Why do we have to vote on this now? Now is not a good time economically.
There is no doubt that things are not good economically. There is never a good time for tax increase even a modest tax such as proposed for 4C and 4D. But consider the alternative.
Pine bark beetle infestation is not sensitive to economic times. The mill levy includes money to spray for the beetles and to replant if necessary. This needs to occur every year, not just in the good economic years. The financial impact of a pine bark beetle infestation with tree removal and replanting will be greater than will the preventative measures. Its impact on tourism could also be significant.
Recreation district facilities are deteriorating. Taxpayers have invested in these facilities. If we do not provide proper maintenance, we will have to replace them. Replacement is clearly a more expensive option.
The Aquatic Center represents a very large public investment. Failure to replace aging infrastructure as the Recreation District is asking for in 4D, particularly the worn out and inefficient heating and ventilation system could result in closure of the Aquatic Center. There are no funds for these expensive improvements in the Recreation District budget whether they are implemented this year or next year or three years hence. Postponement means each year the system gets more wear and tear. When these systems fail, the Recreation District would then have to ask voters for funding for this specific item. In the meantime the Aquatic Center could not operate without a heating and ventilation system.
The longer we postpone any improvements or any new construction such as the proposed community center, the more expensive it will be. Construction costs increase an average of six percent a year. As an example, the cost for the same projects next year will cost an additional $900,000. If the Recreation District waited until the next general election four years hence, costs would be up twenty four percent and facilities would be in need of even greater repair. The cost to taxpayers for the same capital projects would be almost $4 million greater.
Each property owner must determine the impact of 4C and 4D on their property tax within the context of current economic times. For homeowners of a $300,000 home this amount is about $97 per year for both 4C and 4D combined. From a community perspective postponement is not a wise financial decision.
Could you explain the difference between 4C and 4D?
4C provides additional operational funds for the Recreation District. These funds will be used for spraying for the pine beetle and replanting if necessary. It also provides for trail expansion and maintenance of existing trails, repairs at Stanley Park, continued operation of the Aquatic Center, and puts the District’s $1.5M equipment fleet on a 20 year replacement plan. 4C also provides funds to operate the proposed community center, the difference between projected revenues and operating expenses. A home with a value of $300,000 will pay $2.39 in taxes per month or an annual rate of $28.66 per year.
4D is a 20 year bond which pays to build a new community center at the site of the old elementary school. This center will provide Estes Valley residents and visitors with year-round indoor recreational opportunities. It will have a family friendly pool, an indoor walking track, rooms for arts and crafts, dance and exercise, music rehearsals and continuing education. It will also have a full-sized gym and space for childcare. The bond will also replace worn out infrastructure in the existing Aquatic Center, replace the thirty year old irrigation system at the nine hole golf course, upgrade restrooms around Lake Estes to be ADA compliant and make ADA and EPA compliant improvements at the gun range. A home with a value of $300,000 will pay $5.77 per month or an annual rate of $69.25.
The bond proceeds and investment earnings will provide the funds for these improvements and will sunset when the bonds are paid off after twenty years.
The combined impact of both the mill levy and the bond question for a home with a value of $300,000 the tax impact will be $8.16 per month or an annual amount of $97.91.