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Recreation Center projections updated

Staff Writer

With the Town of Pagosa Springs election just around the corner, questions continue to surround Ballot Issue A -— a proposed debt and sales tax increase for a new community recreation center.

While not all of the questions surrounding the ballot issue can be answered prior to an election, proponents of the measure — Kathie Lattin, Tom Carosello and Christine Funk — sat down with SUN staff Wednesday with the most recent bond projections available in attempts to clarify some aspects of the issue.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100. 

This story was posted on March 13, 2014.
  • Billy Skipper

    Before the doomers arrive … 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

      Couple of obvious questions. Why were no opponents interviewed? Will they be interviewed in the future? Haven’t got my new print edition yet so I apologize if it is addressed there.

      Where is the famous retraction Billy keeps whining about, WRT previous article about inaccurate numbers being used in projections? Those numbers were wildly inaccurate estimates of revenue from the new tax (off by 22%), and the story was accurate. Why does he keep bringing up threats of going to court over this?

      And Billy, why did you post the same exact incoherent tirade in two threads? Wasn’t one enough? Could mods please delete at least one of them, say from the “rec center discussion continues” article”? Thanks. Then we can commence destroying his “arguments” in this one, and not have to do it twice.

      Thank you.

      Oh, nearly forgot: Please vote NO on $45M debt.

    • Chris Gerlach

      This proposal is FLAWED and very burdensome to the town and the community. There is NO path being blazed or a plan that waits for completion, there is only a ruinous and very short sighted attempt to get our community involved in an expensive boondoggle similar to many that continue to be proposed in towns and cities and indeed in countries around the world. Yes it would be nice to have another rec center but not funded in such an expensive and wrong way. And it is NOT fear but realism to see the history of Pagosa and the trends up and down that have NOT stablaized as we need to broaden our economic base and support our resources that we already have. We cannot afford this proposal. The attacks and harsh language of these posts trying to ram it thru have been very sad to see. WE do NOT LIKE this kind of tactics here nor are they necessary of the plan had merit. It does not. Vote NO. Just say NO to these attempts to force thru a luxury we cannot afford at this time and frankly do not need. There are plenty of resources for recreation already here. We have pressing needs for the young, the elderly, and the town already that need to be met first: public transportation, development of our trails, support for marketing our town for increase in visiting to help the economy, support for projects already approved. Vote NO.

    • Ray Sobol

      I’m new here so I don’t understand your comment about a lawsuit and a retraction.
      But more important, does someone have answers to the following questions?
      1. What is the bond amount that will be sold?
      2. At current interest rates for that amount, what will the payments be and for how many years will the payments last?
      3. What will interest rates have to increase to so that the repayment will require the maximum 25 year term and will reach the maximum payment amount of $1,800,000 per year (for the $45 million maximum listed in the ballot measure)
      4. How much money each year will the 1% sales tax raise?
      5. What will the annual operating costs of the rec center be?
      Based on the above, I can figure out if the sales tax will be sufficient to cover the repayment of the bonds and the operating costs or will the town have to subsidize the rec center from the current budget.
      The only other issues would seem to be:
      – the issue of whether the rec center is the top priority for the town, and
      – should the town force people to pay for a rec center that many people may not use.

      • ajpagosa

        Good questions, many have been asked by others. There is a steep learning curve but lot of deeper discussion and commentary over on the Pagosa Daily Post website.

        You should consider the fact that the whole county will be taxed for this due to odd zoning of nearly all retail as “town”, and yet only 10% of county residents get to vote.

        Also there is one large rec center serving a large portion of the county population, in Pagosa Lakes, with an indoor pool. It is already 100% paid for by PL residents, currently profitable. There is no room for a second rec center, in terms of non-PL users. Yet user fee revenue estimates for the new center do not take this into account or assume many PL users will switch. Despite the fact that PL residents will be taxed for a new center.

        Many other issues this article does not address, proposed financing is very shady.

  • ajpagosa

    Public service announcement:

    I have just now looked into this and want to remind supporters and opponents alike that there are fairly strict rules governing political sign size and placement. There is a long document on the County website, please read it carefully before you start hammering signs into the ground.

