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Letter To The Editor: Vote No On Recreation Bond

on April 21, 2017 - 4:49am
By TOM HARRIS
Los Alamos
 
Once again it appears that a number of our fellow Los Alamos citizens feel compelled to spend our tax dollars to benefit a limited number of county residents.
 
In this particular case, the Recreation Bond Proposal is being championed by several special interest groups. These include supporters of the already-once-defeated recreational (now called multi-generational) pool, local hockey enthusiasts, softball players, and golfers.
 
Although I certainly don't disagree with the concept of our collective taxpayer dollars funding the county's recreational infrastructure, wouldn't it be prudent to assure existing facilities are adequately funded before we further mortgage ourselves?
 
It seems that too many of us in Los Alamos fall victim to the mistaken premise that our taxes won't go up when bonds are issued. Hmmm ... how do people think bonds are paid upon maturation (not to mention interest payments)?
 
Further, the proposed facilities will come with long-term operating and maintenance costs. If I understand correctly, the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center has been challenged, and continues to struggle, to produce a revenue stream that will fund day-to-day operations. Has there been any discussion on how the proposed facilities, if approved and constructed, will be funded for the long term?
 
Finally, recent news stories in the LA Daily Post (and other media) have addressed potential reduction in the gross receipts tax proceeds after the forthcoming change in the LANL management contract. The County Manager and Council are appropriately planning for this potential reduction in gross receipts tax revenue by reducing planned expenditures and carefully managing staffing. Perhaps we--the community--should exercise similar fiscal restraint.
 
There was a story in the April 19 edition of the New York Times addressing how the significant downturn in New Mexico's oil and and gas revenue might be on the cusp of turning around. Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb stated "...revenues from gross receipts taxes dropped by about 40 percent during the [oil and gas] downturn but his city had squirreled away funds during the previous peak."
 
Certainly, Los Alamos is very different than Hobbs, but we, too, are essentially a single-industry town. And we are faced with uncertainty in terms of revenue stream on several fronts, to include likely decreases in federal funding, decreases in state funding, and/or decreases in gross receipts taxes from LANL.
 
Perhaps we should follow the lead of Hobbs and squirrel away some funding rather than continuing our spendthrift ways. Vote NO on the Recreation Bond.

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