I have been heavily debating my vote on the 2017 Recreation Bond for some time, but I have decided that I will vote “No”. After reading several opinion letters in the Post, it is clear to me that the funds generated by this Bond could be used elsewhere. My rationale:
- There are plenty of options for recreation that already exist in town, catering to many demographics of the residents that live here. Investing in recreational facilities, while continuing to turn a blind eye to potentially economic stimulating efforts is simply ‘head in the sand’ politics. Why not put that money towards re-zoning efforts for the Hilltop Hotel site? One letter this morning reminded me of the old Smith’s store–which I realize is private property–but couldn’t a reduction in corporate taxes lure some more business to both White Rock and Los Alamos? Those businesses could rehabilitate some of these open, empty storefronts. The funds from the Bond could be used to offset reductions in corporate taxes to bring more business here, and boost the overall revenue to the County for future projects.
- I am a renter here in Los Alamos, and I realize that I am shifting the burden of costs to others in town. I don’t pay property taxes directly, and because I am under contract, I doubt my monthly rent will be affected by the increase in property taxes to pay for this Bond and its interest. I consider many colleagues and friends that do, in fact, own property in the County: while I plan on enjoying a few hockey games, they will dig deeper into their pockets for my benefit. Property owners, through property tax, will bear the brunt of funding these projects, which is not fair to the full County.
- There is not just the construction costs, but the long-term utility costs in maintaining these facilities. Power, water, gas, and maintenance are not free, and nobody has seemed to highlight the fact that we may be spending tens-to-hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in utilities and maintenance. The County will raise individuals’ rates on electricity, water, sewer, and gas to offset the cost to these facilities, and the Council will have to pull maintenance money from somewhere out of the budget. The long-term costs are being neglected, and it’s something nobody seems to be discussing. What does the County project as operating costs, and how will that increase property owners’ tax rates above the $100 (or so) per year?
- I fully agree with Mr. Antos’ letter (link). This could have been a “split-the-pot” issue, with voters having an option to fund certain projects against others. I would have voted for a Splash Pad for White Rock, while turning down others. This ‘All or None’ Bond issue seems poorly set up for a ballot, but I hope the County would re-approach it for more flexible options.
- Lastly, and a little tongue-in-cheek, why is there so much advertising going into this campaign? Who is funding all of the road signs and newspaper articles? I get the feeling I am being swarmed by used car salesmen trying to sucker me into some sort of deal. I’m already wary of the Bond issue based on my logic above, but how much money has been poured into a 50/50 effort, and by whom?
To close, while the Rec Bond is a “nice to have”, I think there are other “needs” to fix, and I’m not willing to vote to spend others’ money on niceties. Let’s invest in a better foundation for the County, and opt to use potential funding for a long-term solution.