    Basically you cannot put signs on public property, public right of way, street easements, etc. You also must have written permission if placing on private property not your own. If signs are found to be in violation of any of these rules, or the many others in the regs, they will be removed.

    I might also add, being a cynical old veteran observer of sleazy political stunts, certain people since the dawn of modern elections INTENTIONALLY place signs in prohibited areas, where they know they will be removed, and then complain loudly about it when they are. This is often done by people who feel they are losing and need something to spin.

    Let’s not go there, things are bad enough as it is.

    That is all.

    Oh yeah, vote NO on $45M debt for stair climbers and a lazy river.

  • ajpagosa

    There are a number of omissions, distortions and inaccuracies in the above interview. Will try to address some in the limited space available here. Please refer to full print article.

    Omission: the new 78.5% number means we qualify to borrow less. We can no longer borrow 18M for 20 years. That has been reduced to $16.5M for 20 years. In order to borrow the full 18M we must take the term out to 25 years. In other words we are now maxed out for what we can borrow in both amount and duration.

    Omission: Even worse. The original plan had 250k/year in operating costs also covered by the tax, but that was assuming the new tax covered 100% county sales. We now know that % is wrong, and everyone (except GKB) has for quite some time. Well, now the bank knows it too and the $250k/yr O&M cost is no longer covered and must come from some other revenue. Where? no one knows and no one is talking. The bank will not allow it to be bundled into the amount as we now cannot qualify to borrow any more than 16.5M. That is a 5M hole in the 20 year budget, and a 6.25M hole in 25 years.

    Distortion: No worst case scenarios have ever been run by anyone. Just because the present scenario, which is the best the bank can consider allowed by law and underwriting regulations LOOKS worse to supporters does not mean it is a worst case scenario. Worst case scenario looks more like, “what if revenue drops to recent recession lows, and we still have to make payments?” Bank is making us put up $1.7M in extra collateral per year form general fund, at least they are thinking even if supporters aren’t.

    Inaccuracy: Being generous here. Discussion of calculation present in interview for 44.9M number is significantly at odds with a conversation I had with the same GKB person two weeks ago. The number is and always was a wild guess. It is not a worst case scenario, in some ways it is a best case scenario, if someone is stupid enough to lend us that much money for that long.

    • Billy Skipper

      Funny how thinks the SUN does a great job quoting him and the opponents one week, but thinks they’ve dropped the ball when they publish accurate information the next week. Go figure. Once again, to believe scenarios, you have to be pessimistic enough to believe sales tax collections won’t go up at all, forever. That will not be the case; over the last 20 years, countywide sales tax collections have gone up nearly 5 percent annually, and, in fact, in-town collections rose nearly 9 percent from 2012 to 2013. The truth is, the town will not know how much to borrow until after a schematic design can be done, geotechnical tests performed, etc. There is no guarantee the town will borrow up to the max of $18 million, as some would have you believe, though the range is $12 – $18 million. The town may never know, of course, if a ballot measure never passes – which is what the rest of the cynics want. For more answers, visit pagosareccenter.com.

      • ajpagosa

        Billy,
        None of what you just wrote has anything to do with the factual omissions, distortions, and inaccuracies I presented above. Maybe if you’d address them truthfully you have some credibility left.

        Oh, and why should how accurately they reported my comments from the city council meeting affect how I perceive inaccuracies in the above article? Makes no sense.

        Finally, didn’t your good friend threaten to sue based on imaginary inaccuracies from an earlier article? Didn’t you spend days going on about a big retraction? Where is the lawsuit? Where is the retraction? There isn’t one because the original article was 100% accurate. Like the numbers and analysis I present above.

        Please vote NO on the rec center, and vote AGAINST any candidates supporting it.

      • ajpagosa

        ????

        What does how accurate last week’s article about comments transcribed from a council meeting have to do with statements made by interviewees in another article in this week’s edition? Clue me in on the thinking here, do not see any relation at all.

