Michael Turner: Concerning 2B, 2C | SteamboatToday.com

Michael Turner: Concerning 2B, 2C

Based on the Talking Points fact sheet distributed by Citizens for a Community Recreation Center, please consider the following counterpoints concerning Referendums 2B and 2C:

– Their slogan is “For You, For Me, For our Community.” If this recreation center is for the entire community, why should it be paid for only by residents and businesses who own property within the city limits? There is a very large portion of our community consisting of residents immediately adjoining the city limits. They would enjoy the benefits without paying for its construction and continuing operation.

– They state $34 million for the new center. But in parenthesis, it also says $66,495,000 over 20 years to repay the bond. In reality, we are going to be paying for a $66 million recreation center.
– The Talking Points state that we can expect our costs to be offset in the future because potentially 1,000 more homes are expected to be annexed into the city. Expected by whom? This is an assumption, not a fact. It is irresponsible to include something that “might” happen in any fiscal planning.

– Land for the proposed new facility will be donated by the city. The Talking Points state that “the City of Steamboat is working as a community partner with Old Town Hot Springs to ensure the future sustainability of this long standing, historical amenity.” I cannot understand how the city contributing land that is possibly worth millions of dollars to this recreation center, which will actually compete with the Old Town Hot Springs and other privately owned facilities in town, can be construed as working to ensure their future sustainability. Is it appropriate for a municipal government to enter into an endeavor with our tax dollars that directly competes with other private enterprises and the Old Town Hot Springs, a nonprofit public facility?

– The Talking Points also state that the city will develop an agreement with Old Town Hot Springs with regard to the Fitness Center that will “potentially” allow only 25 percent of the needed equipment for the 5,000-square-foot space in the first year and be revisited each year until such time that OTHS business is no longer affected by the new Fitness Center.” This is a vague statement. Exactly who will “revisit” this each year? Will the city appoint another new committee to be the “Revisiting Committee?” The reality is that this new center will be in direct competition with OTHS and the other fitness centers in town.
– Should you decide to vote to construct this facility and utilize it, be aware that you will pay for it three times if you live within the city limits. First, through a property tax to construct it that could cost as much as $66 million over 20 years. You pay again through a second property tax that could possibly last in perpetuity for continued maintenance and operating deficit. Information distributed by the CCRC shows a projected operating deficit for 2010 of $516,000. Finally, if you choose to utilize the facility, you will pay a third time through annual membership fees.

– Do you want to add to your long-term tax burden building a Taj Mahal facility that a small vocal group has decided we need because Glenwood Springs, Aspen or Vail has one, or because they had one where they moved here from? Or should we concentrate on things such as roads, schools, police and fire while enjoying the abundant and endless recreational opportunities that this wonderful community already provides?

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Remember, it’s really $66 million.

Michael Turner