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Rec center discussion continues

Staff Writer

While the task force for the proposed Pagosa Springs community recreation center had no new information to report at Tuesday night’s town council meeting, several members of the public asked for a chance to speak on the topic.

“Mayor and town council,” Kathie Lattin began after leaving her seat up on the council bench and taking a spot down at the presentation table, “at this time I know that you’ve gotten the sales tax percentage from the state that was given to us yesterday afternoon. We were hoping to have other numbers available, but at this time we don’t, so we are going to ask you to come March twentieth to the community center. We’re having a public hearing to discuss any questions and answers at that time.”

Lattin clarified the meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m.

Town manager David Mitchem then mentioned that several members of the audience had signed up for public comment on this issue, starting with Bill Hudson, who thanked Councilor David Schanzenbaker for answering a list of questions he had previously e-mailed.

The next member of the public to speak was Albert Jenab, who referred to a recent letter to the editor sent to The SUN by council member Don Volger.

When Jenab asked if Volger was still “on the fence” concerning the rec center, Volger replied, “As I stated publicly, I will not actively campaign for or against the recreation center, and I will not. One of the things I said in my letter is I didn’t know how I would vote personally. Obviously, my vote is a private matter, but not to be thought of as campaigning aggressively against it, my opinion is that I will vote ‘No’ on this, and there are a number of reasons for that, but I will just leave it at that instead of trying to explain why.”

Jenab thanked Volger for his honesty, and then asked if it would be appropriate to now discuss the new percentage number that had been released earlier that day. While he did mention 78 percent, he did not elaborate at that time on the meaning of the number.

“I would suggest it is premature to have that discussion,” Mitchem responded, “and if council so directs, we would have bond counsel take this new information and reassess their evaluation of the project in light of the new information.”

For Jenab’s final point he said, “I’ve got a numbers background, and I have more years than I care to count reviewing public proposals and submitting them myself to government agencies, and as a citizen trying to make sense of this, it has been extremely difficult to get answers or documentation of where these numbers came from and what they imply and who’s doing what with them.

“I just felt that it is kind of odd that there’s a citizen’s group advocating for this, with a very tight relationship with the bank that is supposed to be issuing the bonds. Maybe I’m misinformed, but it doesn’t appear as if there is somebody objectively sitting here and distributing all of this information.

“For example, if I’m on the committee advocating for the rec center, I get to talk to G. K. Baum and run a thousand scenarios, and cherry-pick the one that looks the best, but if I’m a citizen who’s skeptical, I don’t get anything. I can’t find any documentation of anything.

“So I’m just wondering at what point it makes sense for the contact between G. K. Baum and the people who are actually going to have to pay this bill if this passes, for there to be no firewall in between them. In other words, for the city to deal directly with Baum, to get all the questions asked and to get all the information out there to the people who need to vote on it.”

“I think everybody ought to have the same access,” council member Darrel Cotton agreed.

“And I don’t feel like that is going on now,” Jenab interjected. “I have been trying for weeks to find out how the number on the ballot came into existence … but I don’t have that kind of access and I don’t know if anybody does outside of the group that is advocating for this.”

“I think if anybody has questions,” Cotton said, “and I’m just guessing, but I would think Mr. Mitchem could get a response from George K. Baum.”

“Well, I called Don Diones’ office directly,” Jenab explained, “and I’ve been trying to get in contact with him for a couple of days.”

“It seems to me this council ought to have access to the guy who’s producing the numbers,” Cotton asserted. “I would rather see it go through you,” Cotton turned to Mitchem, “than any of us. I think it’s a reasonable request to know where the numbers come from.”

Jenab then went on to describe an older version of the projections, which was based on the assumption that 95 percent of sales tax collections in Archuleta County come from within the town’s boundaries, while only 5 percent come from the rest of the county. However, he said the most recent information, released earlier that day, indicated the true number should have been 78 percent, and he said he would like to see a new projection where the only thing that has changed is the 95 percent getting replaced by 78.

Jenab said he would like to know George K. Baum’s opinion of that scenario, “without anybody spinning it one way or the other, just the raw numbers.”

Cotton agreed that there is currently one group who has unlimited access to George K. Baum and one group that has almost no access, and because of the magnitude of the effect this issue will have on the community, both sides should have access to all of the relevant information.

“Just so you know,” Lattin responded, “because we got the number late, it is being figured out just like you want. Town council’s next meeting is on the twentieth, and we have already had our public meeting scheduled for the twentieth, but I’d be more than happy to sit down with anybody who has questions, once we have the numbers like you’re asking for.

“That’s my question, too. Where are we sitting? Preliminary numbers: we’re still fine, but I want something I can sit down with, believe, and know where the numbers are coming from.”

Glenn Walsh was the next member of the public to comment, and started off by complimenting Jim Miller and Tom Carosello, as well as the entire parks department, on the exceptional job they do taking care the town’s parks and trails system with the budget they currently have.

But then Walsh asked, “How can we, in good conscience, make a decision, maybe the biggest decision we are ever going to make, which could involve not only eighteen million dollars but potentially twenty-seven million dollars in interest, and we don’t even have the numbers to support it until two weeks before an election?”

Walsh went on to advocate for continuing with the sales tax increase, for both the town and the county, but then using the extra revenue to finish projects the town has either already started or is in dire need of starting, such as the Riverwalk or other sidewalks and trails.

The next citizen to step up to the microphone was Mark Weiler. However, even though he is a member of the rec center task force, he did not speak out in defense of the rec center proposal itself or offer more information on the finances. Instead, he took issue with an accusation he believed Jenab had made against him personally.

“I only want to talk about one topic,” Weiler clarified. “I believe that one of the folks that addressed this, questioned as to whether or not one of the members on the rec center task force, if that bank is somehow going to have some interest in this.”

At this point, Weiler’s voice rose several notches in volume as he firmly stated, “Let me be absolutely clear, one hundred percent, for the record: First Southwest Bank — I am a director of that bank and I am a shareholder — First Southwest Bank will have no financial interest in this bond offering at any level whatsoever. If anybody would like to talk to me about that, I am happy to listen to them. I also own shares in another bank, and that bank will not have anything to do with this bond issue.”

The final person to speak was Cappy White, who sits on the town’s planning commission and owns a business downtown.

“This rec center,” White argued, “is a good idea. I also think the one penny sales tax increase is a good idea, but I don’t think the timing on the rec center is right. I would like to offer an alternative. Let’s go ahead with the sales tax issue, forget the rec center, exclude groceries from that sales tax, take the money into downtown redevelopment where it will in turn make us money and increase sales tax revenue, and then down the line, as those revenues build, we can take time to look at this rec center again.”

White went on to testify how the investments he has made in his own business have paid off over time and promised that if the town as a whole made similar investments in the downtown area, it would also see similar returns.

“I agree with Glenn,” White concluded. “It’s way too big of an issue to ask the voters to decide in this short amount of time with the numbers fluctuating the way they are.”

As a side note, in a meeting with SUN staff earlier this week Cotton, Mitchem and Mayor Ross Aragon discussed whether or not some clarification needed to be made concerning last week’s rec center article, especially in terms of which numbers were being discussed by the people quoted in that article.

In the end, it was agreed by all parties involved that it would be difficult to make a clarification until after the new numbers were run by George K. Baum based on the 78 percent figure Lattin referred to above. Only then will the matter be made clear enough to be able to print a clarification.

Check future issues of The SUN for more information.

ed.fincher@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on March 6, 2014.
  • Penny Onnadalla

    Hey Cotton, Hudson and Janab, You all forget how to use the secret access weapon known as the phone? Please. The 78 percent is a healthy number for this proposal. Much ado bout nuttin. Penny on the dollar is all you need to consider folks, don’t mind the conspiracy theorists.

    • ajpagosa

      Posted by yet another angry anonymous rec center troll. Nice!

      BTW I did use the phone to call senior VP of GK Baum, the bank underwriting the bonds. Why don’t you call him yourself, see how he liked the 78% number? Hint: he hadn’t heard it yet and didn’t like it. Wonder why the rec center folks hadn’t picked up the PHONE and called him before me? Hmmm.

      Town Manager doesn’t like the 78% either, why not ask him yourself? You know with that phone thing?

      Why not ask Chief Volger why he opposes the rec center? Again with the phone. What could he have found out last few weeks that would cause this? Or maybe just ask him like I did at the meeting (see article above).

      Lot of concerned citizens who care about the town and county are looking deeply into this, not liking what we see.

      • Chris Gerlach

        Well said totally agree. Time for the FACTS to get out not just propaganda. thank you for that effort AJPagosa. Much appreciated.

        • Penny Onnadalla

          You won’t like the facts, Gerlach, because they prove it will work. Go away and run another hotel into the ground, somewhere.

          • ajpagosa

            Can’t answer for Chris but it is just amazing how, for a project that’s supposed to be good for everyone, supporters turn so nasty once legit questions are raised. Over and over same tone. Hope these kind of folks don’t end up running the town.

          • Pennhy Onnadalla

            Mr. G has called proponents and the idea insane, foolish, etc. So we deserve as much latitude. We call ourselves parents, though. You, on the other hand, believe that “this rec center is actually bad for the children unless your idea of good parenting is selling your children into debt slavery to investment bankers.” We’ve got that one memorized, thanks for the bulletin board material, by the way.

          • ajpagosa

            I stand by my statements mainly because they are true in addition to being elegant and well-written.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Modest, too. I know you are not stupid, so why don’t you settle down and pretend for a second there is no conspiracy on behalf of supporters. Why do you think there is nuttin on town web site? Who pulls the strings and has for decades?

          • ajpagosa

            There may or may not be a conspiracy, but there is a concerted effort to drag out the same tired old arguments and talking points for every massive new program and debt binge we’ve seen it over and over. Please tell me you understand that if the giant school complex had passed recently no one could afford this? Or have a hope of passing a sales tax increase on top of the big mill levy that would have been?

            What is up with all the gigantic projects? They don’t fix anything, they just push us deeper and deeper into a giant debt hole as a community.

            Let the Walmart and TS get going, let’s see where we’re at then with a net positive cash flow and (gasp!) a budget surplus if we are lucky. Would be pretty cool to be debt free and flush with cash, no?

          • Penny Onnadalla

            If the rec center passes, why buy a treadmill for 3x the cost of a family membership? You can’t build anything like this and be “debt free” right away, anyway. Not unless people contribute $12-$18 million, privately. Good luck there. If people don’t think it’s worth a penny on the dollar, fine. But what message does that send, not only to ourselves, but to other communities.

          • ajpagosa

            That we aren’t as dumb as they were? Is this a trick question?

          • Chris Gerlach

            I am quite bemused at this torrent of posting, since it seems the same few points are being pushed again and again and again. To summarize, with respect, which I would appreciate in return, without resorting to personal attacks, which I abhor, as it clouds the issues, I would LOVE a rec center that we could afford. Yes it would be nice. But no it is not the time, or the method. To harness our community with a huge potential debt with an uncertain economic future, when we need to cover already approved projects, that all makes this plan impossible to support at this time. I am very glad to see enthusiasm for the idea, it is a lovely one. People young and old can without extra cost access the greatest rec facility around, .and it is just outside everyone’s front door. We are surrounded by hundreds of thousands of some of the most beautiful “facilities” nature can provide, we have walking trains already along the river, up in the west end of town, all over the area, several very nice pools, some with pure hot springs water, and all at NO cost to the citizens other than the healthful exercise of getting out there to enjoy it.

            I suppose it is actually a good thing to see dialogue but i wish it has some variety and substance. For now, the matter is clear and more of the specifics will come out as we can see further thoughtful and careful analysis such as AJPagosa is already sharing. It will clearly show that the Rec Center as proposed is unworkable and unaffordable. Let’s wait for the right time and method.

          • ajpagosa

            Dude!

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Ugh! The numbers clearly show it will work. There are no more details to work out, unless you get past the vote. Nothing more can be done until you take the next step. If you don’t understand it, that’s O.K.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            That’s funny, we were thinking the same thing about the bumper sticker.

      • Dave

        Yes. Glad you are on the opponent side of things because you are a tenacious force of logic and reason. So the question I have for you now is are you against raising the sale tax for building sidewalks, trails, etc. Is it OK for the Town to push a tax on County residents that don’t want it for improving things Within the Town limits? Tell us about your vision for a better Pagosa for everyone. If you ran the PSCDC what would you direct it to pursue. How would you spend 2 million dollars a year to the benefit of the Town or County? Thanks for your efforts.