        Oh and the BANK certainly does not believe your projections either, otherwise you’d get more money. See, they have to worry about like, getting paid back

        • Billy Skipper

          The bank says the town can borrow up to $18 million over 25 years, which the ballot language permits, even if sales tax does not go up, and it undoubtedly will. Not a problem.

          • ajpagosa

            No actually the bank before said we could borrow 18M over 20 years, they had to cut to 16.5M because we don;t have the verified income. Get it? They had to push the term out to 25 years, already one of the “never gonna happen”numbers on the ballot. When do we hit the other one?

            Hey and what about 250k/yr O&M that was rolled into previous costs? That is no longer covered. 5M expense hole in 20 and 6.25M in 25. Talking some big numbers here gotta come from somewhere else.

          • Billy Skipper

            One more time – if you believe sales tax collections will be negative or never go up at all forever, keep going. If you have a hunch they might, we can argue different scenarios. Again, we don’t know if the town will have to borrow the max of $18 million.

          • ajpagosa

            You can figure all you want, except the bank is still the bank and won’t lend you money on it. Bank is cutting our credit line, we have less income than we thought we did a month ago, a lot less.

            Even you should admit your projections will have less revenue than you thought earlier. But you won’t, you’ll just raise the % growth you expect and voila! Still OK, that Enron accounting is awesome. Amazing how that happens even when you lose 22% of the income you said you’d have.

          • Billy Skipper

            The bank DID the projections. Period. No problem.

          • ajpagosa

            Maybe…but they cannot be used to determine how much you can borrow, see the difference? Anyone can run a spreadsheet, according to any fantasy you ask for, they won’t lend us their money based on those though. And they shouldn’t.

          • Billy Skipper

            Wrong. The bond schedule indicates, at the time it is performed, precisely how much the town can expect to borrow. Why else would they run the numbers, for entertainment?

          • ajpagosa

            LOL, entertainment is all they’re good for, you just just confirmed it. Bank will not lend money against them. They are worthless. If wishes were horse whisperers..

            By the way maybe it is time once and for all for you to reveal your real identity? I find it very unusual that nearly all the people arguing so loudly and repetitively spouting the tired old talking points FOR this won’t reveal their names. But they all have insider info…

            Just weird the folks here who want to drive us so deeply into debt are anonymous and refuse to identify themselves?

            Whaddya say BIlly, come on it’ll be fun. Hope all those other supporters are’t sock puppets, if you know what that means.

          • Billy Skipper

            No projections of positive gain have been used in the BOND scenarios, but could be. Positive gain projections cannot be used to merit a higher bond rating, however. The props have been using average gain data based on real numbers over the last two decades, but not for the bond schedule. What we’re saying is, you can expect, based on history, to see positive gains in the sales tax collections going forward, also. Nothing more.

          • ajpagosa

            I know exactly what you are saying and you know exactly what I am saying but you refuse to stop acting like a weasel.

            Bank cannot use YOUR growth projections to underwrite OUR bonds. Period. They must use our present tax receipts, esp to float a new sales tax for a revenue bond. End of story.

            You are pretending to not understand that and mixing it all up to confuse voters. Your projections mean nothing to the bank, and cannot be used to set the terms of our offering. Furthermore they are using the best possible scenario they are allowed to. It is not worst case at all, not even close.

          • Billy Skipper

            Actually, the “bank” can use growth projections to underwrite the bonds, it just can’t use them to improve bond rating. You are correct, however, that what the bond assumes for debt service and what proponents assume for operating expenses and such are different projections, the latter being based on real, historical sales tax collection data. Not hard to figure out. You are the one who is confusing the two, not I.

  • Billy Skipper

    A case study, to chew on. Fruita, a town of about 12,500, passed their initiative during the midst of the recession, and look what’s happened, since.

    FUNDING, NUMBERS,
    
FRESH
    IDEAS

    In 2008, it
    wasn’t a shoo-in to persuade Fruita residents they needed a $13.7 million
    recreation center, with an indoor and outdoor pool, anchored by the library and a senior center. Voters initially deadlocked on, then narrowly approved, a sales-tax increase to build and operate the 55,000-square-foot recreation center.

