem of our unfunded police pension liability, which will save the Town up to $30 million dollars. When we came into office, the Town had $27 million in unfunded police pension obligations. We recently paid $10 million of our excess reserves, gained through prudent budgeting, towards the debt, and financed $17.6 million at a record-low interest rate of 2.4% to save the Town millions of dollars and guarantee that the police who protect us everyday have fully funded retirements.
We have supported responsible growth in the community. In 2020 to 2021, there has been a 12% increase in new business, and 30 new businesses added. We negotiated the annexation of The Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa, bringing new revenues to the Town. We are bringing new employers like Leonardo Electronics US who will invest $100 million in a new Oro Valley plant and add 170 high-quality jobs to Oro Valley.
We promised to bring common sense solutions to the challenge of the Town’s significant golf course losses. We chose to retain the courses, and operate them as municipal courses. Through changing operators, running more efficiently, and increasing play we have been able to save over $1 million every year in golf losses.
The Parks and Recreation department oversaw the installation of the popular and widely used Naranja park playground which opened in 2020. The Town also conducted an extensive Parks and Recreation master planning process, including resident surveys, public input, public meetings, staff contributions, professional design, and more. This led the Council to change the “golf and community center” sales tax to be more equitably used for any parks and recreation amenity in our community. Using the money saved by fixing the golf operations and the growth in the recreation tax revenues, the Council approved a $25 million Bond at 2.3% interest to fund the highest priority recreation needs. The Park’s bond funds will nearly build out Naranja Park with new fields and amenities, rebuild the Community Center tennis courts and parking lot, rebuild golf course irrigation and add to our expanding multi-use path network to provide pedestrian and bike connectivity to Naranja Park and the Community Center.
The best news is that these substantial recreation Investments that benefit the entire community will be mostly funded from savings in Town golf subsidies! There will be no new sales or property taxes required for these expanded amenities. As exciting as these developments are, most are just underway and will take several years to be completed.
I am running with my fellow Councilmembers for re-election because after starting Oro Valley in a new, collaborative direction, we want to finish the job. I want to keep working for you as your Mayor, to make Oro Valley the best place in Arizona for our current and future residents to live, work, and play.
I invite you to join and support our team in running this resident focused and funded campaign for re-election to serve you. Your vote matters, please vote to re-elect Joe Winfield, Melanie Barrett, Joyce Jones-Ivey, and Josh Nicolson!