Time is right to extend Carbondale recreation tax | PostIndependent.com

Time is right to extend Carbondale recreation tax

Carbondale voters have an excellent opportunity to expand the town’s recreational offerings with two simple votes next Tuesday.

The two questions on the Carbondale municipal ballot deserve a “yes” vote.

Question No. 1 would make permanent the town’s modest 0.5 percent sales tax dedicated for recreation.

Approved in 1996 and set to expire in 2010, the tax now raises about $400,000 a year. With growth in Carbondale’s commercial sector, that revenue could grow to $630,000 a year over the next decade.

Paying a nickel on every $10 purchase should barely register for shoppers, even those with low incomes. The benefits of the tax are huge for residents of all ages.

Question No. 2, which relies on passage of the first question, would authorize the town to issue up to $2.65 million in bonds to fund a package of recreation projects.

These could include a recreation center with a gymnasium, more trails and bike paths, the Gateway River Park and preservation of open space.

Building and running a recreation center structure would eat up much of the bond money, and Carbondale leaders should instead explore more joint use of school facilities.

On the other hand, trails, bike paths, a river park and open space fit nicely into the image of Carbondale as a paradise of outdoor recreation. Bond money would be well spent on these efforts.

With interest rates very low now, it’s a good time for Carbondale to borrow money to jump-start recreational improvements. They will attract more tourists, and make Carbondale an even better place to live for locals.

Vote “yes” on the two questions and help ensure Carbondale’s future as a fine place to live.

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