    Yet since the doors opened in late January 2011, customers have not stopped flooding in and revenue continues to exceed expectations.

    The center put aside a $149,000 surplus last year and $260,000 in extra funds in 2012. User fees provide 85 percent of costs to run the facility. Last year’s expenses were
    $1.8 million, said Rob Cook, facility manager. Surplus funds are saved for
    future capital improvements, such as the installation of a water slide that
    begins at the inside pool, heads through the wall and dumps swimmers in the outside pool.

    Officials believed they would meet the 500,000-customer mark by early January, but even that milestone was trumped. That half-a-million customer mark was met at about noon last Monday. In general, the center expects 110,000 visits a year, but
    those numbers have consistently run about 167,000 guests a year. Revenue continues to rise as the facility becomes more popular. For example, when the center opened, it hosted 600 swim lessons a year. In 2013, it completed 1,300 swim lessons.

    “We rock the swim
    lessons,” Cook said.

    To keep things fresh, community center officials plug in activities to meet needs, such as a basketball camp during the two-week winter break for District 51 students. They
    provide recreational teams for students who want to be more competitive in sports but don’t make school teams. They’ve launched a guest speaker series. A class called CancerFit, a wellness class, is directed to those affected by
    cancer. Seniors can choose from a host of activities; one of the more creative ones is this weekend’s overnight adventure to Glenwood Springs for a vaudeville show and a soak in the Hot Springs Pool.

    • ajpagosa

      Last time I looked Town of Pagosa Springs has 1/8th the population of Fruita. And Fruita does not have another profitable rec center already built and paid for, like Pagosa Lakes is here. No one from Pagosa Lakes or from Wyndham is going to go to a new rec center 8 miles away when they can just walk out their front door. and they represent most of the potential users.

      You keep trying to float these comparisons to cities that don’t even remotely apply to us and our unique situation. Guess you gave up on Durango when everyone finally figured out Durango’s economy is more than 10 times ours in size yet their center cost less to build than you’re asking for.

      • Billy Skipper

        That article is from The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, not a proponents group. By the way, 12,000 folks here, plus tourists, so the comparison with respect to population is accurate.

        • ajpagosa

          No it isn’t accurate at all. First of Fruita has tourists too, and Fruita does not have a PLPOA. You want to compare county to county be my guest. It still does not have a PLPOA siphoning off half or more users.

          And yes, rec center supporters are known to plant positive articles in local papers. And this one has made the rounds already.

          • Billy Skipper

            So would it surprise you to know that PLPOA, at only 17,000 square feet, averages over 500 per day (in the summer)?? Oh, I forgot, those folks will ALL stay up there. Nevermind. Right. I suppose nobody will visit Wal-Mart because we have City Market and Alco?

          • ajpagosa

            Not even close on rec center summer averages, missed by a mile. Maybe a peak day or summer holiday weekend was over 500. Average summer daily more like 350. Off season not even close. You need to get your facts straight.

            And the point was Fruita averages over 500/day all year long. Durango 1000.

          • Billy Skipper

            PLPOA has no say in what Wyndham can or can’t do. If Wyndham wants to send everyone downtown, so be it. Now it’s 8 miles to downtown, huh?

          • ajpagosa

            Please check your facts, you could not be more incorrect. Call Hagman, call Munday.

          • Billy Skipper

            Perhaps I should be more clear. If someone wants to buy a timeshare here and stay at Wyndham, he or she can do whatever they please while here. They do not have to go to the PLPOA rec center just because there is currently an agreement in place, just like I don’t have to join the rec center here simply because I live in PLPOA.

          • ajpagosa

            That is correct. But that is not the issue being discussed. No one ever said people can’t go to a new rec center, just that people who already pay for one that is very convenient to their location are unlikely to. But the Ballard study assumes many or even most will.

            But what you may not know is Wyndham owners pay a significant recreation fee to use PLPOA rec center. They also pay an assessment fee which is not optional. All PLPOA property owners do. That bulk rec fee for timeshare owners is not optional, but for other property owners the rec fee is optional.