      • Penny Onnadalla

        Already got the numbers and their fine. Why don’t you have them? Who do you think really doesn’t want you to understand this, entirely. The mayor, for one. Quit pretending the sky is falling. Don likes the numbers just fine. Oh yeah, I’m an insider. Plenty of us to deal with. Volger can’t get off the fence on any issue, why should this be different. Penny on the dollar, that’s all.

        • ajpagosa

          Put em out there then. Curious how much of an insider you are. Please disclose the numbers and your real name.

          Wow you guys sure get nasty when somebody you can’t hoodwink is asking questions.

          BTW when are you going to drag out the “for the kids” thing again? Bout time.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Love to, can’t. What number do you want. What you guys don’t get is, anyone can run the “numbers” if you understand the basis. You don’t need a bond man. Problem is, you don’t get the flat sales tax assumptions and how they play, neither does the press, yet.

          • ajpagosa

            You are right, anyone can run the numbers and many of us don’t like what we see.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Gotta do the right math, not just your math.

          • ajpagosa

            I don’t like GKB’s math either.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            If you are going to argue with pros who are highly regulated, not going to win that battle.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Kids like rec centers, yes. But the fastest growing demo in terms of recreation is the baby-boomer plus generation. So seniors like them, too.

    • jacblack

      Worth 4.5 Billion Pennies of Debt? VOTE NO!

      • Penny Onnadalla

        Whatever, Jacque. You have Patty, bet she’d like it. If you spend $10,000 in town, which you don’t, your “contribution” would be $100. Tell daddy to let the town release some info, by the way.

        • ajpagosa

          Our “contribution” would be at least $1.5M a year. Mostly from people who can’t vote on this and also have their own paid-for rec center.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Nobody will show up at your door with a bill, you know that. Fill up the car, drive to Durango, eat a meal, stop in a few shops and you spent $100 easily, not a big deal.

          • ajpagosa

            This is best answer you’ve got? 1.5M is 1.5M we won’t have anymore inside the county. Sure it will create jobs, for people polishing banker Mercedes Benzes.

            Nobody will show up with a bill for Obamacare either, how’s that working out for you guys?

          • Penny Onnadalla

            1.5 million you don’t have, now. Get it? There is no magic penny hovering and the rec center folks grabbed it. Unless there is a YES vote, the penny doesn’t come into play. By your logic, the town should be banking 1.5 million every year.

          • ajpagosa

            “1.5 million you don’t have, now. Get it? There is no magic penny hovering and the rec center folks grabbed it. Unless there is a YES vote, the penny doesn’t come into play. By your logic, the town should be banking 1.5 million every year. ”

            Wow I am speechless! Is this really how you understand taxes? Explains a lot.

            It is $1.5M we won’t have each and every year if this passes. But we have to have it first then you take it and send it away to bankers. And that is the “good” scenario. If it doesn’t pass we would still have it. New taxes take money away from people who earned it, see?

            Why not just take all our money, according to your logic it doesn’t even exist.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            What gets me is some folks actually believe the roads will be paved, sidewalks built, town to lakes done, etc. if we don’t build a rec center. Nonsense, but those projects can keep going while this one does. One does not take away from the other, in this case.

          • ajpagosa

            I don’t disagree that there is a lot of local infrastructure needs fixing or improving. However it is a fact that if we blow 30-45M on a rec center it will be a lot harder if not impossible to do many basic things already need doing.

            If you already can’t afford to fix your house, how is buying a new car going to make that better? It isn’t.

            Why not wait until Walmart and TS get going, get some nice revenue, get a handle on where we are. Fix the stuff already needs fixing we don;t have money for now, then look at a more affordable rec center?

            Please just answer that one simple thing.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Ask Durango, Gunnison, Cortez, Fruita, heck pick one in the state, if the rec center has strained their resources. Or, just drive to Durango and look around. Quite the opposite.

          • ajpagosa

            Here we go again. Durango has 10 times the economy, 10 times the general fund. Other cities are either much larger than us or do not have anything like an existing Pagosa Lakes rec center, where most of you user fee estimates would have to steal members from. This has been refuted countless time.

            But new and relevant to this discussion, what was the financial condition of the towns you mention prior to building their rec center? Were any in a deep recession and didn’t have enough fix basic infrastructure.

            Short answer: No.
            Long answer: Noooooooo

            Another city you may want to look at closely is Montrose. They built a rec center not too long ago. Did not maintain it very well, it is falling apart. Now they need a new one. New bond issue up for the coming April 1 ballot. Will be nice to examine how all that works out for them. Imagine needing a new 25M facilty. Buildings wear out just like cars if you don’t maintain them. And maintenance cost is very light in our proposal.

            Think about it.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Argued, yes. Refuted, no. Over 50 percent of the private property in Archuleta County is owned by non-residents. What does that mean? It means we have a HUGE seasonal influx, plus tourism. Plenty of folks coming and going, and more than enough already live here to support the rec center. You can doubt all of the research, but don’t pretend you know any better. You don’t. Fruite passed their ballot for rec center in 2008, in the midst of the recession, and it is doing great. How is $1 million in maintenance “light” on cost? I suppose you have put together your own study. Is it available to the public. Methinks not.

          • ajpagosa

            Oh good grief, here we go again. I’ll be happy to produce a study if you pay me what you paid Ballard King.

            The building and facilities maintenance cost are light, the personnel costs are light, the user fee estimates are absurdly light. There is zero margin for error, yet now you’re approx 200k short WRT just the 78% lighter revenue, hope you’re not that far off on the O&M and users fees, otherwise gonna be pretty hard on the Town.

          • dave

            I miss Brian.

          • ajpagosa

            You sure you’re not related?

          • Dave

            Hmmm?

          • ajpagosa

            Oh sorry thought it was Penny!

          • Dave

            No. I’m more of a South Park guy.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            We’re all related. Brian is busy going door to door to get good info out there.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            By your logic, nobody but Durango, or any community smaller, at least, could afford a rec center. They are everywhere, expected as an amenity, not a luxury like some folks are labeling this one. You deserve it, folks. Penny on the dollar, nothing more.

          • ajpagosa

            Oh, so the “we deserve it” and “everyone does it” argument again now. Still waiting on “for the kids”.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            If the user fees are “light” we are in great shape. Takin’ my kids to lunch. But will be back for more.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Why not do it now, knowing more business is coming. Operations and such wouldn’t kick in for almost two years, anyway. So the reserve would be building against not much expense during this time. Penny on the dollar, that’s it.

          • ajpagosa

            Because counting your chickens before they hatch worked out so well for tens of millions of homeowners recently? Especially here?

          • Penny Onnadalla

            You want to just sit on the eggs, never assume anything will hatch. I live differently.

          • ajpagosa

            You couldn’t be more wrong. I want real sensible, growth, with affordable amenities, see if it can be done first with same or even lower tax burden. You want to borrow for expensive amenities, and have vague plans to grow our way out of the crushing debt. I know you have to work hard and save first, and I don;t want to leave a huge debt load for somebody else to pay off. Like so much of the boomer society has done nationally. Bill is coming due soon and it will not be pretty.

            Maybe you didn’t see it up close like I did, but so many people got wiped out thinking like you are now with their personal finances. And are still having a hard time.

            You cannot borrow and spend your way to prosperity, no matter what they tell us in DC. Feels great for a while, but then….

        • jacblack07

          patty is 11 and understands this is a poorly planned and irresponsible idea. A rec center that would fit our community better is the right idea. One that would not bankrupt us. I don’t know who you are and I sure hope you don’t know how much I spend in town. creepy.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Then Patty should get better info. Not hard to figure you out with that screen name. It’s been 8 years workin on this, don’t drink the Kool Aid just cause daddy tells you to. Show me a better plan.

          • jblack

            wow. .keep on hiding who you are. weirdo..

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Not hiding, really. Mother of three, live downtown.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            O.K. “Guest” hahahaha.

          • jblack

            There are good ways to finance a community rec center. We can build it in cooperation with our County and State governments. We can build it as a public-private partnership, grants etc. We can build it to fit our community — without this massive revenue debt.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            The revenue bond actually produces revenue, honey. And, United Way and other entities like that would contribute funding for low-income families for this one, BUT YOU HAVE TO BUILD IT FIRST. The vote is the first step, not the last. You don’t know exactly how much it will cost until you get a yes vote. Otherwise, it remains a fantasy, as some are calling it.

          • ajpagosa

            OK here we have the Kevin Costner “Build it and they will come” argument for the Field of Dreams Rec Center. LOL.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            How many towns do you drive through where the only thing left standing is a boarded-up rec center. NONE. It’s common sense, folks. You either want one for a penny on the dollar, or you don’t. That simple.

          • ajpagosa

            Huh??? What?

            One place you might want to look at is Gilpin County. Their rec center was 100% free, or rather zero debt, all from gambling revenue. Can’t afford to keep their doors open, have to cut back on hours & services. And staff.

            You really need a much more diverse and larger economy than we have here to pull this off with any kind of reasonable safety margin.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Grapes and watermelon comparison. Already studied that one. 5,000 people in Gilpin County, spread all over the place. Rec Center at 42,000 square feet is funded from gambling proceeds, not a sales tax. If it was sales tax, there wouldn’t be an issue.

          • ajpagosa

            They got it for FREE, no debt. Still can’t pay for it. And how many people outside of Pagosa Lakes and Wyndham do you think there are? One thing they are is spread out all over the place.

            If this is a grapes and watermelon comparison, your examples are snickers bars and bean sprouts.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Gilpin County is near Boulder, but in the boonies, nonetheless. There are at least 3 public rec centers in Boulder. So in this case, a 42,000 square foot center in Gilpin County is an overshot, for sure. Show me your study, and I’ll show you mine. Expert in the industry? No, you do “math.”

          • ajpagosa

            Boonies? Nah. Lot less so than here. They have two big gambling casinos there. Talk to the current director of PLPOA rec center. She oversaw construction and operation of Gilpin. Boulder is nowhere near Gilpin in terms of reasonable drive, way down 93 and then all the way up either Clear Creek or Golden Gate canyon. Spent a lot of time in that area myself, quite a hike from Boulder and nobody from Boulder would ever go to Gilpin rec center.

            Also same arguments used there that tourists/gambkers and user fees would cover a lot of costs, guess what they didn’t.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            We’ve talked to her. She also got fired up there, as director, she told us. I know who she is. Bitter, perhaps? You prove my point, no one from Boulder would ever go to Gilpin Rec Center.

          • ajpagosa

            Maybe talk to her some more, you clearly didn’t understand the first time.

  • Dave

    The proposed New Recreation Center is bad deal for many reasons beyond the ones that have been revealed or discussed.

    Reason 1: The Land or site is unsuitable: It’s a flood plain that should be mitigated back to wetlands.

    Reason 2: What to do with the sewer pond land should be the discussion-Not building a Rec Center: The ballot should be about the best thing to do with land. The ballot presumes its OK to build Rec Centers in a 100 year flood plain.

    Reason 3: Why is it that Town District One (Southside) gets all the improvements? Simply put it is very, very sad that Town Council members that represent the other town districts don’t “Step Up” like Ms. Lattin does to fight for improvements to their district. Other than Lewis St or the River Center, Town residents living North of Highway 160 do not even exist, as far as Town improvements go. Go look for yourself.

    Reason 4: Off the beaten path: The location should be closer to those living North of the highway. Ideally the Middle School should be converted into a Recreation Center. But this would require the Town & County to work together. Good luck with that with all the bad blood being created

    Reason 5: Undercuts the Approved Comprehensive Plan Strategy : This ballot is a loophole around it. Weakens it. This is not just a war between Town & County. This is also a “Civil War” between the Southside Town of Pagosa Springs & Northside Town of Pagosa Springs. Strong Southside representatives are kicking butt on weak Northside Representatives. Been that way for a while now. Town Council members need to protect the integrity of the approved Comprehensive Plan by executing it. McCabe Creek Park is important because it will allow Northside Residents living East of North 5th St. to feel they are a “inclusive & respected” part of the community. The improvements outlined in the Comprehensive Plan is include projects that are fair to voters living North of Highway 160.

    Reasons 5 Thru 10: That’s up to you. Is it un-American?, Is it unfair?, Dumb? Crooked? Confusing? Just vote against it if you can. If you can’t vote because you don’t live within The Town of Pagosa Springs City Limits, like me, try to convince someone that does live in town to vote against it. Northside Town residents

    and representatives this is your “Good Fight“ as well. It’s time for the Northside to get a fair shake. Put McCabe Creek Park on a ballot if it has to be that way to get it done.

