A MATURING ORO VALLEY
First of all, I wanted to say thank you to the many folks who responded to our first post. It's great to see that so many of us are on the same channel.
Our second priority in the series is Strategic Annexation. It was, is, and will be a hot button in Oro Valley.
Oro Valley was incorporated in 1974, and Town Hall was a local residence. Our roots were the need for better public safety and the desire to make our own decisions, especially on tax issues. It was a mere 2.4 square miles and had a population of 1200. The first property Oro Valley annexed was the El Conquistador hotel property. By 1990 and ten annexations later, the population was 6670. The 2000 census showed that Oro Valley had grown to nearly 30,000 with three more annexations. People wanted to be part of Oro Valley, which has continued to today. As a result of more annexations, our current population is 47,000+, and our land mass has grown to 35.5 square miles. Every growing town has to expand its boundaries at some point.
It is appropriate to point out that the landowners and residents initiated the vast majority of annexations (25 in all) within the annexed area. The Westward Look Resort, our most recent annexation, was also at their request.
So, it is reasonably safe to say that Oro Valley today is a product of annexations. It is equally safe to say that annexations have benefitted both Oro Valley and its residents. The proof is that people continue to seek out Oro Valley as a place to live, work and play.
So, where are we on the annexation playing field? The good news is that we are still on the field. The bad news is that the current majority of the OV Town Council has, due to their total lack of experience in municipal finance, coupled with their obsession to curb growth (one of their campaign platforms), annexation is not on their radar screen. Sadly, Oro Valley is about (approximately two years) to experience a 25% decrease in sales taxes. AND we have a three-year void in the construction pipeline. Our State Shared Revenue (per capita revenue from AZ) will be reduced because the current Council majority has not approved a single development project. Retail sales taxes will flatten because there are no new residents. It's not a pretty picture. This will certainly open the door to property taxes.
Unfortunately, the current majority on the Oro Valley Town Council doesn't seem to be even slightly interested in looking past the nose on their face. The State Land Trust owns the 880 acres of vacant land on our western border, and this council has demonstrated no interest in annexing it. Since it is vacant and one owner, it could be a relatively simple annexation. But our pioneer spirit has been lost, and we seem to be happy to be mired in the mud of complacency.
If we, don't make a significant effort to grow our landmass and do it very soon, we will need to find alternative revenue streams to replace those lost in the next 2-4 years. And while we hate to bring up the topic, there is an Oro Valley property tax in our future.