            The bulk rec fee paid by Wyndham has been claimed to be solely under the discretion of Wyndham management to throw to a new rec center, and certain people have claimed they will do that and have an agreement to do so in place.

            I followed up on that claim and it is 100% false. Not only that, the bulk fee is not 300k as they claim, it is 194k. And even if they could somehow get that, in addition to losing PLPOA rec center access they would lose access to lakes and all other rec amenities in PLPOA.

            So like I said, ain’t gonna happen.

          • Billy Skipper

            There doesn’t have to be a formal “switch,” as I mentioned. You can simply decide for yourself which rec center you want to go to based on the amenities offered. Show me in the Ballard King study where it says one person will leave the PLPOA rec center. It doesn’t. Again, all the consultants the town hired have been very aware of the PLPOA facility and still believe a new one works.

          • Capt Powder

            B&K may be aware of the PLPOA rec center and all the other gyms and studios(yoga/Pilates) in town, but they did not factor that into their analysis. The last sentence of the first page of the report states: “Alternative service providers can have an impact upon membership, daily admissions and associated penetration rates for programs and services.” So the projected revenues for a new rec center are significantly inflated. After 5 years,the required subsidy would exceed 2.6 million dollars and recovery rate would be less than 50 percent, based on their numbers.
            I wonder how many of the rec center proponents have actually read B&K’s report?

          • Billy Skipper

            Uh, no. How in the world are you coming up with a 2.6 million subsidy?

          • Capt Powder

            On page 34 of the report they show a shortfall of $491,575 for the first full year of operations. The town will have to make up the difference, a subsidy. On page 35 they forecast an annual increase in expenditures of 4 percent with an increase in revenues of 5-10 percent in the first 3 years and then 3 percent or less every year after. Run the numbers yourself. Tell me what you come up with.
            Did you read the B&K report? Bonus question for you. What annual increase in expenditures did the proponents of the rec center use?

          • Billy Skipper

            You are forgetting the revenue from the bond, which makes up the difference. The difference does not have to be made up in revenue from admissions, etc.

          • Capt Powder

            Exactly my point. The rec center after year 5 will always have a shortfall of over 500k every year. I don’t think most people are aware of that. After the bond is payed off where does that money come from? You didn’t read the B@K report. Did you? I’d urge to look at it. It’s interesting. Unless you’d rather not cloud the issue w/ facts. BTW 2 percent is what’s used by the rec center proponents. Half of what B@K used. I find that interesting as well.

          • Billy Skipper

            Well, you’re talking in absolutes, but O.K. The rec center bond issue would actually generate a surplus, based on historical sales tax data, just like Cortez, Durango, Fruita, etc. Also, The BK study was done conservatively, in other words, intentionally high on operations and intentionally low on revenue. It says that in the report too, but you and other opponents like to pick and choose what is fact and what isn’t, depending on how it coincides with a predetermined position. There are no absolutes at this time, only projections based on historical local data and data from countless other rec center operations. If you want to believe that this would be the only public rec center to fail in the history of Colorado, go right ahead.

          • ajpagosa

            Read page 8 of the BK study, talking about increased market share. That is code for stealing members from other facilities. You even posted up an article about another town that had opened a rec center, and existing gyms had problems. Happened in Durango too.

            Except here that plan will not work because PLPOA and Wyndham situation is very different.

            And the main point, which you are trying to dodge, there is no agreement nor can there be one to swap Wyndham bulk fees over to a new rec center. Those folks are locked into PLPOA for the foreseeable future. BK has not factored that in at all, nor have they treated general PLPOA properly. If they had they should have broken it out specifically to prove they understood it. They didn’t, so they don’t.

            They use canned software and draw big circles on maps, not even recognizing mountain terrain restrictions on travel, make absurd demographic/income analyses & projections based on US census data. They get hired by rec center supporters groups to generate “feasibility” studies. I seriously doubt any rec center is ever found to be not feasible. If you get my drift. Nice money if you can get it.

          • Billy Skipper

            Here is a fact: If the town, or town and county, do not act on this in the near future, the chance to get it “affordably” will be lost. If that’s what the community wants, so be it.