    • dave

      Sorry for this typo & other mistakes- should have wrote or read-McCabe Creek Park is important because it will allow Northside Residents living “West” (not “East”) of North 5th St. to feel they are a “inclusive & respected” part of the community.

      • Penny Onnadalla

        You are a respected part of the community. That’s why this is up for a vote.

        • Dave

          Its up for a vote because somehow it got on a ballot. Town Council put it out there without even understanding it. Ballot this, Ballot that, Ballot, Ballot, Ballot. When does someone find time to get things done. The North side of Town used to be the “nice” part of Town. Put McCabe Creek Park on a Ballot, it might have a chance of passing. Unlike this farce.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Somehow got to the ballot? You don’t need to understand anything but what it will cost you directly, and that’s, you guessed it … A PENNY ON THE DOLLAR.

          • Dave

            Whatever. You and your fleet of drones will lose. End of story.

          • ajpagosa

            “Whatever. You and your fleet of drones will lose. End of story.”

            Penny, LOL you realize you just replied that to yourself? Ha ha.

          • P

            Uh, no. Pay closer attention, that was Dave.

          • ajpagosa

            Uh, yeah you’e right, sorry. My screen said it was Penny’s comment while I was typing. Buggy Discus has a lag. Thanks.

          • Dave

            How high is 4.5 Billion pennies stacked on top of each other? How many acres of land would 4.5 Billion pennies cover. How many miles would 4.5 Billion pennies stretch side by side?

          • ajpagosa

            LOL good one!

          • Dave

            Seriously. How much does 4.5 billion pennies weigh?

          • ajpagosa

            From Wiki, one modern penny weighs 2.5 grams…

          • Dave

            4.5 billion pennies covers 170 acres. I think?

          • ajpagosa

            This 4.5 billion pennies thing is pure gold. Or pure copper. Well I guess not even that, but it sure is good.

          • Dave

            Crunching Numbers is fun Kids! Just grab any old calculator and solve this humdinger:

            Gas Cost $4 per gallon

            Five days a week Mom & Dad drive at least 50 miles a day

            Their cars or trucks only get 10 miles to per gallon.

            How many pennies does Mom & Dad pay per year to drive their cars & trucks if the Recreation Center Ballot passes?

          • Other Broher

            Here is some math for you. How much money would you have to spend in town (in a year) to contribute $100 to the “overwhelming tax increase” to help fund the rec center cause? $10,000.

          • Dave

            Or enough pennies that if you placed them side by side in a straight line they would stretched around the Earth 1 & 1/2 times or 36,000 miles. So what YOU’RE saying is I won’t have to pay this tax when I buy lumber at Day Lumber but I will have to pay this tax when I buy lumber at Ponderosa? Brian? Is that you?

          • Other Brother

            I’m saying if you can’t put a penny on the dollar for an amenity that enhances your community for all ages, then maybe you don’t deserve it after all.

          • Dave

            Give me “my park” & then maybe I will care about what “you want”.

          • Other Brother

            What park? Not sure I know what you mean.

          • Dave

            All of this was decided years ago. Methodical execution of a plan. Stick to the plan. The plan happens to include “A New Rec Center”

          • Dave

            I’m starting to get it! The plan is to build the rec center out of the actual pennies.

          • ajpagosa

            Just as long as it’s Other People’s Pennies and they can’t vote on it.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Will be right back with it, too much momentum, even with Aragon’s machine trying to bring it down.

          • jblack

            The negative, nasty unprofessional approach by the wreck center proponents will come back to hit them between the eyes. They are not open or receptive to the possibility that there is a better way to build a wellness center. We are dealing with spoiled brats. Any “momentum” gained will be overshadowed by bad attitudes. The negative energy you are giving to your cause will show up as the result of defeat.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            If you have a better plan, we’d love to hear it, really.

          • Other Brother

            Saw a bunch of vote YES yard signs going up today in neighborhoods that would hardly consider themselves spoiled.

    • Penny Onnadalla

      You do realize the same folks against this are some of the same folks that want to put domes in Centennial Park, right? Trustee Cotton lives north of 160, what has he done for ya lately. Distance is not an issue. If you can’t walk to the high school from where you live, then you REALLY need a rec center to get in better shape. As for the Comp Plan (adopted 8 years ago), it says the town will build a rec center.The crooked part of this has everything to do with who is really controlling (restricting) the info out of town hall (take a wild guess).

      • ajpagosa

        Hey Penny, you’re making allegations about people who can’t be anonymous like you are. Why don’t you disclose your real name and we can all examine your motives and make up stuff about you, too.

      • Dave

        Ok? there is no exclusive right to bad ideas. At least Cotton had vocal reservations about the ballot while everyone else rubber stamped it. Uh? What about people that can’t walk? sidewalks for wheel chairs. Town got no money to do much of anything. No GoCo grants, no Wal-mart. Times are tough.

        • Penny Onnadalla

          Jacque, have always respected you – so you must know but Wal-Mart is coming and the town has some money, just bad people in the wrong chairs (Mitchem), The town is doing great; this will not bankrupt the town, I promise.

          • jblack

            I don’t consider your drinking the kool aid and the “daddy” attacks respect. I have made my own decisions regarding this issue.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Yes, but if you think it will bankrupt the town, you don’t understand exactly how it works. Just sayin.

          • jblack

            I think it will put us in debt and that there are better ways to proceed. I will do everything in my power to get everyone I know to vote no!

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Good luck with that. Think about this – your dad will look back at his legacy and say, “The last thing I did as mayor was defeat a community recreation center.” Proud.

          • ajpagosa

            I would think it would be more like, after 36 years of service to our fine town, and bringing in large new businesses and sources of revenue, I stopped otherwise good people from making a huge financial mistake and spending that money before we actually had it.

            Maybe we should wait for a new mayor and council, not a very good idea to bring in entirely new set of people and hand them a blank check for 45M.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            You sound like Gerlach with your “fine town” stuff. We’re just trying to make it a “finer” town. Oh, the $45 million rears its head. Not a chance, folks. Not a chance. Scary number, but doesn’t come into play. Penny on the dollar.

          • ajpagosa

            If by finer to you means deeply in debt for something that everyone else already has (ie will not distinguish us at all), go for it. I think the voters will understand what 45M and what “penny onna dolla” is.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            If they do, we have a GREAT shot at this.

          • ajpagosa

            Funny by some amazing coincidence that both numbers are on the ballot. Almost like…they’re the same thing!

            45M = 1 penny onna dolla

            45M still pretty big, new math maybe?

          • Raggamuffins

            We’re “otherwise good” if we want a rec center? Oh, forgot you’re the guy who thinks we are selling our kids into debt slavery if we vote yes. Hope you will be at some of the upcoming meetings so we can give you a piece of our minds. Yes, here also. It may not pass, but if it doesn’t, it will be right back on the ballot with 100 sigs. Easy to do.

          • Dave

            Sorry to disappoint you Princess Amadala but I am not Jacque. Though I am sure she would make an excellent candidate for Mayor

          • jblack

            can’t believe your “promise” I don’t know who you are. No promises’ from strangers believed here.

  • Chris Gerlach

    Hopefully NO ONE is TRYING to deceive anyone. We can’t afford that kind of nasty politics here. Maybe it is tolerated and even celebrated by national media to sell air time but here we work hard to help each other and our town. I would LOVE to see an affordable rec center that does not impose a dangerous burden on the town and our future. I am Glad the SUN is doing so well for us and the town council is trying hard too. It is important to realize tho that the bond issue as proposed was clearly based on incorrect numbers and hopefully that was NOT intentional but an honest accident that a strong vote NO now on this untimely proposal can deal with.

  • ajpagosa

    This is your brain.

    This is your brain smoking debt and OPM.

    Any questions?

    Penny,
    Please use the even older invention called “reading”, I called GKB days ago, says that in the artcile. Senior VP called back night after council meeting. Had a nice talk he was unaware of 78% (???) and not pleased to hear it. Why don’t you call him back? I am sure he loves to hear numbers he’s not aware of on important deals like this from outsiders.

  • ajpagosa

    Jeez Billy no one is hiding anything. GKB called me back night of the meeting after it was over. He’d never heard the 78% number yet you guys already had the official one from Mitchum over a day, and you’ve known it was 70-something % for weeks. Even the bankers are getting misled it seems. Hmm.

    • Penny Onnadalla

      Hey, GKB will give you the same info they give us insiders, that’s great. What isn’t great is the fact nobody else can access them because the mayor don’t want nobody to see it. Ironic? Have no problem with anybody who knows the facts and decides for themselves.

      • ajpagosa

        Yeah except you guys didn’t give GKB the same info us outsiders got ourselves from Mitchum. Odd isn’t it? See a pattern?

        • Penny Onnadalla

          Sure we did. Didn’t have it ourselves until Monday. WE WENT AFTER THE RIGHT NUMBERS, not the opponents. You didn’t see The SUN break the news, did ya? They must not have phones, or reporters, there.

    • Billy Skipper

      We thought it might be in the high 70’s, weren’t sure until Tues.

  • pagosasun

    Please be aware of the site’s commenting policy. You can find the link at the bottom of this page. No personal attacks of any kind are acceptable.

    • Penny Onnadalla

      Got it.

  • ajpagosa

    My name is Albert Jenab as you well know and so has everyone else for quite some time. Now it’s your turn.

    • Penny Onnadalla

      Doesn’t matter who I am, really. Just know there are lots of “me.” This won’t go away, folks. Be careful stepping into the arena Albert. Lots of folks reading your “debt slavery” stuff very closely. Sure you want to go there?

      • ajpagosa

        No actually it does matter who you really are. Which is why I disclosed my name weeks ago.

        And yes you are trying to drag the rest of us into debt slavery, so yeah we’d really like to know who you are. Besides hyperbole is already being employed by you guys here and elsewhere. Not as effectively I might add. People have known who I am for weeks, made a decision to do that when I wrote the op eds.

        Your turn! What are you hiding?

        • Penny Onnadalla

          So all the kids in Durango, Cortez, Fruita, etc. are in debt slavery? You think so. Ha. They seem elated about it, by the way.

          • ajpagosa

            Please reveal your name.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            My name is Penny. Last name is obviously not “Onnadalla” but it works, for now.

          • ajpagosa

            Your full name please.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Why, so you can tie me to the conspiracy. I’m Penny the big investment banker, the one we’ll all sell our children to (according to you) and the best way I know how to make money is – I’ll try to get a bond issue for a rec center passed in Pagosa, then buy the bonds. Yeah, that’s it. Give it up.

          • ajpagosa

            Your real name please, getting tired of this. But I’ve got plenty of time.

          • Penny Onnadalla

            You sayin I’m wearing you down. I’ve got all day.

          • ajpagosa

            Nah got all day and all night personally but moderators might shut you down, since you’re not contributing anything relevant, and still abusing anonymous status. Just sayin’. Where is our good buddy Brian BTW?

  • ajpagosa

    It is not fictional it is a legal TABOR cost ceiling. You guys put it there, deal with it. What TABOR wanted was a realistic cap on costs. What we get is a very scary but binding number, in the snes that anything up to 45M is allowed.

    • Penny Onnadalla

      My number? TABOR doesn’t care what the number is, as long as there is one. It is ZERO probability, period, and you know it. They did run the numbers, can’t happen, and you know that, too. Penny on the dollar, nothing more.

      • ajpagosa

        Oh, please. It is your number, rec center people put it there. You made a huge mistake and I thank you deeply for the gift, but yeah it’s your number. And sadly (for all of us) it is binding and it is real as an upper limit in that sense.

        Senior VP GKB say sit was made up no scenarios. So he is either not being truthful (I doubt it) or you didn’t fill him in on it either.

        Oh yeah you keep saying penny onna dolla. Well yeah, maybe. But well over twice that is being put up for debt service, so maybe something more like 2.5 penny onna dollar, up to 45M over 25 years would be accurate. Like the fine print on…loans perhaps?

        • Penny Onnadalla

          Had nothing to do with the number. Couldn’t care less if you believe it or not. Council could have adjusted it, but didn’t. Doesn’t matter, penny on the dollar.

  • Billy Skipper

    The numbers on the web site are NOT the right numbers.

  • Other Brother

    Don’t get why Darrell and company think they have been denied access to anything, especially the bond firm. I’m voting for it, think we need it. Will enhance an already attractive community.

    • Grandma Apple

      Ya, that part about not being able to get the same information doesn’t make much sense to me, either. I too will be voting yes. I think the time is right.

