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Finish things

Dear Editor:

First off, let me say that “I’d like a Rec Center someday, but not now.

What happened to keeping our priorities? Before a Rec Center let’s finish the things we’ve already started:

A completed sidewalk system.

Finish improvements to the San Juan River and Riverwalk system.

Complete the Town-to Lakes Trail.

Upgrades to our River, Parks and Reservoir Hill.

Rec Center boosters relied on 7 year old pre-recession survey. Is that a good idea? They claim that a Rec Center is the number 2 item requested by town residents in that 2007 poll. That’s false. Town residents rated Open space, Trails, Parks and Recreation ahead of a Rec Center, actually 5th down the list.

I’ve been in business in Pagosa for 27 years and one of the ways I’ve had to survive is to be fiscally conservative, not because I wanted to, but had to.

I believe that same fiscal conservatism also applies to Town of Pagosa Springs as well. 96 percent of the Town’s budget is derived from sales tax earned by local businesses.

The proposed Rec Center is financially risky because: We don’t know exactly how much we’re borrowing and we don’t know how much income we will earn from the 1 percent sales tax increase.

The total debt is open-ended … how much are we borrowing? … Is it $25 million, $31 million, or a scary $45 million? That’s more than 3 times the current annual $8 million budget of the Town.

The 1 percent sales tax is just a projection … sorry to say, but projections are just numbers on a wishful-thinking spreadsheet. A real business-like approach would be to create the income stream first, then figure out how much you have to spend.

If the Town borrows this much money now, they will have effectively reached their borrowing limit and will have maxed out their “credit card.” You can relate to that, right? … and is it right that 500-600 town voters can put the town that much in debt? $30 million divided by 600 voters equals $50,000 debt per voter …? … with almost all of that money headed to Wall Street bankers.

Please vote no on the proposed Rec Center.

Jeff Greer

This story was posted on March 20, 2014.