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Positive impact

Dear Editor:

I believe that the proposed Town Recreation Center will have a positive impact on our community, not only as a recreational and healthy amenity, but from the standpoint of jobs and spending.

The CDC commissioned an economic impact study by Region 9, an impartial third party with the analytical tools to complete the study. Region 9 paid for the study from technical assistance funds because of the project’s size and importance to the region — especially in Archuleta County — and because of the jobs and associated economic activity the project would generate.

Economic impact studies track the movement of money through a local economy and measure the cumulative effects of that spending.

Summary of Findings — The construction phase of the proposed Pagosa Springs Recreation Center project would support an estimated 214 jobs and $4 million to the local economy based on a projected budget of $18 million (not the $45 million opponents claim).

Economic impacts from operations, including both payroll and expenditures, are estimated to support about 22 jobs, and generate $820,240 in labor income annually, based on information provided in the budget and feasibility studies.

The Region 9 analysis excluded potential revenue from users and any economic impacts stemming from the financing arrangements.

The Rec Center would be an attraction for tourists — those here for business, pleasure, recreation or to visit friends and family who spend money and pay sales taxes in our community. Tourists will use the recreation center — especially those with families and especially when the weather is inclement.

Retirees are one of the biggest economic drivers in our mountain community. Retirees receive transfer payments from outside our community (like pensions, Social Security and IRA withdrawals) that they spend in our community. Retirees buy land, build houses, consume healthcare services and pay local sales and property taxes. Retirees also contribute via their volunteer activities. Retiree decisions on where to locate with their substantial retirement incomes is governed by recreation opportunities, climate and healthcare services.

A recreation center would help attract new businesses to our community that need young professionals which are looking for lifestyle attractions. New businesses create jobs and pay sales and property taxes.

A recreation center would also help local businesses attract workers, as another lifestyle amenity for our community. Local businesses are dependent on being able to attract and retain an educated, capable workforce, such as Pagosa Springs Medical Center. Workers are looking for lifestyle amenities like a Rec Center.

Let’s all pause, take a deep breath and consider the pros and cons logically without all the emotion, wild speculation, predictions of economic peril and hyperbole.

If I were a Town resident, I would definitely vote “yes” on April 8th.

Muriel Eason

This story was posted on March 6, 2014.
  • Head-out-of-the-sand

    People will not visit Pagosa because we have a rec center. I never went to a town and asked where the rec center was. Who cares, they come here for the OUTDOOR activities. Who wants to be in a smelly gym locker room?

    • Penny Onnadalla

      Read it again, genius. It says tourists who are already here will use it, not come here because of it. Penny on the dollar, folks. Think about it.

      • ajpagosa

        Man these Wreck Center types getting nasty lately!

        Penny on the dollar….1/2 the Town’s general fund must be put up as collateral in addition to the new tax. Why would we have to do that if the bank thought it was a great idea? 3.2M/year put up for debt maintenance? Pretty big bet. If they’re wrong streets don’t get fixed.

        Think about it.

        • Chris Gerlach

          NO the comment does NOT say tourists who are already here, it tries to claim that tourists could COME here BECAUSE of the proposed very expensive rec center. Having been directly involved in marketing and selling our largest accommodation property to visitors for years and as the former president of the Lodging Association I KNOW people for the vast majority do NOT come here to go to a small area gymnasium. And it is NOT wild speculation to be aware as I and others who HAVE lived in the Town for years and studied the trends that Pagosa goes thru steep ups and downs..just like the national economy. WE cannot KNOW what the future will be and wise leaders plan for both good AND bad. As AJPagosa clearly states your assumptions about JOB impact are wild beyond reason in the letter posted. The impact of construction is minor compared to the entire cost, run and overall impact of the bond as proposed based on incorrect figures, loaded up with a ruinous premium that no normal and reliable and reasonable municipal bond issue would have, and the potential for crippling the town’s ability to fund future projects is just beyond thinking about.