    • Dave

      Maybe Mr. Cotton, If he wished to, could better serve his community If he ran for Mayor. Even if he didn’t win. It would help to have his neighborhood or district be acknowledge as being a vital part of the future of The Town of Pagosa Springs. The only reason his side of town is nice is because of the individual DIY efforts of people who own homes there. Its time for me to pull out of this argument because I realize my motives are selfish as yours-I want my side of Town to be the nice side of town. It should be. McCabe Creek will be respected. Let it rain, let it snow. Let McCabe Creek flow!

      • Festive Lamb

        Hey cotton and the mayor are tight. So you can blame them directly for ignoring you.

        • jblack

          I would assume they would be tight after 30+ volunteer years serving together. makes sense!

  • jblack

    Great ad on the top right corner!

    • Dave

      Thank you Northside! -Westside & Eastside. Smartside.

    • Vote Yes

      If you like lies, then yes a great ad.

    • Go Pirates

      Bill Hudson and Albert Janab at it again, I see. The ad is a complete lie, folks. But they don’t care. They will do anything to deprive this community of progress. Get the numbers for yourself. Call the rec office if you have to, but don’t believe the conspiracy theorists. I will vote yes and so will my wife and daughter. Would be a fantastic addition to my our town.

      • jblack

        I have read the numbers and talked to the rec department in person. I have asked questions. I want a rec center, just not this one. There are good ways to finance a community rec center. We can build it in cooperation with our County and State governments. We can build it as a public-private partnership. We can build it to fit our community — without this massive revenue debt.

        • Chris Gerlach

          I agree with JBlack, and have been saying the same things for weeks now. I will keep saying them. Yes a Rec Center would be nice. No this proposal is NOT one we can afford and NOT the time for it.

          • Go Porates

            If you can’t afford a penny on the dollar for this, what can you afford? A half penny?

          • jblack

            pennies add up to 4.5 billion pennies.

          • Raggamuffins

            Your opinion. We think we can afford a simple penny on the dollar. We think now is a great time. Town expanded its parks and rec amenities during the recession and is in great financial shape. Not buying into the worry, worry, worry scenario. Nothing happens if you always worry about what could happen. Voting yes. It is time.

        • Morkinmindy

          Revenue is income, not debt. Maybe you guys who are down on the rec center really don’t understand the finance model as well as you think.

          • jblack

            Municipal bonds are debt obligations issued by public entities that use the loans. Another way to say it is revenue debt. I understand the finance model. why not explore other options? grants, county and state gov cooperation or public-private partnership? why does it have to be this massive debt model? Again…i am not down on “the rec center” I don’t agree with this model. I am a 6th generation native and I do have a unique understanding of our community. We could use a rec center, AFTER other projects are completed and one that offers sustainable growth. go outside and play!

          • PagosaBill

            Well, if things aren’t close to finished after 3 decades of the same regime in power, when will they be? Never. This could be up and done in less than two years. It’s yes for me too.

          • jblack

            Yikes, this is an editorial from 2001. there are lots more improvements to add to this list since then. People soon forget what is done by the volunteers that you call the regime. What have you done for our community?
            A model to follow

            All is not lost.

            Look no farther than Mayor Ross Aragon and the board of trust-ees of the Town of Pagosa Springs to find local political leaders who, over the past 15 years, successfully negotiated a course from the precarious to the positive.

            Look to the Town of Pagosa Springs to find political leaders who learned from mistakes and matured to understand how local government works best.

            Fifteen years ago, Pagosa Springs was tabbed by the EPA as one of three municipalities in Colorado with the worst particulate air pollution. The downtown business community was nearly dormant, infrastructure was marginal; the desirability of life in town – residential and commercial – was waning.

            The turnaround has been impressive. An energized economy, a favorable sales tax sharing arrangement with the county, and the acquisition of grant monies, in part, allowed for a comeback. But, there was also wise leadership.

            Gravel roads in town were paved and pressure from federal and state agencies diminished. Downtown improvement projects enhanced the environment for retailers and residents alike: an outdated bridge across the San Juan River was replaced, decorative lighting and improved parking was put in place, cooperation in formation of an improvement district at the east end of town changed the face of that neighborhood.

            Recreational facilities were enhanced with added attention to ball fields and plans for the construction of others; a trail system and a park on Reservoir Hill were built, and a park in South Pagosa was created in cooperation with a citizen’s group. The Riverwalk system was developed and expanded, Centennial Park was built behind the courthouse and town recreation programs serving all residents of the county were improved.

            In the wake of change, property owners requested annexation to the town. New commercial areas were annexed to the west; residents of a residential subdivision voted for annexation and were taken into the town. Annexations are pending on the east end of town.

            Cooperative projects with state and county led to improvements in roadways and intersections. Town fathers backed moves to include the town in the Pagosa Fire Protection District and in the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District for water service. Town staff administrates the Pagosa Sanitation District sewer system and the town is poised to absorb that system.

            In league with a local non-profit group and the local banking industry, the town made it possible for ground to be broken in June for a 20,000 square-foot Community Center at the south end of Hot Springs Boulevard – a site accessed by a new bridge over the river at Apache Street. Development along Hot Springs Boulevard seems inevitable.

            Next to the community center site a new Town Hall will open mid-June. It is more than an office; it is a symbol .

            A symbol of what Mayor Aragon and a succession of trustees have learned and put into place. Town political leaders know their roles, distinct from the roles of a highly talented staff. That staff – administration, police, street, planning, building and Municipal Court – was hired to conduct day-to-day town business, and to do so with minimal intrusion by elected officials. Competent, experienced staff provides mayor and trustees with information, options and advice when policy decisions must be made. The town board has enacted strong building, zoning and sign codes and allows staff to administer them. The board conducts business in light of conflict of interest and nepotism policies that are public record.

            Granted, the town does not face problems as overwhelming as those confronting several other local governmental entities. Granted, too, the town has ample revenues to bring to bear on its problems.

            But, it is undeniable: the mayor and his trustees know how to govern. Their style can serve as a model for all.

            Karl Isberg

          • jblack

            And all of the above and more including: pedestrian bridges etc. were done WITHOUT putting us in debt. Smart growth.

          • Squirreltamer

            Just found out you are the mayor’s daughter. Now I understand the mentality. Still voting YES.

          • jblack

            yep. and proud to be the mayors daughter! And what have you done for the community?

          • Squirreltamer

            Oh, I helped get the rec center to the vote of the public. Will do it again, and again and again.

          • jblack

            ok. Gotta go inform people to VOTE NO. bye bye… from the mayors daughter

          • Cowgirl Kimmy

            Yes, please do “everything in your power” to deprive the community of this. So proud.

          • jblack

            Not deprived! Look outside! You guys just can’t face the fact that there must be a BETTER, SMARTER way to build a rec center!

          • youknowwho

            I LIKE IT WHEN WOMEN ARE IN CHARGE!! THIS ONE SOULD BE MAYOR!!

          • Greenandgold

            Tell me how and why this one won’t work. I am not eligible to vote, but wish I could. Just makes sense, to me, to have one and a penny tax increase is really reasonable. Just my opinion.

          • jblack

            Because it is 4.5 billion pennies. I don’t oppose the idea of a rec center, i oppose this one. it is way to ambitious for the community. We couldn’t even handle 2 grocery stores. I went to an informational meeting last week to ask questions and listen to the proponents. I was hoping it would be good info. The numbers don’t add up to smart growth. In fact, the people answering the questions, didn’t know the answers…They weren’t sure about a lot of really important ones… And what about other projects like street repairs, parks maintenance, youth programs, economic development, broadband, outdoor recreation, and emergency situations? The sales tax increase would make it difficult to do any of these things in the future. There are good ways to finance a community rec center. We can build it in cooperation with our County and State governments. We can build it as a public-private partnership. We can build it to fit our community — without this massive
            debt.

          • Fotofinnish

            There was no meeting last week. Curious to know who you talked to. Why do you keep thinking the rec center is $45 million? If you went to a meeting last week, please tell us who you spoke with. Proponents know the number is not 45 mil. There was no meeting last week, at least not one sponsored by the proponents, and none with rec office staff present. So where are you getting your info?

          • jblack

            Please forgive me. It was a meeting on Feb 19 that I refer to. Not last week.

          • Fotofinnish

            Then what really important questions could the people not answer?

          • Hobknobbin

            So which rec center do you want? Cortez? Durango? Wheat Ridge? Sterling? Fruita? Gunnison? Fairplay? And the list goes on and on and on… How do you think those were built? The same as this proposal.

          • Chris Gerlach

            I am very sad and shocked to see this kind of mean and disrespectful comment in our paper. We do NOT support this kind of behavior here and I hope it stops.

          • squirreltamer

            Hey Gerlach, you’re the one who thinks anyone who wants this is “insane” or “foolish” or wants “self-entitlement.” Those quotes taken from YOUR posts. Dish it out, you better be able to take some.

          • Fotofinnish

            So you’re saying the town knows how to govern anf get projects done unless the mayor disagrees with the majority of council, like in the case of the rec center. Got it.

          • jblack

            not at all what I am saying.

          • Other Brother

            There are three types of municipal bonds. This type, a revenue bond, produces revenue. Thus the name. Of course it still has to be backed by the penny, but produces a reserve, not debt.

          • ajpagosa

            Oh good grief. It does not “produce” revenue. It adds 1% to the cost of goods sold in Town, it is a tax. The future revenue stream from the tax is borrowed against. Additional collateral (more than 100% extra is also required (half city general fund) .

            It produces debt in the sense that we borrow a whole lot more than we’d get in a year against the future 20-25 years of new tax stream and pay it off over time, a whole lot more than we would use to build the rec center. Id initial cost is 18M we have to pay up to another $27M in interest. This is called debt.

            Just because you have a job (revenue) doesn’t mean your mortgage isn’t debt.

          • Other Brother

            No, not the debt service reserve, the reserve you accumulate when sales tax collections go up. They always do. Otherwise you wouldn’t see rec centers popping up all over Colorado, except here of course.

          • ajpagosa

            No it isn’t read the GKB proposal and the ballot language. The reserve comes from selling the revenue bonds at a premium. We have had to create extraordinary collateral conditions to get these bonds floated, read the fine print.

          • Morkinmindy

            You are confusing two projections. The bond schedule assumes the sales tax collections in town will never go up for the life of the bond. The town staff is doing another projection to show what might be accumulated in a separate fund when sales tax goes up like it has in the past. I think this is where most folks are lost.

          • ajpagosa

            No you are confusing reality and projections. The bank cannot use anything other than real historic tax receipts to qualify for this loan. Just like a person can only use real W2 and 1040’s. You cannot use next year’s raise or that MBA you’ll get at night next few years to get a loan. Town cannot use growth projection for loans, and no bank would even let it.

          • Other Brother

            Town is NOT using growth projections for the loan, but using historical data to show how sales tax has grown over the last two decades, which has been near 5 percent annually, will assist with the operational costs.

          • ajpagosa

            Not even close. You are connecting dots trying to draw a straight line using nominal dollars. Adjust for inflation we’re still in a deep recession. If you bought a house 10 years ago and sold it for the same amount today you lost a ton of money. Same with tax revenue.

          • Other Brother

            Well when the Baum reports show this week that at 78.5 percent of last year’s total sales tax collections in the county, even if that number never went up at all, the town can still afford to borrow 16.5 million over 20 years and 18 million at 25 years, again with assuming ZERO sales tax growth the entire time, what will you say?

          • ajpagosa

            That it is still a bad idea, too much debt, and taxes people who can’t vote. Note they are REDUCING what you can borrow now because the estimates were wrong. Yet people questioning these estimates’ accuracy only days ago were being attacked for not knowing what they were talking about, neanderthals, etc.

            Let’s see what else is in the Baum bond schedule once we all have a chance to look at it.

            Funny, this gets back to the article about the meeting, and a point I raised in front of the council about access to Baum. How it it you guys have these numbers now and no one else does?

            Too many bankers floating around.

          • Dazzle dazzle

            We already know how to do the calculations, and have known for months that even if the “real numbers” that we sought out, by the way, were lower, we would be O.K. And we are. No big surprise. You want the numbers, call Baum, they will give them to you. Nothing to hide. Can the folks who are against this not use a phone? E-mail works, too. For Pete’s sake, there is no restricted access, secret numbers, etc. We would love to have all the info out there, but the same people cryin about not getting the info are the same ones who are not authorizing the release of any info. Hint- the MAYOR, Cotton, etc.

          • Fotofinnish

            The bond schedule is just a template for what they have used over and over all across the state. Nothing new here. Not a novel concept or anything abnormal about it.

          • ajpagosa

            Of course not but your previous statements about how revenue and reserve were structured were not correct.

