November 4, 2006
I strongly agree with the recent letters to the editor that ask voters to vote NO on the Basin Rec Bond. Many are seeing the lack of advance planning and are realizing the long-term negative financial implications that this bond represents. As a business owner in the Basin area, I pay a lot of Basin Rec taxes, so I’m very concerned when they hit us again for $12 million.
I went to the open house last week to get "informed" and all I got was discouraged. Nobody could answer simple questions. The answer to why they wanted to build such an extravagant pool was "because lots of people want this." The answer to what are the costs was "we don’t really know yet probably more than $7 million." The answer to what are the projected operating expenses and revenue was a giggle and then "we haven’t done that yet."
The private sector could never get a bank loan with such a lack of planning or financial homework so why should the public be asked to loan the Basin Rec $12 million? We should hold our public officials to the same fiscal standards to which banks hold the private sector. Rec centers are being closed down due to inefficient facilities built off bonds with no planning or consideration as to the operating expenses required. We must insist that Basin Rec take a more concerned fiscal responsibility with our tax dollars.
The only concrete information I got at the meeting was an information flyer put out by our Park City School District who is obviously concerned about the impact this bond would have on our school budget if this bond passes. They state that "the Ecker Hill pool LOSES $265,000 per year and the Kamas pool LOSES $276,000 per year." YIKES! They went on to state that "should this Rec Bond pass and the pool is built, the losses at Ecker Hill would increase to at least $300,000 per year much more if a lap pool is built." This is money that takes away from our school budget and is paid by taxpayers.
From what I personally see and hear, we need a climbing wall and indoor gyms. There is no private sector filling these needs. There are currently three public pools and private private facility pools in Summit County. All are very expensive to operate and are underused. Basin Rec should stay out of the pool business and focus on what we NEED for additional recreation. County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme counseled Basin Rec when they got approval to put the bond on the ballot to be careful about asking for "wants" vs. "needs." Do we really NEED another pool that is guaranteed to cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes each year to operate and almost a million dollars each year for 21 years to pay off the bonds?
I was especially disappointed when, at the meeting, I asked why the Basin Rec does not break down their big bond and offer voters smaller a la carte bonds so the voters can choose if they want to go into debt for an over-the-top pool or if they would just like to approve a bond for another park or other needed recreation. The answer was obvious that voters wouldn’t vote for just the over-the-top pool if other options weren’t included that they did want. How stupid are we? I guess we will find out on Election Day, but I hope everyone can read through this poorly planned Basin Rec Bond and JUST SAY NO.