Letters to the Editor: Rifle recreation center sales tax
Rec center builds a stronger Rifle
I am writing to show support for the Rifle Recreation and Community Center, in response to Jake Mall’s recent letter.
Mr. and Mrs. Mall, I agree that our area abounds with amazing outdoor recreation opportunities. I do not claim otherwise and it appears my statement was taken out of context.
What the Malls’ letter fails to mention is that Rifle does not have a year-round, indoor recreation facility, a place where we can swim, hang out with friends or pick up a basketball on a cold, February day.
A place where Rifle residents of any age can go to get out of the house and into our community. (I doubt that all Rifle citizens have the recreation opportunities they need. Not everyone is able to participate in activities like dirt-biking or hunting.)
The city has demonstrated excellent financial management through implementation of the penny tax: updates to Deerfield Park, construction of Centennial Park, amenities like a new TV, shuffleboard and generator at the senior center and a senior bus.
Now let’s focus on indoor recreation opportunities — an Olympic-size lap pool, basketball/volleyball courts, a leisure pool, a dance facility for private entities like ArtillumA Dance Co., a gymnasium, providing space for companies like Synergy, a climbing wall, racquetball courts, an indoor walking track, community rooms…for our entire community!
Yes, we already have a pool, but the current facility operates for only two and a half months at a whopping $184,000 yearly deficit. It’s not large enough for a swim meet and is always too full to accommodate the number of people wanting to swim in the summer.
It’s time Rifle residents stopped driving to Glenwood Springs, Parachute, Fruita, Craig, Meeker and Gypsum to enjoy indoor recreation facilities. Let’s keep our families, our money, and our community pride here in Rifle.
Just more instant gratification
As a multi-generational native of the Western Slope, it saddens me to see what is happening to my adopted hometown. One of the things that appealed to me when we moved here from Grand Junction was a lack of a feeling of entitlement that is so prevalent in our country today. And yet, now we have a group of people who are insisting that a new recreation center is “mandatory,” (their word, not mine) and that we must have yet another a tax increase to pay for it.
These people make claims, complete with alligator tears, to have the interest of the community at heart. I suppose their concern is genuine, and yet they’ve chosen the most divisive way possible to achieve their goal. I think the most disheartening part of this is that the people who are promoting another tax increase would find that if they were to promote voluntary fundraisers, most of the people of the “no new taxes” side of the fence would be working right along side them.
One needs look no further than Relay For Life as an example of a group of people working towards a common goal. It’s possible to build a stronger community united for a cause rather than one divided by mandates.
This is supposed to be “for the children,” but tell me, what is it we’re teaching our kids? Hard work and imagination can take you anywhere you want to go, or have a bigger temper tantrum than you’ve ever had, and you’ll be handed your entitlement? Have we become a country so spoiled by instant gratification that even in a small community such as Rifle we are unable to work together towards long term stability?
Look at the big picture
I have read the letters to the editor lately regarding the funding of the Rifle recreation center. To be honest, I found some of them quite offensive. For instance: “The problem I see is that we have too many foreigners in here that want to change Rifle to be like the place they came from.” Wow. I am not from Rifle, but I can definitely see room for improvement.
As a mother, business owner and citizen of Rifle, I support a recreation center, including the necessary tax hike to make the center possible. Paying 74 cents on every $100 I spend does not seem like a lot to me, when looking at the big picture.
I have heard the comment that no responsible adult would vote for the tax increase. I am a responsible adult, but I am also willing to take responsibility for building a better future for my children and the community as a whole by paying a few extra cents on my latte, or a few extra dollars on my groceries.
I have heard people say that we do not need an indoor pool because we have a nice outdoor one. While that is true, the pool at the recreation center would be larger and open year-round, not just May through September.
I have also heard the argument that Rifle already has a gym. Yes, it does. But there are more people wanting to use the gym than there is space available. The workout space at the recreation center would be larger.
But this is about more than just an indoor pool or a gym. It is about a place where families and the community as a whole can spend time together and build a stronger community. Keep that in mind when September rolls around.
Another reason to vote no new taxes
Had an interesting conversation with an old friend who moved from Rifle several years ago when the economy went down. She has been keeping up with the news from Rifle as she was born and raised here. She said that the 0.74 percent sales tax that the pro taxers say will only cost a couple cents on a cup of coffee is not telling the whole story.
They don’t stop and think about people on fixed incomes that have high medical costs, higher prescription costs, higher water and sewer bills, plus all the other taxes they pay. The extra sales tax may be the few cents they would like to spend to buy a cup of coffee downtown and share time with their friends.
Wow, kind of adds a new perspective to the “no new taxes.” Maybe the pro taxers should stop and buy these people a cup of coffee when they see them, since they want to tax that cup of coffee away from them. Then they could get a real warm and fuzzy feeling without spending $21 million to get that feeling.
The only thing you can say about this is vote no new taxes in September. Let’s not make Rifle the highest sales tax town in Garfield County and get saddled with a 30-year debt.
Jake and Becky Mall
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.