          • Fotofinnish

            Sure they were, you are only taking the bond numbers into account, and they assume no sales tax growth. The penny will not only pay the required debt service, but also pump at least 250,000 into the operations account even if sales tax stays flat forever. When sales tax collections grow, you get a surplus, and I’m not talking the DSRF generated by the sale of the bonds at a premium.

          • ajpagosa

            You stated we are not producing debt, and don;t seem to understand the difference between revenue and a revenue bond. Go back and read what you wrote. And no I am sorry you don;t understand the reserve structure or extra collateral either. It is on the ballot (reserve is, collateral is on bond schedule).

            I am not interested in optimistic projections from supporters, just the terms of the loan. Which is what everyone needs to look at before anything else so they can know what signing on the dotted line is getting us all obligated to. You guys been playing bait and switch with those numbers for a long time and continue to.

            I am not confusing anything.

          • Fotofinnish

            Of course you have the debt, but revenue is produced by the extra penny, otherwise you could never pay down the debt. The point is, the debt is paid off quicker as the sales tax collections go up, if that is what a municipality decides. Or, you just pay the min and build a reserve to put toward operations or expansion.

          • ajpagosa

            Or you can go deeper into a debt hole and never get out if the revenue goes down and you guessed wrong. Which is why banks can’t use all those projections. Tens of millions of people got wiped out financially doing what you’re suggesting, it is amazing so little time has passed and people want to do it all over again.

          • PagosaBill

            Comparing private finance and public finance won’t work here. You cannot apply the same methodology

          • ajpagosa

            Uuum, yes you can, unless this is that new math? Interest accumulates while you pay down principal. Public finance is not magic and underwriting guidelines apply in both cases. There are differences sure but the basics of qualifying for a loan are substantially the same. They can be compared for purpose of analogy, ESPECIALLY to educate voters when they are getting snowed.

            Debt is debt. The borrower here is the Town, unfortunately the income they are using to qualify is paid by the whole county. In that sense it is not even close, you could never get a home loan and stiff your neighbor for most of it.

          • ajpagosa

            Bet I do. Revenue bonds are very assuredly debt, where ordinarily the future revenue stream is the collateral for the debt. I our case not only do we hve to put that up as collateral (the new 1%) but we have to put up an additional 1/2 the town general fund as more collateral. But there’s even more collateral!

            They are lending us another 10% more than we need for a reserve fund, only to be used for making payments if we miss them. It is not free.

            So yeah it is debt, it is real serious honest-to-goodness debt, and we are paying real serious interest on it, up to 27M.

            So please, whoever told you what you wrote about this not being debt is lying to you, or maybe just does not understand revenue bonds. This is very big mondo deb.

          • Festive Lamb

            Yeah cause it was built over a decade ago. Show me a town with a public rec center financed with a revenue bond that didn’t assume some debt and I’ll show you a purple unicorn. It’s how most are built. The debt you speak of does not change spending habits of the public. Betcha don’t even notice the one penny increase you pay in Durango. I know I don’t. What is the big deal?

          • ajpagosa

            The big deal is Durango’s economy is over 10 times the size of ours, yet we are building a rec center cost roughly the same, get it?

            Like say a banker can buy a ferrari, no sweat but he makes 800k/yr. Some guy making 50k yr tries to buy same ferrari, might not work out so well with the payments vis-a-vis eating and paying electric bills, diapers for kids etc.

            We don’t need and can’t afford a ferrari rec center. Heck we can’t afford an oil change on a ferrari rec center. Maybe a nice Jeep or something I would def go for. but ferrari no.

            That is my only message but you guys just don’t want to hear it I guess.

          • Other Brother

            The mayor called this a “Honda rec center” and asked why we thought anyone from Texas would use it when they have LEXUS rec centers in Texas. Missing the point entirely, as usual, and insulting his own people at the same time. This is meant to be primarily for locals, not tourists. Not one tourist was ever asked what they wanted in this, only our own.

          • ajpagosa

            I am not making the mayor’s argument, a different one. I am saying for the locals who want this rec center, relative to what we can afford it is a ferrari. We can maybe afford a Jeep. A jeep I could get behind, not a ferrari.

            Many people are trying to tell you this is simple and easy and cheap. It is none of those.

          • PagosaBill

            If the financing wouldn’t work, why would the bond company not say that? Because it will. It’s that simple. Seven years ago, the tax increase was proposed at less than a penny, and people said “not now” and too expensive,etc. Seven years later, and no change in what people want in it, but now it is more expensive, of course. So you see why folks are thinking it is now or never on this thing.

          • ajpagosa

            That is not a valid argument to spend so much money, it makes no sense.

            If it was too expensive at the top of the housing bubble, with fantastic growth projections out forever, not sure I’m seeing how a more expensive plan, after the collapse, while we’re still in a deep recession, is a good idea.

            I would like to see real evidence of growth, get Walmart and Tractor Supply built and generating revenue. Pay for existing project need doing (river walk, trails 6th street bridge, etc.) with little or even no debt. Heck we might have a surplus, be flush with cash and get better terms, qualify for less onerous collateral constraints.

            Then let’s see about a less costly rec center that might even run at a profit. Get the whole county voting on it. Bet it could pass then and overall that way would be much better for everyone living here.

          • Greenandgold

            TS and Wally World are coming, that is why folks want to take advantage of interest rates that are still near historic lows.

          • ajpagosa

            You realize one consequence of rates coming off historic lows is a big recession right? Almost guaranteed. Folks keep forgetting that part.

            Other rates are at historic lows but WE are not going get historic low rates. We only get an A rating with all the extra collateral and at best 4.5% if we did it today. 5-6 months will be a lot higher when we issue.

            But if we got TS and WW going, got a surplus, even in a higher rate environment we’d do much better. Not to mention be in a lot better shape financially and have a little more insight into how much we could spend reasonably. This is just throwing up your hands and maxing out the credit line with little thought or sense behind it. “rates are low” is not a good reason to buy something super expensive you can’t afford and don’t even need.

          • Greenandgold

            Town has a surplus already. Most of what you wish to see has happened or is happening.

          • ajpagosa

            Tell you what. Let’s see what the investment bankers bring back, now that we know we’re bringing in only 78% of county wide sales instead of 100% they were first told.

          • Fotofinnish

            They will say the town can borrow $16.6 million over 20 yrs and $18 mil over 25, and that assumes flat sales tax forever. We already know that.

          • ajpagosa

            Put out the new bond schedule then let’s all look at it. Just because they will lend it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for us, it means it’s a good deal for them. They’re bankers, what else would you expect?

          • Penny Onnadalla

            Should be ready tomorrow, tues. at latest. Nothing to hide.

          • ajpagosa

            Great, then we can go round and round again. Sounds like they already shaved off $1.5M on the 20 year.

          • PagosaBill

            Of course, so what? That is assuming zero sales tax growth for 20 years. You don’t seem to grasp the significance of that assumption. It actually makes the numbers look great, even at 78.5 percent of last year’s total collections in the county. With Wally coming, that percentage will immediately jump to near 90 percent, which will look even better. The fact remains the same, if the rec center should happen to cost the max of $18 mil, the town can easily afford it.

          • ajpagosa

            You don’t seem to grasp what I am capable of grasping. They apparently just cut the amount they’re willing to lend us, thank you for confirming.

          • Licoriceking

            No, the town could still borrow, if needed, $18 mil over 25 years, again, this is if sales tax collections FROZE forever at last year’s totals. What that means is, the town will easily be able to cover the terms of the loan because we know sales tax has gone up almost 5 percent on average every year for 20 years, including last year. And that was without tractor supply and Wally World on board, but they are coming.

          • ajpagosa

            Lots of luck with that. Let us know what the bank says about borrowing ANOTHER $18M. They just cut what we could borrow because tax receipts are lower than expected.

          • PagosaBill

            No, ballot language says “shall the town be authorize to borrow up to $18 million” if needed, and that is what we can borrow. What a coincidence.

          • Chris Gerlach

            WE DID raise the lodging tax and it helped fun the Town Tourism Committee and direct efforts to help grow the local economy. This very expensive and speculative proposal for a rec center for a few will NOT help the town it will cost the town and severely limit our ability to fund future projects and meet essential needs.

          • Festive Lamb

            Bull. Who is making the same tired, old claims over and over and over…?

          • Chris Gerlach

            The claim has widely been made that this will increase tourism and help the town. it wont and it wont. The Mayor is thinking of the good of the WHOLE town not just the desires and interests of a few.

          • Hobknobbin

            NO, nobody has claimed this will increase tourism. Nobody. Proponents happen to think tourists who are coming here anyway will use it, and they will. See PLPOA and Wyndham.

    • Go Pirates

      The man who helped pay for that ad, Albert Janab, also wrote this, “This rec center is actually bad for the children unless your idea of good parenting is selling your children into debt slaverybto investmnet bankers.” So you can see what his motives are here.

      • ajpagosa

        I did write that and it is true and I approve of it.

        I did not pay for any ads though, get your facts straight. But I might given the tactics being employed here.

        Please try to spell my name correctly. Why not reveal your own?

        • Dave

          I thinks the argument is in good hands now. Its obvious “they” are now working hard manipulate what you have said to tie you up with it. They are attempting to make the vote about you to distract from the facts you present. Thanks for your efforts.-Go Ride!

          • ajpagosa

            Thanks Dave think I will do just that!

          • Chris Gerlach

            I am very sorry to see the supporters of the Rec Center need to make personal attacks instead of deal with the issues. It give me grave doubts that they really care about the town or the issue. Rather they want to win at any cost. That is NOT how we in Pagosa do things.

          • Grandma Apple

            Personal attacks? Rec center supporters have been called foolish, Marxists, elitists, insane, almost criminal and spoiled brats. We prefer to call ourselves parents and grandparents. You guys are championing Albert Janab? The man who wrote this,”And what about Pagosa’s children? This rec center is actually bad for the children, unless your idea of good parenting is selling your children into debt slavery to investment bankers.” WOW. And rec center supporters are extremists. I think I’ll vote yes because of that quote alone, thank you very much.

          • ajpagosa

            Please try to spell my name right next time. Oh, quite the worst personal attacks by far have been made by wreck center supporters, they get flagged and disappear, the people eventually banned, so play nice.

            Yes I stand by that quote, glad to see it getting so much coverage, and delighted it annoys so many of the tax and spenders. Truth will set you free, you may not like it though.

            You aren’t doing your kids or anyone else’s a favor with $45M debt load for 25 years, even if you do steal it from your neighbors without letting them vote on it.

          • ajpagosa

            We’ve been called a whole heck of a lot worse than that, the comments just get deleted. There are moderators here, some stuff slips by but not much if you flag it for them. They are doing a pretty good job getting most of it. Unfortunately they can’t block anonymous posting.

          • ajpagosa

            I kind of liked the “human shield” quote but alas that did not gain so much traction. Also the “hippie-nomics” one was sorta catchy.

          • ajpagosa

            Oh one other thought, people all upset about that quote, wonder if you read the entire 2-part op-ed piece? If so you might want to. Just so you understand the context. It is over on the Post website, just search for it. If you read it and are still upset fine. If you haven’t read it you are being manipulated.

          • squirreltamer

            We don’t do ANYthing in Pagosa. We say we will, but then don’t. My mind made up. YES.

          • Licoriceking

            Albert has very little in the way of facts, much in the way of opinion. Ticked off lot of parents and grandparents who work very hard to make it in this town but who also are considering the rec center vote. How? With this – “This rec center is actually BAD for the children, unless our idea of good parenting is selling your children into debt slavery to investment bankers.” Not real popular right now, to say the least, and the quote is spreading like warm butter on hot bread. Love it.

        • Cowgirl Kimmy

          You wrote the quote about parents who want the rec center are bad parents who want to sell their kids into “debt slavery” and we are to take you seriously on this issue? Or believe anything you say or write? Fat chance. It’s got my vote.

          • ajpagosa

            I sure did and I stand by it. You’re also OK with stealing money from 90% of the rest of your county neighbors without letting them vote, another great lesson for the little ones.

          • ragamuffins

            Counseling, anyone?

          • ajpagosa

            You mean for your kids?

    • Soccermom2

      There is obviously support for the rec center. I just drove down 8th Street on my way back from the basketball game, and there are YES signs all over the place in yards. This will be interesting.

      • ajpagosa

        So if more signs appear against it means it has lost all that support? Good to know.

        • Soccermom2

          No, just saying there are obviously people who are clearly in support.

          • ajpagosa

            OK I see. There are people opposing too, that’s why they actually have the election I guess.

