TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Oro Valley Mayor Joe Winfield delivered his first State of the Town address to a full house at the El Conquistador Resort in Oro Valley.
The speech was short on accomplishments — as would be expected in such a short time in office — but long on expectations in the next three years.
What set his State of the Town apart from his predecessors is his philosophy on growth.
Oro Valley was, for decades, seen as one of the fastest growing communities in southern Arizona.
While not casting that aside, Winfield signaled a change of direction.
“What we’re looking for is good planned, moderate, steady growth,” he said.
It also applies to the budget process which he said the town would look for places to cut finances and cuts costs.
“I’ve always believed in living within your means,” he said.
While the town is not landlocked, it still has limited place to grow.
To the north is nearly 900 acres of state trust land which could be annexed and well as some property to the west, but not much else.
“We’re approaching build out,” Winfield said. “That’s not going to happen tomorrow but we’re always looking for places we can grow.”
He says the town could approve permits for several thousand homes but will approve about 300 or so a year.
“That’s a good steady growth,” he said.
But during his speech, he also asked the residents to play more golf on the town’s 45 holes of golf.
The mayor says he’s always been in favor of lowering the town’s subsidy for golf, which by some estimates could run several hundred thousand dollars a year.
The town council inherited the courses from the previous council which bought the courses and other facilities from a developer for $1 million to be used as a town recreation center.
The courses became a bone of contention which led to the pro growth council to be voted out.
But a plan to allow the courses the go fallow was rejected by a majority who felt the golf courses increased their home values.
So now the city is stuck with trying to make the courses pay for themselves.
It’s selling memberships and encouraging more corporate outings.
He says outside play is up and that’s good news.
“I hope we can build on that momentum and bring those golf courses into the black,” he said.