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This April, through the municipal election process, we will be asked to make a very important decision about our community’s future. Should we increase the town’s sales tax by 1 percent to fund the development and operation of an indoor recreation center? The question is not whether a recreation center would be beneficial for many residents and tourists, but whether this is the best use of tax revenue and worthy of the tax increase. Proponents respond, “Absolutely!” Opponents disagree, citing numerous community projects that deserve more attention and may well suffer if time, energy and money are dedicated to the most expensive project the town has ever pursued. It’s a complicated issue.
As voters, and the ones who will ultimately make this decision, you need to know that your elected officials in the Town Council are divided on the issue. Council Member Lattin has championed the idea and spent countless volunteer hours doing research then drawing the conclusion that this is an excellent idea that can and will help, not hurt, the community we all love. Mayor Aragon and Council Member Cotton strongly disagree and believe it is fiscally irresponsible to commit to this project at this time. The rest of us on the Council have yet to make public statements in support or opposition. I’ve said that I will not actively campaign for or against the issue because, as I listen to the ongoing debate, I agree with specific issues and concerns raised in both camps. But with all the information at my disposal, I still wrestle with the question.
So, what decision will I make as I cast my vote in April? Right now I’m not absolutely sure but, being on the fiscally conservative side of the equation; I have some significant concerns about the wisdom of committing so much of our resources to this one project. My good friend Karl Isberg expressed it well in his editorial last November 14th titled “A worthy idea, serious questions” and quite frankly, I still have some “serious questions.”
Please find out as much as possible about this issue before the April election. Make an informed decision and vote your conscience concerning what is best for Pagosa. As your representative I will accept and support the majority’s decision regardless of how I vote individually. I just pray we make the best decision.
Donald D. Volger