          • Chris Gerlach

            Signs and bumper stickers, TV ads and slogans and a flood of repeat posts making the same empty claims over and over and over are propaganda. The Truth is that we cannot afford this, and to push and promote it for the interests of a few is a total betrayal of caring for our town and our residents for selfish purposes. I am very sad to see this decay of public morality and the huge increase of a great sense of excessive self entitlement.

          • Cowgirl Kimmy

            You call the desire for a rec center the decay of public morality?

          • ajpagosa

            No he clearly did not, but repeated calls to tax people without their consent for luxury items like a lavish rec center come pretty close.

            No one is against a rec center, many are against THIS rec center, and the entitlement attitude. You can pretend to not understand the distinction if you choose but it just makes your arguments seem disingenuous, IMHO. And I understand it is convenient to distort others comments in this fashion, but I doubt it does your cause any good to be this transparent.

          • Other brother

            Which rec center do you want? And stop with the $45 million, that is a mandated, overstated amount that TABOR requires, and the possibility to get there is zero. Surprised you haven’t seen the “new numbers” that put total repayment estimates, even if sales tax collections in the county stayed flat forever (zero possibility, also), at $26-$31 million. That is worst case scenario.

          • ajpagosa

            OK enough with the TABOR crocodile tears. TABOR does not mandate a made up fantasy number. TABOR is meant to put a realistic cap on duration and costs. If this is not realistic it should not be there. But nobody even bothered to run a scenario to find out what i realistic and what isn’t. You guys put it there, own it. Responsible people would have put a realistic cost cap on there with back up calculations. You guys didn’t

            Oh, by the way, 25 years is also on the “never gonna happen” ballot numbers. LAtest GKB says…in order to get 18M with reduced revenue (78%) you have to extend term out to 25 years. So half of the “never gonna happen” just happened.

          • Other Brother

            No, only if you assume sales tax will NEVER go up at all for 20 or 25 years. Everyone always forgets that assumption, but that will never happen. Look closer at the new projection, you’ll see the payback over 25 years is approx $31 million, nowhere near $45 mil, even with the assumption of no sales tax growth ever, for 25 years.

          • ajpagosa

            Bankers cannot use optimistic projections based on stores that don’t exist yet. They are federally regulated underwriters. Jsut like a bank can;t lend you money based on that greta job you know you just aced the interview on.

            You guys keep mixing up the banks numbers with your projections, this is very misleading. You guys are salesmen, you have no requirement to be either honest or reasonable. The bank is a bank it has to follow underwriting guidelines and regulations. I’ll listen to the ban first if you don’t mind. The same one that just cut your credit line 1.5M due to revenue shortfall.

            Now you can spin this all you want with yet another new line through some points on a chart, and wave your hands about walmat and tractor supply. I won’t pay attention to that an the bank won’t either.

            Stated income and no doc loans for individual are gone and good riddance. Gone for municipalities too.

          • Other Brother

            Actually, we understand the differences in projections you mention, the problem is we can’t get council or anyone else to understand them. There is no spin, there are a thousand different scenarios depending on what you believe the future sales tax growth will be, but for now, the town can afford $12-$18 mil even at 78 percent collections, which we knew to be the case long before the bond schedules came out.

          • ajpagosa

            Based on my recent discussions with them I am pretty sure mayor, council, BOCC, etc understand the two sets of numbers very well. What you guys don’t like is they come to a different conclusion about the wisdom of what you want to do.

          • Billy Skipper

            Not ignorant, defiant, as in – you refuse to believe any scenario that predicts this could work. Meanwhile, state sales tax was up almost 4 percent in January, and the worst case scenario based on numbers we know you now have indicates a max repayment of $31 million, and only if the max of $18 million was borrowed and sales tax revenues never went up a dime from what it was last year. Those are irrefutable facts on the bond schedule, no other way to look at it.

          • ajpagosa

            Please stop distorting what I’m saying to fit your strawman arguments. I have never, ever disputed the bond schedule. Bond underwriters, unlike rec center proponents actually have to tell the truth. Which is why they just cut your credit line down to 16.5M for 20 years. Because the projections you provide them were inaccurate.

            Whatever. The point is, just because someone can borrow X it does not mean it is smart or useful or productive to borrow X. To tax a town still in a deep recession for something this unnecessary is irresponsible. To then send off all that money for debt service, that could have stayed here for growth ought to be criminal.

            If you borrow to buy everything toy you think you can afford, you will find out how quickly you can’t afford anything else.

          • ajpagosa

            Again with the diversions. Please, I have looked at the bond schedules til my eyes bleed I know exactly what they say.

            If it is never gonna happen it should never have appeared on a ballot. If the real number was 31M should have put 31M on it, responsible people would have.

            But now you have a legal credit limit of 45M, and I fully expect if this passes, you guys will engineer something that makes it happen. When was the last time any government spent less than it was authorized to on anything?

            I could easily see refis and all sorts of accounting tricks bumping the total up to 45M.

          • Billy Skipper

            Get the heck out. No bond company in its right mind would authorize that much debt, that is only 1 of 1,000 reasons that number is not going to be reached. You can spin in anyway you want, but you still don’t seem to get it – worst case scenario right now would be 18 million over 25 years at zero sales tax growth with a max repayment of $31 mil. The numbers on the bond schedule do not lie, they can’t.

          • ajpagosa

            No, they can’t, but you can.

            If it was impossible why is $45M on the ballot? Why not 31M? If you now only get 16.5M and suddenly we hear you only really needed 12M, why ask for 18M?

            You’ve maxed out your credit line now, on both amount and duration. Boxed in. Better hope rates don’t go up, you’ll find you get even less. Assuming this passes of course.

  • Chris Gerlach

    I am sorry to disagree but this post is absolutely wrong and untrue. We are NOT in great financial shape, we have close to 7 MILLION dollars of projects already approved that are NOT yet funded. How can you say we are in great shape? We have a fragile local economy that is dependent on many conditions and the history shows large swings up and down. It is NOT the time for a risky and very burdensome bond issue with a huge premium.

    • Brian Griffin

      Then I guess we should fire the town auditor. Town has the best level of reserves ever, period. You want to forecast a bleak future, so be it. I believe otherwise. Large swings up and down in the economy? I guess it would surprise you that the worst drop in sales tax during any year of the recession was only 7 percent. In fact, the average annual gain for sales tax over the last two decades has been nearly 5 percent. But I guess you don’t believe the facts. How do I know them? I read the town audit, maybe you should, too.

  • Trout hog

    Almost 200 comments? Really? Can’t vote, but this one is a no-brainer, Pagosa. ANY community that can get a recreation center for a penny sales tax increase should absolutely go for it. They don’t come cheaper than that in this day and age, they just don’t. Can’t really believe this is even a debate. Sheesh.

    • ajpagosa

      The problem isn’t a rec center, or even a tax for one. The numbers do not add up for one this big and expensive, and the county already has a large rec center in Pagosa Lakes. There just aren’t the users for two, and either outcome given that is not going to be pleasant.

      Relative to the size of our economy and actual potential users, this is a monster debt load with no room for error, and no room for additional tax revenue or new projects should we need it.

      Especially now that the county opposes this, we’ve got another tax war on our hands. There are very good reasons why the county did not want one, rec center proponents ignored the elected representatives of 90% of the county and went ahead with it anyway.

      Lot of subtleties here that the cookie cutter rec center arguments just don’t fit.

      • Morkinmindy

        Not really understanding why some peep think the rec center is too big. The community center is about 23,000 sq ft. The plan for this rec center is 44,000 or so, not even double the size of the comm center, and that is with two floors.

        • ajpagosa

          It’s not the size of the building so much as what’s in it. The aquatics stuff is super expensive to build and maintain. You could probably build a rec center even bigger building but no aquatics for 20% or less than this cost. But no one seems to listen to that kind of thinking, not sure what the hurry to build something so costly and luxurious. Is aquatics so important or is a sensible rec center?

          • Dazzle dazzle

            Aquatics was number 1 desire of the public during scoping, probably because there are no public pools here

          • ajpagosa

            Well the problem with that is half or more county residents and time share folks already have a pool they bought and paid for, won;t go to this one. And user fee estimates for a new rec center don’t recognize that. So I am not disputing rest of the Town might want a pool, heck I want a 911 turbo. Not gonna see the income needed to pay for it in either case, but the debt will still be there.

            Lot of other option were not considered here, which is too bad because the county might have got behind some.

          • Fotofinnish

            Every study, all of them, and every consultant who did work on this the last 8 years were fully aware of the PLPOA rec center and ALL reached the same conclusion: more is needed.

          • ajpagosa

            I read the original Ballard King studies, they were seriously flawed. And I might add not updated at all after the recession, not to mention the projections on population etc were all done before the collapse. Almost nothing has been done on any of those studies to reflect the biggest economic collapse the world has seen since the great depression. Odd don’t you think? And yes I have a copy of the 06/07 rec center proposal, almost nothing has changed.

            This kind of stuff is really scary, to a guy like me who has worked some in finance. There is like a willful level of denial going on, not recognizing what we went through and how bad we got it, and are still hurting. I understand the psychology doesn’t mean it is healthy or wise.

          • Morkinmindy

            Your comment reflects why you may be confused on this issue. The “original” Ballard King study you mentioned was done and released last fall, not seven years ago. So it obviously took into account the recession.

          • ajpagosa

            Sigh, I read everything old and new proposals from your group, Ballard King never treated Pagosa Lakes correctly, nor did demographic trends get adjusted for recession in the latest one. It still says we should have 15000 people here now, at the low end of projections.

          • Morkinmindy

            So everyone, all the pros, all the staff, all the bond men and women who have worked on this are wrong and we should defer to you, who has lived here not very long? I’ll go with the pros, thanks.

          • ajpagosa

            Let’s see what the pros say about the 78%.

            BTW the “pros” crashed the world economy recently. Still digging out and the debt load on our children just to scrape by is already staggering. Thanks, pros!

          • Billy Skipper

            We already know what the pros will say, town can borrow $16.5 mil or so over 20 years and $18 mil over 25. That includes an assumption of zero increase in sales tax, ever. Not a problem.

          • ajpagosa

            Let’s see what they come back with, kind of pointless arguing over it now. By that I mean a new bond schedule that everyone can look at.

            They have zero increase in revenues because they are not allowed to do anything else by underwriting standards. See previous remarks.

            One last point. Investment Banks and especially bond underwriters are in the business of lending money. They are not financial advisers. IOW they do not tell you if it is a good idea or a bad idea to borrow the money. Just whether it looks like you can pay it back. They won’t care if you aren’t very happy with your new car or aquatics center, or if you have to eat PB&J sandwiches for the rest of your life and never get to go on vacation.

            In our case they are happy because we put up half the general fund as collateral. And even more.

            This means they think it is a good idea for THEM to lend us the money. That is not the same as it being a good idea for us to borrow it.

          • Billy Skipper

            Actually, if the town chose, Baum could do projections based on slight increases in sales tax. However, the bond companies cannot assume the same for bond ratings. For example, Baum could run the bond schedule with anticipated revenue from Wal Mart as an assumption, but could not use the anticipated opening of Wal Mart to improve the bond rating. Slight difference.

          • Chris Gerlach

            We may be able to borrow it but CAN we pay it back in a way we can afford AND meet our current and future obligations? The Town is NOT a vacume devoid of other costs and problems that must be solved. WE CANNOT afford the burden of this measure to serve the needs of a small group and their desires.

          • Other Brother

            Small group? Look, the surveys say people want a rec center, what we don’t know is how much the public would be willing to pay to get one. We’ll find out. Right now, it’s a penny on the dollar proposal. If that’s not worth it, this community will NEVER have one, at least not one that meets demand.

          • Chris Gerlach

            I have lived here full time since 1997, part time since 1992, and in Crestone, Crested Butte, Colorado Springs, Aspen, and Durango. I have worked IN town and city planning and directly in the tourism industry and service industries relating to them and served on some of the planning efforts for the town in the past. YES ajpagosa IS right, and much of the proposal talk for this measure IS wrong. The town staff used the wrong figures, the potential bond provider used the wrong figures and study after study has projects incorrect figures for growth and development in Pagosa as well as the same wrong decision making has occurred on the national level. This matter is foolish and untimely and will not provide what is promised at a cost we can afford.

          • Morkinmindy

            The proponents, in the interest of accuracy, are the people who went after and got the new 78.5 percent number. Why would they do that if they thought it would hurt their cause? Because it doesn’t, and they want everyone to know the basis for the projections. It is the other side that is twisting figures around and does not understand the finance model. I don’t care how long you have lived here, you are wrong,

          • peakaboo

            NOTHING has been promised. Don’t you get it? We are saying the town can afford to build a rec center in the $12-$18 million range and what the consultants say will “fit” into a building of that cost. Nothing more.

