Letter: Vote no on ‘D’
This is a difficult and important issue to all members of Rifle’s community. The initial proposal shows a construction cost of around $23 million and that the total cost after interest will exceed $40 million. We also know that the city of Rifle’s reserve fund has dropped by 40 percent since 2009 and that the rec center will add a minimum of $200K of operating expenses that will not be covered by the proposed increase in sales tax.
The supporters of the rec center contend that .75 of a penny is not a big deal and that the benefit to the citizens of Rifle and surrounding communities outweighs the cost. They say that the health of everyone around would improve from its existence, and that tourists and other highway travelers would exit in Rifle just to go to our magnificent rec center. The truth is less dramatic. Based on usage rates of other local rec centers, the Rifle Rec Center could expect about 15 percent of its citizens to use the facility on a regular basis. The tourist attendance figures in other rec centers in the area are tiny, like almost non-existent.
This rec center will take money out of our local economy through taxes and fees. We’re expecting $40 million to be removed from the taxpayers of Rifle over 30 years to pay back the loan and interest. Most citizens and shoppers will be giving money to the government instead of using it in a private business. It’s immoral to grow the debt of our citizens and the size and budget of the City of Rifle in the name of appeasing a few.
Government operated businesses, like this rec center and the associated taxes compete with the private sector. Taxes take away our freedom of choice. This tax initiative is proposed aggression against the people of Rifle and it should not be tolerated. The enforcement of a tax that benefits so few people is nothing less than theft by the municipal government. If you are against stealing from Rifle’s taxpayers, you will vote “No” on ballot question D.
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