Guest column: Rifle rec center financing wrong approach
The Rifle Recreation and Community Center proposal would cost “less than a penny” to Rifle citizens? We think not. With an 8.89 percent total sales tax, Rifle citizens would pay:
• $1,778 on a $20,000 vehicle;
• $177.80 on a $2,000 major appliance;
• $88.90 on a $1,000 piece of art;
• $44.45 on $500 worth of sporting goods; and
• 55 cents on a $6.19 fast food lunch.
And regardless of where in the state you buy a new vehicle, you are subject to Rifle taxes when you register it.
To quote a few concerned citizens:
“This expenditure is a reckless and dangerous venture. I certainly wish you could see the danger in the budget. But if you have no budgetary background, all I ask is that you consider how you spend your own money. While it’s really nice to go on vacation every single year, or buy or lease a new car every few years, most people don’t. Because they know they can’t afford it.” — Renee Butler, who recently chose to move back to our valley.
“If we based our budget on the math they use, we would have to live in a cardboard box under a bridge!” — Jake Mall, lifetime Rifle resident.
“Here is an idea to shake some sense into the citizens of Rifle: A debt clock on main street showing the roughly $40,000 per citizen for the national debt, $10,320 state debt and the more than $4,000 that will be owed by the residents of Rifle after this latest tax is imposed.” — Kelly Couey, lifetime valley resident.
Fruita’s recreation center, built in 2011, cost $12.5 million and is 55,000 square feet, including a library. In addition, senior citizens within the community recycled cans and bottles for nearly 10 years, raising almost $100,000. [Source: Recreation Management, recmanagement.com/201205aw3j.php]
Gypsum’s recreation center, opened in 2006 (doesn’t this mean it was built during the height of the boom and would cost more?) cost $12.2 million and is 57,000 square feet. Further, “With additional money contributed by the Eagle County government and a state grant, Gypsum was left responsible for a little more than $8 million of the facility’s cost.” This center also includes a library.
[Source: Recreation Management, recmanagement.com/200704fp01.php]
Glenwood Springs’ recreation center, built in 2001, has 65,000 square feet. Less than 15 percent of Glenwood Springs residents have annual membership passes. [Source: City of Glenwood Springs Demographics Report 05/16/13]. According to Parks and Recreation Director Tom Barnes, they are “definitely subsidized.” A staff member told us they “definitely have reduced their hours,” by over 25 percent, according to our calculations.
According to their respective recreation directors, the Meeker and Rangely recreation centers are “heavily subsidized” and “not self-sustaining.”
The Committee for the Rifle Recreation and Community Center projects the Rifle center to cost $21 million and will be 51,000 square feet.
Make sense? It doesn’t to us, either.
The committee did not give citizens a chance to give our input on how a center could be funded. We didn’t have a chance to help raise funds. Of the 6,100 Rifle Parks & Recreation needs surveys mailed in mid-November 2009, 368 were returned (just 6 percent). [Source: 2009 Rifle Parks & Recreation Needs Survey, rifleco.org/documents/9/80/survey%20presentation.pdf].
This is not a true representation of the majority of Rifle. How many of those 368 households still live here? How much has the economy changed since then?
We aren’t opposed to recreation centers. In fact, most people we’ve talked to, from citizens to business owners, think having a recreation center in Rifle is a good idea. What they KNOW isn’t a good idea is how it’s to be financed, both for construction and annual ongoing operations.
Vote NO this September.
This guest column was authored and submitted by members of Rifle No More TAXES. The group can be found on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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