          • Dave

            Your Numbers still don’t “fit” on my calculator.

          • PagosaBill

            Then maybe it’s time for a new one. Do you really think the bond company and town can fudge the loan numbers? Also, you can’t use a simple amortization calculator, that doesn’t apply here.

          • Cowgirl Kimmy

            So all the studies are wrong and you are right? Yeah, ok.

          • ajpagosa

            If that’s how you want to look at it, go right ahead.

          • Chris Gerlach

            Yes ajpagosa IS right and i agree with all of his posts 110 percent.

          • PagosaBill

            How do you know, for sure, we don’t have 15,000 people here? The Censu Bureau can only estimate based on who fills out the paperwork, so there are AT LEAST 12,000 or so folks here, but probably more. Not saying we have 20,000, but I would guess 15,000 might not be inaccurate.

          • ajpagosa

            They also projected 25k at the high end, median forecast 20k. It sure ain’t either of those that’s for sure. No one knows, census took place over the recession. Could even be as little as 10,000.

            The original rec center proposal nearly identical to this one was based around a lot of new luxury residential along HWY 84, before the recession. So it is odd to see it resurrected almost unchanged in cost and scope after what we’ve gone through, and few if any new residents or vast tracts of high-end housing.

          • peakaboo

            Don’t recall factoring in the potential development along 84. But there are more people now, nevertheless.

          • Chris Gerlach

            I not only HAVE read all of the studies I have conducted deep research of my own supported by figures form very highly skilled assessment firms and NONE of the claims of this proposal and its supporters including a variety of new poster names here have support from the actual facts an history. It is NOT something we can afford in this time and economy and NOT a center that will serve the needs of the overall community who does NOT need this kind of luxury. Maybe just lower the price of the Springs attendance with a town subsidy for residents..they have a fine pool already in place.. but for now, this plan is a boondoggle serving a tiny few and the bankers who would buy and sell the bonds.

          • Licoriceking

            Serving a tiny few? How many? Where are your projections? How much can we afford to spend, or borrow? What do you have, if anything, that refutes anything the studies have said? If there is no higher demand for rec facilities, then why is PLPOA expanding? Why is Wal-Mart coming? Because they have done research and know the demographics work for them, here. Same with the rec center. Get real.

          • Dave

            It would be a lot cheaper if The Town just bought everyone that can vote a lot in Pagosa Lakes and also pay their PLPOA dues every year. I bet the voters would go for that

          • ajpagosa

            Yeah except one of the other many inaccuracies is they didn’t realize PLPOA + Wyndham soaks up virtually all rec center users in the county. It’s why no commercial gym can seem to make it here. Not enough people left over. unless you assume all PLPOA users leave and go to the new place 8 miles away. Then you could make comparisons to other counties and towns based on total AC population. But you can’t unless you shut down or ignore PLPOA existence.

          • Vejjatarian

            Actually the costs of the gym memberships have been prohibitive. If you have a membership at the gym downtown, it’s $34 a month for one person, plus no pool, etc. So multiply that by 12 and you get into the range of a family membership for four people at the proposed rec center.

          • ajpagosa

            Well if you subsidize membership costs with taxpayer money, and still run at an operating loss indefinitely, sure it’s cheaper. Families will be paying 250 or ore each year in extra taxes, Even the ones that already have a rec center and paid for it themselves in Pagosa Lakes. And who can’t vote.

            So yeah, my point is still valid. Small gyms with small membership fees (look at yearly rates not monthly) cannot make it. You have to tax everyone in the county to subside a few people’s memberships, and even then run at a loss. Great business model.

            Pagosa Lakes rec center costs 220/yr membership it is 100% paid for. And has a pool. And has 3M expansion on deck (also paid for). Etc etc.

            None of those people will come to a new rec center, but they’ll sure be taxed for it.

          • Vejjatarian

            Well to spend $250 or more in extra taxes, you would have to spend $25,000 or more exclusively within town limits, since the tax would only be a penny on the dollar.

          • ajpagosa

            And your point is? Plenty of families spend 25k locally per year.

            Oh, do you realize the entire city now runs on…2 pennies on the dollar? So we’re going to increase our general fund budget by 50% and blow it all on exercise equipment?

          • Vejjatarian

            My point is, you have no idea what your talking about if you think plenty of families here have at least $25,000 in discretionary income to spend within town limits. That means after car payments, rent or mortgage, utilities, other loans and other items that are not taxable, you believe plenty of families have enough left over to spend $25,000 in town, in addition to what they spend outside of town? We’re that the case, our revenue estimates would be laughably low. Not the case.

          • ajpagosa

            Are food and gasoline subject to sales tax? Hardware store, restaurants, etc.?

          • ajpagosa

            My comment disappeared! Maybe it will come back and mods can delete this double post. What I said was:

            Pretty sure food and gasoline, many maybe even most basic non-discretionary necessities are taxed. Do the math, 1.28M/yr new revenue, 12,000 residents. A bit over $100/yr per person. Rough ballpark # you understand. Even if tourists pay 1/3 still not cheap.

          • Vejjatarian

            Yeah, but c’mon, it won’t be exactly ” per capita,” you know that. Heck, look at Wyndham and PLPOA and tell me the visitors who stay at Wyndham don’t drive the “per capita” costs down. In other words, some trucker on his way through town stops to grab a bite somewhere, a fan belt, whatever, he just paid the tax and drove down the “real” per capita costs.

          • ajpagosa

            I was surprised when I found out how little of the taxable sales were from tourists. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, earlier on people were saying 50% but it is much less than 1/3. Like I said ballpark. Even if it is 50% still family of 5 is on average 250.

            Heck I am single broken down old cranky guy, can barely hobble around the weight room to deadlift, don’t drink or smoke or dine out much, but basic gas food etc is 10k/yr or more. Not hard to see a 3 member family spending 25k on that simple stuff.

          • Other Brothe

            You better do more research. I live in PLPOA, and the $220 you mention is annual dues, but does not include a membership to the jelly of the month club, let alone the rec center. The fees are extra, for my family of four, would be in the $400 range.

          • ajpagosa

            I own a house and live in PLPOA too. I pay $220/year for rec center individual membership. Association fees are extra of course for property owners and cover a multitude of other things. The point is if you live here the fee for rec center is reasonable. It is not subsidized by taxes on people elsewhere. It does not run at an operating loss.

            And the rec center is 100% paid for, by residents, and it does have a pool. And it has 3M in the bank for an expansion starting soon.

            Oh yeah, and likely none of the PLPOA folks would drive an extra 7 miles to go to a new rec center, something the user fee estimates in all the studies do not take into account.

          • Chris Gerlach

            More would be nice and yes studies have thought so too. But studies also projected wildly unrealistic grown which has NOT materialized so those studies are not even worth the ink they were printed with. It is a matter of what we can afford. Period. Consultants and studies to NOT pay the bills or the replayment payments. We CANNOT afford this grand plan at this time.

          • The Bug Catcher

            Population here is up over 20 percent from the time the first rec center studies were done (Under 10,000 full-time in 2007 to over 12,000 now), PERIOD. The population is growing, not receding, and will continue to grow.

          • Dave

            The 90 percent of us that are “prohibited” from voting on this are so grateful for your insight.

          • Backatcha

            hey, don’t think we don’t want you to vote. Your county commissioners were invited to the table, but none showed up. Would LOVE to have county folks vote, for a number of reasons.

          • ajpagosa

            Forgot to address this old comment last night.

            Even if I grant you population has increased, unfortunately those people are spending a lot LESS money since 06. State records show tax receipts for 06 are quite a bit higher, with as you say, 2000 less people. This is not good.

            Furthermore these numbers are not adjusted for inflation. They are in “nominal” dollars. There is a reason why economists don’t use nominal dollars, they use real dollars (adjusted for inflation). Then you can compare past periods of activity with present ones and not be hoodwinked by “growth” that is just inflation. When you do that, and look at tax receipts back 8 years, or 10 or even 20, we are still in a deep deep recession.

            So yeah we may have more people but even in nominal terms, they spending less money, and in real terms quite a bit less money.

            Raising taxes on an economy still in a deep recession, to build luxury facilities that do not promote growth is not very bright.

          • Billy Skipper

            Again, then why are Tractor Supply and Wal-Mart even bothering? Because they know otherwise.

          • ajpagosa

            How does this comment have anything to do with the facts I presented above?

            How does TS and WM coming mean we should go deeply into debt for 25 years NOW? to buy exercise equipment? Not following the logic here.

            I am glad they are coming, they recognize a retail opportunity to capture sales presently drained off to Durango and Farmington, and perhaps draw from other areas like Dulce and Chama. Yes we will reap more sales tax from it but to me that means we don’t need and shouldn’t add another 1% tax on top of it. Finish off current programs, get a nice surplus, get our balance sheet spruced up.

            Such a great big hurry to tax people and run up big debt. I suppose the kindest way to say it is, it just seems immature and short-sighted.

    • Chris Gerlach

      sorry Trout Hog, no it is NOT just a penny on the dollar. It is a matter of a huge debt that includes measures that ties up a sizable portion of our future income and prevents the Town from responding to economic swings. Also the center as proposed will be very expensive to build and maintain and on top of that the fact is that the original projects of the potential bond issuer were based on wrong numbers..so with the new accurate numbers the amount of money the town can borrow is quite a bit less. It is NOT Cheap and it is I agree a no brainer but a no brainer AGAINST this foolish measure.

      • Licoriceking

        Wrong. Look, if you don’t understand the finance, quit posting. The town, if needed, can borrow up to $18 million, even with the “new numbers,” which is exactly what the ballot language says. In fact, the town can borrow that much if sales tax never went up a penny from last year’s in-town collections of 78.5 percent.

        • Dave

          $400 per sq. ft. and boom you got a Rec center? Don’t have to pay for the land? I can see why you want it but it sounds a little to good to be true? You might want to scale her down a just a little.

          • Licoriceking

            Better check the plan; it’s $12-$13 million, maybe, for the rec center and then permits, etc. for the rest, if needed. A lot of the “soft costs” would not come into play because the town would not charge itself for permits to build it.

          • ajpagosa

            So when did the rosy supporters’ projections jump to 5% annual increase from 2.4%? Trying to track all the new optimism in the face of declining revenue assumptions the bankers now have to use.

            Nice to see costs “dropping” to 12M all of a sudden. Hmm…maybe in a few weeks it’ll get down to 5M.

          • PagosaBill

            Don’t think you we’re at the meetings, but 4.5 percent was the 20 year average gain, which is now 4.65 if you include last year. The 2.42 number, now at about 2.6, was the last 10 years average gain, which includes the recession, of course.

          • ajpagosa

            And the 20 year includes the boom-bubble, never to be repeated.

          • Vejjatarian

            12 mil has always been the lower end, 18 the high.

          • Dave

            Or, you could dig a big hole in the ground and swim in all that natural warm bubbly goodness. I bet you could dig out a nice little swimming hole for a little less than 1 Million Dollars

  • pagosasun

    Please be aware of the site’s commenting policy. You can find the link at the bottom of this page. No personal attacks of any kind are acceptable.

  • Festive Lamb

    It’s not the SUN’s responsibility to inform the public. Oh, I thought the only newspaper “of record” for this county, one that proclaims it is “the most trusted source for local news” might be interested in presenting an objective story on this issue. Funny how you laud it when a blatant slant reinforces your opinion, but duck behind the “no responsibility” cloak when someone demands accountability. Joke of a paper. Wish The Durango Herald would set up a satellite edition over here, or do a story on this. Hey, wait a minute … Maybe it is.

  • Penny Onnadalla

    No, we wouldn’t be behind it if ANY of us believed what you believe will happen

    • ajpagosa

      That is because you either don’t understand what could happen, or people have hippo-tized you with a lot of bait and switch and “for the kids” slogans, and are gazing fixedly at shiny new toys you could have with OPM. Or you work for one of the bankers pushing this and have a vested interest in it.

      I doubt anyone who understood town’s real financial situation and finance would approve. Mayor doesn’t approve, BOCC doesn’t, quite a few past and present council members don’t, quite a few local businessmen etc. You pretend anyone that opposes is a neanderthal but that’s just not true. Then you go off on the infomercial slogans and jingoism and personal attacks.

      • PagosaBill

        Other people’s money? You know that supporters realize they will have to pay for it, too. In fact we all have the option not to pay for it.