      • Billy Skipper

        Here’s more from same article. Nah, people won’t drive to the new one, or switch memberships if they feel it’s a better deal. Yeah, right.

        What the center doesn’t do is offer classes like Zumba and Insanity, which would be in direct competition with the independently owned Fruita Health Club, 158 S. Park Square, community center officials said.

        When it opened in early 2011, the Fruita Health Club immediately lost 500 memberships, a number which the downtown gym never recouped, co-owner Brooke Ray said.

        “It was really rough in the beginning, we should have just closed our doors then,” she said. “Even though it’s been three years, unfortunately, we’re still not breaking even.”

        Ray said she understands that if a family only has enough money to buy one membership, they’ll do it for their child to be able to use the center, which comes with pool access.

        “We can’t compete with that,” she said.

        • ajpagosa

          Lots of luck getting PLPOA or Wyndham to jump ship like that. If somebody told you they would, you really need to call them back.

          No matter what the Manicure Weasel may have told you.

          • Billy Skipper

            If you think every county resident will spend $10,000 on taxable goods within town limits, then go ahead. Tourists will cover some of the costs, for sure. I heard a few people like to visit here, especially in the summer, and spend money.

          • ajpagosa

            Do the numbers again, 1.28M, 12000 residents. Tourists don’t cover even a third of it. And yes, the new tax hits all food and basic necessities in addition to other items. Which is not the line many proponents were spouting. County tax covers stuff state tax does not. County and new town tax covers everything, including basic essentials. It does not apply only to “disposable” income.

            Funny what point you chose to try to rebut, BTW.

          • Billy Skipper

            The tax would not apply to utilities, car payments, rent, mortgage, garbage can rental, etc. So not all “essentials” would be taxed.

          • ajpagosa

            Never said it would but it is far beyond only disposable income. Heck I spend 500/mo on food and groceries alone. For one tiny old withered up senile old man and a dog. And a cat. That’s 6k yr. Pretty sure gas gets taxed too. And ammo.

          • Billy Skipper

            Look, all I’m saying is – show me a better way, and prove it can work. Nobody can seem to do that, just generalizations.

          • ajpagosa

            I have shown you a better way, often, you just won’t listen. This is not the way. Wait for Walmat and TS to generate positive cash flow. A better balance sheet and a more certain future will bring about a lot of cooperation from county, I know I;e talked to them.

            Especially, and I cannot emphasize this too much, finish existing unfunded projects. After all that see where we are and build something appropriate that does not try to drive PLPOA Out of business. You can make a case that the rest of the county might want a pool, but not under the current budget, and all the divisiveness and disenfranchisement this proposal has created.

          • Billy Skipper

            Well, anyone who thinks all the existing projects have to be finished before this happens will be disappointed on two fronts. First, the town to lakes trail will take at least 20 years to finish. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Second, if that is the right time to build the rec center, most folks who give a darn will already have relocated to somewhere else, so the point will be moot, by then.

          • ajpagosa

            So how does going $45M into debt right now help fix all that other stuff faster/better? Not seeing the connection.

          • Billy Skipper

            It will never be $45 mil into debt. Too bad you will never understand that, or at least you pretend not to.

          • ajpagosa

            So how does going into even 1 penny of debt fix all that other stuff faster/better? Not seeing the connection.

            And yes, we can go into up to $45M of debt, says so in black and white on the ballot. Your reassurances are not comforting esp considering you don’t seem to realize that, or are pretending not to.

            1 penny or 45M, Moar Debt is not the answer.

          • Billy Skipper

            Nobody would authorize $45 million in debt, especially town council or the bond underwriting company. That alone is one of 45 million reasons it will never happen. If you think you can build a rec center – or wait until you can build a rec center – with cash reserves, then this community will never have a public rec center. A gym, maybe. Maybe even a smallish pool, but not the whole thing. The community center that has the mayor’s name on it was financed and subsidized. In fact, it will be paid off this year. So don’t tell me the same folks who oppose this have not done similar projects before.

