Main Street Steamboat Springs, Board of Directors: Bond issue opposed
MainStreet Steamboat Springs board of directors, representing concerns of downtown property and business owners, would like to state unequivocally that we support quality education for the students of our community. We know the community is growing and additional elementary school space is already necessary; however, we question the logic and scope of current plan as proposed.
The high school is a cornerstone of our community and moving it out of downtown has both tangible and potential negative consequences. We think the plan has not been thoroughly vetted with the community nor has the community had adequate time to analyze or comment.
With the extremely high price tag on this plan ($92 million on the backs of 12,000 residents) one must question if this is the highest and best use of our funds. The plan is flawed.
Our demographic information indicates that Routt County is growing by 1 percent and will continue on this path unless we add attainable housing for our workforce. Moving the high school to the proposed location removes attainable housing building lots from the market.
MainStreet is highly concerned about the impacts this bond proposal will have on businesses within the community. Under the Gallagher amendment to the state constitution, commercial property owners pay more than 3.64 times the amount of tax that owners of similarly valued residential property pay. These taxes are passed on to the tenants or businesses that occupy the leased spaces and could be the difference between some of our businesses staying open or shutting their doors.
At the very least, a $92 million bond will create a burden that will have to be passed on to the consumers through higher prices for goods and services including meals in restaurants, prices at the drug store and repairs to your favorite bicycle.
A more fiscally responsible plan — such as one that immediately builds an elementary school at roughly one quarter of the cost and develops a plan for expansion of middle and high schools if necessary — would provide the quality education we all want and lessen the impacts on consumers and businesses alike.
It is time to go back to the drawing board on the solution to our crowded schools. The current plan appears to be a “shoot for the moon” plan that may provide a shiny new high school but has many negative impacts on our community.
We can alleviate the crowding in our schools with a different plan that keeps a keystone of our community downtown and minimizes a tax burden for the residents and businesses of Steamboat.
For those that may not remember or perhaps lived somewhere else at the time, 20 years ago a different school board proposed moving the high school out of downtown and the citizens rejected to it as being the wrong plan. It is still the wrong plan.
Please vote no on 3A and 3B.
Main Street Steamboat Springs Board of Directors
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