  • Dave

    Wow. All this just cause a few people want a pool in their backyard. How much would it cost if the Town just gave everyone a free swimming pool in their backyard. The answer is pretty funny actually.

    • littledrummerboy

      with the amount of money being proposed to build the rec center, the county could simply mail a check for $2000 to every man, woman and child in the area to use on the recreation of their choice. we already live in a wonderful, natural recreation center, don’t we?

      • Dave

        I like your math. It easy for me to relate to. Math-Fu. Welcome to my Dojo Sensei.

  • voter

    can we discuss possible middle grounds?
    maybe like:
    making a deal with, investing in expanding the existing uptown rev center?

    or hybridizing the geothermal downtown domed into rec
    space ?

    maybe adding a pool, etc to the high school, to serve double duty?

    maybe we could test out geothermal to heat the bike path we need to finish, so we are better educated when it comes to utilizing geothermal in big expressive brick and mortar projects…?

    site would be nice if we had a bike/golfcart/moped trail to uptown….

    • voter

      please excuse typos

    • voter

      can’t help but feel it would be rather pathetic, and irresponsible of us as a community, not to utilize our geothermal gift in any proposed rec center…

      • Fotofinnish

        I agree. That has been considered, and not ruled out, but can’t happen unless a yes vote happens first.

        • voter

          but we need a concrete plan, not just contrary numbers and dreams, to vote on.

          we already have the community center and the youth center and the library downtown for gathering…
          does the proposed rec center need to be so huge?
          can we suss out phases eventually?

          there are just too many questions and variables and further investigating to be done before we can decide on this responsibly.

          • Morkinmindy

            The numbers game will always be argued. But the bond counsel wouldn’t even sniff at this if the numbers proposed were inaccurate, as some here claim. The building is not going to be as huge as you might think – the community center is 23,000 square feet and has only 1 level. The rec center is about 45,000 square feet, but with two levels, so the footprint won’t be a whole lot larger than what you see at the community center. In fact, some folks feel it will be too small already if it passes, since there is such a lack of gym space.

        • ajpagosa

          “…but can’t happen unless a yes vote happens first”

          No no no Mr Foto, this is completely incorrect.

          You only need a “yes” vote to impose your beloved new tax on people. Plenty of other more responsible and fair ways to look into all these good suggestions without having to tax first and ask questions later.

          Including waiting for Walmart and Tractor Supply get going, and producing a revenue stream. And even a surplus.

          In the mean time you look at all these alternatives, try to budget completion of exiting programs, and (gasp!) maybe even build consensus with BOCC for a more appropriate rec center the county can all get behind and vote on if a tax is still needed.

          Then (double gasp!) with good revenue stream, better projections, BOCC and Town on board, if a bond issue is needed, it might only be 0.5% county-wide. Leaving another 0.5% for later if needed for other projects. We’d get better treatment all around from bankers and investors with a healthier balance sheet and a safer margin of error on budget projections.

          Absolutely no reason to do this new tax now. Especially with an unknown new council and mayor coming in on the same ballot.

          • Fotofinnish

            No new taxes, fine. No new public amenities. That simple. Look no further than out your window to prove it.

          • ajpagosa

            No, again with the wrong, dude. You guys all keep saying we should tax tax tax, and like, we can afford it because TS and Walmart are coming.

            Stick with me here. What I am saying is yeah, TS and Walmart are coming so let’s wait, and fix everything up without raising taxes. After we see how much is left over from the new revenue and finishing existing projects, then we look into rec center and bonds etc if we need to. We might not. No one is arguing wr might not have more revenue with WM & TS coming.

            I am more worried frankly we scare away a WM or other progress with silly tax policy like this, buying lavish rec centers with chickens that haven’t hatched yet, ahead of basic infrastructure needs.

            You realize we lose our tax advantage over neighboring counties when we do this.

          • foot finish

            I get ya, to some degree, and I don’t think proponents want anything different than to keep as much money here as possible. Problem is, the town and county will never have enough in reserves to build a rec center outright. So they are trying to get a jump while it is arguably most affordable to do so, especially since Wally and tractor supply are coming. Even if it passes, the doors couldn’t open until 2016 at the earliest, and that is why props believe now is the right time.

          • ajpagosa

            Well thanks for at least trying to understand my points. Unfortunately you’ll be sending the entire new tax out of the county for debt maintenance, and that’s jobs and investment gone forever.

            I happen to think we could get a cooperative effort going for a Town County partnership rec center, voted on county-wide, and would work for one, if we had a better looking balance sheet and after finishing existing projects.

            Bankers like happy balance sheets and budget surpluses. Even though general rates are “low” we’re not getting what you’d call great rates, only an A rating, and we’re maxing out what we could get with a whole lot of lipstick on the bacon.

          • Fotofinnish

            Again, I get what you’re saying, but your posts indicate you haven’t lived here long, so you’ll have to excuse some of us who have – point being, things tend to drag on here forever without getting done. Heck, Wal-Mart should have been open before Thanksgiving 2012. The pace here makes us nervous, so if we seem urgent, it’s not necessarily be we are all wack jobs.

          • ajpagosa

            I get your point too. Been here 3 years, 6 years before that in other Colorado mountains towns, same story everywhere.

            My understanding of walmart delays here are many of the folks for the rec center opposed walmart and a small very vocal group held it up pretty effectively. Now oddly enough many of that vocal group are behind the current rec center proposal but use walmart coming on line to justify the cost.

            And the person most instrumental to bringing walmart here, the mayor, opposes the rec center. All very confusing still sorting it out myself.

          • Forofinnish

            Yes, it is ironic that some of the same folks who fought Wally now realize it would help not only with the rec center, but much more.

          • ajpagosa

            Well I wish they’d look at their positions a little more closely before getting so vocal. I happen to think they’re wrong about the rec center tax too.

          • Fotofinnish

            To tell a “secret,” most proponents believed that when this was resurrected, the county would be willing to partner on the project and a full penny might not be necessary. Some still think that once certain personalities are removed from the equation, that still may happen, whether it passes or not. But for now, props will do their best to get it done, with or without formal help from the county.

          • ajpagosa

            This is a little too much inside baseball for me. But I recently met some of these folks you may be referring to and asked them hard questions about why they oppose this, and they gave good well-reasoned answers. These are people who care deeply about their community and are intimately acquainted with the finances, with decades of experience in public service. No one is around that long or in those positions without making enemies though.

            On the other side I think a lot of otherwise well meaning people are being exploited “for”, who don’t have the time or background to understand the issues.

            Lot going on here sub-rosa, not to mention old feuds.

          • Fotofinnish

            You would get well-reasoned answers from most proponents, too, though you may disagree with them.

          • ajpagosa

            Not seeing a whole lot of sound reasoning or civil behavior here from supporters Yourself excluded of course.

          • Billy Skipper

            Well when a county commissioner who is tight with the mayor gets caught pulling YES signs out of private property, people tend to get a little cranky.

          • Fotofinnish

            The mayor does not oppose the rec center as much as he does some of the folks who support it. Sad, really, to put personalities before the issue at hand, but that is how it goes here, sometimes.

          • ajpagosa

            One could make the same point about the person leading the “for” group, maybe even more so. Lot of stuff going on here.

            One of them wants to tax me more, without my consent, for something I don’t want or need, that based on what I see is very expensive relative to what the town can afford.

            The other doesn’t want to. The one who doesn’t has been here running things 36 years, so I’ll listen to what he has to say about finances before that other guy, who among other things is a relative newcomer.

          • Fotofinnish

            Yes, perhaps, but in the middle you have people who really want to see a better community. Not saying the mayor and the other guy, who isn’t really leading the charge, by the way, (i assume you mean M.W.) don’t, but they both have egos to tend to. My hope would be for everyone to get past the egocentric folks on either side and really decide for themselves. We will see.

          • ajpagosa

            I am pretty sure everyone opposing this middle or not wants a better community too, we just do not agree this is the way to do it.

    • Penny Onnadalla

      We’re working on town to lakes trail too, but need a lot of easements. You have great suggestions; but the PLPOA can’t just open the doors to anyone without their own vote and the county, at this point, wants nothing to do with this, which is really odd. It’s not that proponents don’t agree with what you’ve said, it’s just that we believe they can happen simultaneously rather than in succession.

    • Dave

      It’s been a long road to get back home folks. Welcome back to your Comprehensive Plan. Just cause you say your gonna jump doesn’t mean you have to:

      “I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend
      You could cut ties with all the lies, that you’ve been living in, and if you do not want to see me again
      I would understand, I would understand.
      – Third Eye Blind – Jumper Lyrics

  • JH

    Nice to see modern light cast upon my former town, even if it ruffles a few quills. There should be a recreation center already. To wait is the real risk. Go boldly forward. Vote yes and it will prove worthwhile.

  • Stop it Clifford

    Tell you what folks, the next time we catch a certain county commissioner who is tight with the mayor trespassing and pulling YES signs out of yards at the direction of the mayor, we will prosecute. You can oppose all you want within the limits of the law, a good debate is healthy, but next time we’re calling the police and filing a report.

  • Kemo Sabee

    This quote sums it up for me. (taken from the Post)
    “We are electing a new Town Council and a new Mayor on the same ballot as the Rec Center. Do we really want to hand over a blank check for up to $45 million — backed by this kind of fuzzy accounting — to a group of people we don’t even know yet?

    Please vote NO on the rec center.”

    • jblack

      Exactly! NO on Ballot measure A

    • Billy Skipper

      You guys still don’t get it. Not gonna be anywhere near 45 million, but whatever. Any quote taken from The Post holds no accuracy, for me. No fuzzy accounting, highly regulated industry. Max payment on most current numbers would be 31 mil, even if worst case scenario. Deceive yourselves, if you want, though.

      • ajpagosa

        Billy, thought you got recycled dude! Hey where’s that retraction you went on and on about for ages?

        Anyway, about the 45M, sadly for you guys, I am afraid we do get it. If you only needed 31M worst case scenario you should have put 31M on the ballot, end of story. That is what TABOR is for. A legit worst case cap on costs. Not a made-up number.

        Either through arrogance or negligence you guys put 45M on there, it is yours and now you want it to be ours. It is a legally binding upper limit on borrowing authority if it passes. And I can see many ways an unscrupulous person could convince a naive new town council to max it out.

        It’s like leaving a clause on a home loan where the bank can charge you 50% more every month, but doesn’t tell you how or why or when, and they say “don’t worry, never gonna happen” wink-wink.

        Would you sign a loan doc with terms like that? How about if your spouse or best friend asked you to co-sign? Would you hand power of attorney over your family’s finances for 25 years to people you don’t know who had written something like that?

        Well that’s what giving the blank-check “never gonna happen” ballot language to a new council and mayor would be.

  • Billy Skipper

    I guess the SUN would rather go to court than print the retraction? Anyway, nobody with common sense will believe the scare tactics, anymore. I chuckle when I see so-called community legends and leaders putting and pulling yard signs at a feverish pace, writing letters to the editor and putting forth unfounded claims of “decades of debt” which indicate they clearly do not understand the issue completely, or at least pretend not to because someone “ordered” them to not understand. I laugh when I hear how we need to finish everything before starting anything new, yet there is proof everywhere that things can begin and be finished within the parameters of a larger, long-term vision and a master plan. Look no further than Yamaguchi Park, the improved River Walk, Reservoir Hill, etc. I find it ironic that some of the very same folks who believed in those visions are now doubting their own community’s ability to accomplish this one simply because the numbers are larger, the footprint more expansive, and the task more bold. No matter how this turns out, there is a shift occurring, the fact that this project has come this far proves that. For over eight years, we’ve been told “now is not the time.” When is the time? After the chance has passed? I laugh hardest when I hear folks claim they want a rec center, “just not this one,” then claim there are better ways to do it without offering proof, not believing that this method, indeed, is simply how most are realized. The same folks who are claiming there is too much left undone are the same folks who left so much undone, much of it because of the same fears and mistrust you see now in the letters to the editor and comment sections of little-read forums. So spew your fear, your propaganda, your Armageddon scenarios and your conspiracy theories. Win or lose, the path forward has been blazed; this will not go away, and those of us who believe in our community and a better future for all will continue to chip away until we reach our goals.

    • ajpagosa

      Sorry Billy,
      Make all the impassioned, poorly-reasoned, incoherent pleas you can (try using paragraphs next time). Even keep all the vague insinuations and conspiracy theories, kind of breaks up the monotony.

      But sadly doesn’t change the fact that we still can’t borrow our way to prosperity, and this is still a bad idea, even if the bank would lend us the money. Well, now less money, but let’s not get into that here.

      $45M debt? Vote NO, if you are allowed to.