          It is hard to have keep saying the same things over and over in reply to the same tired arguments that keep trying to make this disaster of a proposal sound good. It just isn’t and no manner of propaganda will bring it up to the level of reasonable, safe or worthy. None of this addresses the annual cost of running such a center, the liability, the risks and the fact that it is just not something we can afford at this time.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            You can vote no. You’re only one vote. Again, this will not go away. Read it again, it does not imply folks will come here just to use the rec center. None of us believe that. You don’t know squat about the proposal, don’t know squat about the finance, period. Penny on the dollar gets it, period.

          • ajpagosa

            Wow again with the nasty. And no, 90% of people living here and taxed will not get to vote.

          • Billy Skipper

            Talk to the county, we’ve tried.

          • Penny Onnad

            They are not my assumptions, they are Region 9’s. We’ve done o and m, were conservative, unless you ask aj.

          • other Brothe

            “The Rec Center would be an attraction for tourists — those here for business, pleasure, recreation or to visit friends and family who spend money and pay sales taxes in our community. Tourists will use the recreation center — especially those with families and especially when the weather is inclement.” I think it is pretty clear she is talking about tourists who would already be here.

        • Penny Onnadalla

          You guys seem nervous that this may pass? Why?

          • ajpagosa

            Nah just nerds passionate about talking numbers. This is awesome.

            I really hope it doesn’t pass but numbers talking is fun. Especially if it helps reveal the truth.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            You don’t believe the numbers anyway, so why does it matter? Penny on the dollar gets it. That simple.

      • jacblack07

        Ya think about it! 4.5 billion pennies!

        • Penny Onnadalla

          Penny on the dollar, nothing more.

          • ajpagosa

            If you keep on saying that often enough maybe your dog will believe you but no one else will.

        • ajpagosa

          Oh this is good! I missed it earlier.

          4.5 billion pennies! Nothing more!

  • ajpagosa

    How many jobs will the area lose that it could have kept because $1.5M or more per year is LEAVING the town for interest payments? I don’t see those anywhere in your calculations. The initial construction jobs are temporary, gone in a few months. All that $18m poof!

    How many new jobs could we create if ALL that money 30-45M stayed here and was invested in something that multiplied (aka “turned a profit”). Well a standard figure is 25 jobs per year per $million. So 37.5 job-years would be lost every year for debt maintenance alone, gone never to return. $18M will vanish in a few months, spread over the term of the loan that’s another 22 or 23 twenty-year jobs gone right there.

    You cannot borrow your way to real prosperity and you cannot create economic growth with something that runs at a significant loss indefinitely. Only a fool goes into debt for something guaranteed to lose money.

    It’s like that old joke, guy is selling widgets at ridiculously low price, customer says “how can you afford to do this, you have to be selling these at a loss”.

    Guy says “going to make it up on volume!”

    • Penny Onnadalla

      Out of your mind.

      • ajpagosa

        Thank you for your opinion perhaps you might employ your own mind to refute my points? If anyone thinks a rec center will create jobs here, let alone 214, they are out of theirs.

        No one seems to understand that borrowing money does not create real wealth. Borrowing money to build something that runs at a loss does not create jobs.

        • Penny Onnadalla

          Problem is, you guys always deal in absolutes. Absolutely this, absolutely that. $18 million is the max the town can borrow. Rec Center estimate is $12-$18 million. Nobody knows how much it will be exactly, but the range is there. You have to get schematics, then bid. You can’t do any of that without passing the vote.

          • ajpagosa

            Oh so now it’s only 12M? Why is this suddenly out there now? Related to new 78% perhaps? Short on revenue?

            This is why when doing costs with people who are so “creative” with numbers, you try to nail down absolutes. If you don’t then 18M turns into 24M real fast.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            No, the cost estimate has always been $12-$13 mil for actual building, $18 for the rest. 78 percent collections will still get you $18 mil at zero sales tax collections over 25 years. The number is fine.

  • Dave

    Your opinion is as worthless as you nonprofit. Get a real job. Oh I forgot. Pagosa doesn’t have any real jobs.

  • littledrummerboy

    why not just send every man, woman and child in archuleta county a check for $2000 and let them decide how to spend it for recreation? besides, we already LIVE in a recreation center, don’t we?