          • ajpagosa

            Hopefully the voters won’t authorize $45M either. If it is not possible, it should not be on the ballot. Since it is on the ballot, up to $45M becomes possible. You guys should never have let it get on a ballot, but it’s there and now you’re trying to pretend it means nothing.

          • Billy Skipper

            Never said the rec center would necessarily help get the other stuff fixed, just know it wouldn’t interfere with all of the other stuff.

          • Billy Skipper

            The “county” is turning this into a personality war because of who is involved on which side, and not really addressing the issue. More certain future? You and your cronies are the ones predicting financial peril. Meanwhile, the town is in the best financial shape ever, the bond rates are still near historical lows, Wal-Mart is coming and Tractor Supply is all but open. What more do we need to see, money falling from the sky?

  • ajpagosa

    That will be fun!

    How about you introduce yourself Thursday night? Or is the GKB guy you? How did you know he’s be there if you aren’t? Insider info, like I said. I’m not even sure the mayor or BOCC knew that yet.

    Be there or be square.

    • ajpagosa

      Sorry for the double post folks, I guess Discus is not keeping up with the commenting volume.

    • Billy Skipper

      It is not a town-sponsored meeting, so the usual protocol doesn’t apply. Point is, the proponents want folks to get straight info from the people who have been working on this.

  • Billy Skipper

    Retraction still in the works, believe me.

    • ajpagosa

      We’re all waiting. Hey didn’t your “buddy” also threaten to sue Hudson? Kind of seeing a pattern here.

      Hey when are you going to tell us your name, dude?

      • Billy Skipper

        My real name is William H. Skipper. Not hard to figure that out, either.

        • ajpagosa

          Interesting no one listed by that name living in Pagosa but there is someone by that exact name who is a political consultant campaign finance type nationally.

          Not saying I believe you but if you are that guy are you working for any of the local candidates or for them indirectly on ballot issues?

          That would be worth, like a whole page in the newspaper investigating.

          • Billy Skipper

            Uh, I have only been here for about six months and no, I am not the guy you mention.

  • Ray Sobol

    Saw the revised bond payment schedules. Based on 78% sales tax distribution, only $16+ million can be borrowed and repaid over 20 years, have to go to 25 years to borrow the full $18 million.
    Seriously concerned with the operating cost numbers that AJ brings up and are shown in the revised bond projections. If the town borrows the lower amount and holds the payment term to 20 years, there is only $2000 – $3000 each year from the new sales tax projections to pay the entire $250,000 estimated annual operating costs. Worried about what happens if interest rates increase, if sales tax numbers dip in the next recession (predicted to occur in 9-18 months) or if the operating cost estimates are low. Does the town have $250,000 or more in the current town budget that can be cut? What would those cuts be?
    Additionally….doesn’t fitness equipment have to be replaced every once in a while? Where is that money coming from? And what about building maintenance and repair costs 15-20 years from now?

    • ajpagosa

      Hey Ray,
      Glad you found the schedules and had a chance to look them over. You make some very good points.

      One thing, the 250k O&M is not even close to the full budgeted operating costs. That is already in excess of 1M/yr estimated by supporters, and to me and many other seems very low. They are saying they’ll make it up in user fees, which is also curious. Even assuming everything they say is accurate, under the old plan they still run at a large operating loss, to be made up with “extra” sales tax revenue from “growth”.

      Now we add the fact that 250k of the O&M is no longer covered. You can see what happens. More growth appears from nowhere! Amazing is it not?

      So go through it now, 250k hole in O&M just off the bond schedule. Crazy optimistic user fee projections based on much bigger cities and usage stats ignoring an existing rec center here already serving half the county, optimistically low operating costs, easily see a 750k-1M annual deficit. Forever.

      Thing is they are putting up 1.7M/yr of the Town general fund as collateral, and debt service is senior to all other expenses (nice fine print there). So before streets get fixed or other Town bills get paid, the banks get paid. Nice deal for them, not so much for the residents.

      Hope you can see why so many of us a concerned, and places some of the comments from anonymous insiders criticizing us into a more objective light.

