Slow down the COPs

The Glenwood Springs City Council is poised to borrow $12 million using certificates of participation (COPs) and sign a $235,000 contract for a golf course designer at its meeting Thursday evening.

Whoa, whoa, whoa!

A forward-looking council is what Glenwood Springs needs, but this action is happening way too fast.

Far too many unanswered questions are still dangling to be able to endorse the idea of borrowing $12 million without voter approval, let alone moving forward on a golf course contract.

Can the South Canyon landfill reliably produce $1 million in profits every year to pay off this debt? Will the city still be financially prepared for the landfill closure and replacement costs that will come in the future?

What kind of golf course revenues can the city reasonably expect? When will the facility pay for itself?

And finally, do residents feel comfortable with City Council borrowing $12 million (coming on top of the city’s $17 million bonded debt) without voter approval?

Would the city be better off paying cash for these amenities, building them as revenues accumulate and, in essence, living within our means?

It would be easier to understand this fast-track approach if the certificates of participation were being used only to pull together the $1.4 million needed to build a pool at the Community Center. The city faces a June financing deadline related to the pool.

The addition of recreational amenities will prove beneficial to Glenwood Springs in the future. As a community we need to look ahead. The grand opening of the Iron Mountain Tramway, although a private enterprise, is the result of an investment in the future and of pursuing a vision. These are good things.

The COPs discussion is scheduled near the end of the City Council meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. It will most likely be a long session, but residents should attend and make their voices heard.

Perhaps the next step is a community open house, at which the city could provide more specific detail on the proposed COPs funding and citizens would have the opportunity to become more educated on the proposal.

The council needs to thoroughly analyze the pros and cons and share that information with local residents before signing on the dotted line.

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