Rec revenues

Dear Editor:

I would like to address only one issue, and that is the newer 25-year 5-percent tax revenue growth projections the rec center supporters are using.

First of all, they switched to the 25-year 5-percent growth projections only after they made a serious error in the anticipated revenue the new tax would net. They had originally assumed it would cover 100 percent of county retail sales. It only covers 78 percent. The bankers had to reduce what they’d lend us over 20 years as one consequence. We can no longer borrow $18M for 20 years. That error also cut out $250k of the Operations and Maintenance budget supporters had hoped to cover. So they had to come out with new numbers.

Their original 2.5 percent projections were based on a 10-year sales tax history. But another serious error was made there. The state did an audit and found that the county was owed over $1M of additional sales tax revenue from the period 2003-2008. So those numbers should be higher but no one knows what they should be. If you take the $1M refund, which we received as revenue in 2010, and spread it out over 2003-2008, you would get much less than 2.5 percent average growth to the present. In fact actual revenue would be a lot lower now than the peak of those years. You might not get any growth if you averaged, maybe even an average contraction. But that doesn’t matter, because they just went back 25 years instead.

They went back to a time before the housing boom of the 90’s started, before all the double-digit growth. They took one number, a before-boom revenue number. Then they took another number, the most recent one. They pressed some buttons on a calculator and came up with 5 percent average growth rate per year. Except the problem with that is, for a glorious time in the 90’s and early 00’s, Archuleta County was the fastest or second-fastest growing county in the state. So that’s why they went back to just before the wild bubble and cherry-picked their new starting point to average from. It pumps the average up as high as it can go.

The other problem with that approach is the growth rates that we experienced then will never be repeated. Ever, not unless something happens again like when our undiscovered, sparsely-populated Archuleta County got hit with a national hysteria for vacation homes. Fueled by cheap financing, no down payment, baby-boomer demographics, and no credit checks. Compared to those crazy initial growth rates the subsequent recession we’re still recovering from is small. What are the odds, do you think, we’ll see growth like that again? But supporters want you to believe we will.

Can we trust our future to people who make these kinds of fundamental errors, and then try to cover them up with even rosier misleading projections?

Please vote no on 25 years and $45M debt.

Albert Jenab

This story was posted on April 3, 2014.

One Response to Rec revenues

  1. jblack

    April 3, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    thank you Albert!