      This is a very bad, irreponsible project that should never have gotten this far. The tactics of supporters have been reprehensible to put it mildly.

      • Billy Skipper

        You will never understand this, obviously. Otherwise, you would try to explain why you believe sales tax will never go up at all during the life of the bond. Why should anyone believe you, a self-admitted senile old man, over all of the people who do such studies for a living, many of them the same folks who got Cortez, Durango, Fruita, Gunnison, etc. rec centers up and going, and prospering? Supporters’ actions have been reprehensible? We have a county commissioner writing letters to the editor full of misleading info, if not outright lies. The same guy is on the radio claiming this project is a job killer, with no data to back it up. Plus, we’ve got you, with apparently nothing better to do than throw rocks, but you too have no supportive data, just denials. Please come Thursday so we can put you in your place.

        • Chris Gerlach

          I am tired beyond belief of your arrogance and insults B Skipper. I am going to request you be banned from this chat. I have had it with your repeated attacks on other posters and for that alone find you unfit for this town and this conversation.

          • Billy Skipper

            Then quit reading them.

          • ajpagosa

            I believe the insulting comment was removed, as quite a few of yours are. But then you pretend nothing happened.

    • Billy Skipper

      I think you are forgetting that the bond schedule uses flat sales tax increase assumptions, or didn’t know. The bond assumes sales tax collections will never go up, but in-town collections between 2012-2013 went up nearly 9 percent. If you have more questions, come to the meeting on Thursday. The bond schedule is too complicated to try to cover, here.

      • ajpagosa

        It isn’t too complicated, we’ve been covering it for weeks. The point about the schedules is the bank is steadily cutting our credit line as official estimates for the revenue get revised downwards. They have been revised down several times now. We can’t even cover the O&M now.

        Billy still wants to confuse people between the bank’s REAL numbers they MUST use to underwrite the loan, and his group of debt pusher friends’ FANTASY projections they want us to believe in to hoodwink us into this monster debt load.

        Maybe since Billy is so young and inexperienced, he’s never lived through a recession before. But many of us big people have. Coming out of a deep recession likle we still are now, it is often the case that revenue grows year over year. But to expect that kind of growth going forward is irrespinsible and naive.

        Revenue is flat or declining since 2006 in nominal terms (depends which metric you choose). In real terms (adjusting for inflation as economists do) we are still in a deep recession. And that is with, as some say, 2000 more people living here now than were then. So more people spending a lot less.

        The local housing boom is never coming back, better get used to it and find something else to grow with before maxing out the credit cards. This is a hard problem with smart people all over the world trying to solve it. Greece, Spain, Italy etc. mistook debt binges for prosperity, not working out so well for them. They are all effectively insolvent now.

        Let’s not be the Greece of SW Colorado. We are in a unique position relative to other towns in that regard. Stupendous natural beauty, magnificent outdoor recreation. Improving economy. And nearly ZERO debt.

        Let’s see what happens with Walmart and TS, let’s finish existing programs, get the town’s balance sheet and cash flow in a much better state. Let’s revisit Town and County partnerships and then let’s think about what we can do to promote real growth.

        Debt is not prosperity, it is an illusion.

        Please vote NO on the rec center, and vote AGAINST anyone who supports it.

  • Ray Sobol

    I am curious about two things:
    1. If the sales tax increase passes, but the Town wants the operating expenses for the Rec Center to be covered by the sales tax revenues, does the Town have the authority to limit the size of the Rec Center to a smaller number, perhaps 8-10 million dollars, reducing the bond payments and leaving more money for operating expenses?
    2. If a Rec Center is such a wonderful and financially viable idea, then why has a private individual or company not stepped forward and built one already? Why is it the Town’s responsibility to take money from all individuals to build something that will not be used by or benefit all of those same individuals?

    • Billy Skipper

      Answer to question 1: Absolutely. Answer to question 2: Because the rec center operations versus expenses alone will not be profitable, thus the need for one penny to “help out.” But that is typical, no public rec center I know of makes a true “profit” and nobody goes into it thinking it will. But private country clubs, for example, often do because they can charge high dollar.