Council to debate ballot language


If you go

What: Steamboat Springs City Council Meeting

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: City offices at 870-2060 for more information


5 p.m. Ballot language discussion for the recreation center proposal

7 p.m. Public comment; city council "retreat" to discuss the policy development process and review current boards, committees and commissions

The Steamboat Springs City Council is expected to decide tonight how to word ballot language for a possible new recreation center. What remains to be seen is whether the council will go to voters for a rec facility at Ski Town Fields or for expanded facilities at both Howelsen Hill and Old Town Hot Springs.

City Manager Alan Lanning will present the council with options for the wording of the ballot measure.

"I'm just going to have two sets of language," Lanning said. "One for the combined facility and one for separate facilities."

The estimated costs for the two proposals are similar. A new indoor recreation center at Ski Town Fields would cost an estimated $34 million. Expanding the facilities at Howelsen Hill and Old Town Hot Springs would cost about $37 million.

The City Council voted 3-2 last month to put the consolidated Ski Town Fields recreation center on the November ballot. But that resolution was put into question last week when, at the request of Lanning, the council saw a presentation by recreation consultant Chuck Musgrave of Denver-based Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, who discussed options for maintaining and expanding separate facilities.

City Council President Susan Dellinger and councilmen Steve Ivancie and Loui Antonucci voted in favor of the consolidated facility last month. Councilman Paul Strong was absent, and Councilman Ken Brenner abstained because of his business affiliation with Old Town Hot Springs.

Whichever direction the council decides to go, Lanning said he expects the ballot issue's language to be finalized tonight. Dellinger said she hopes the ballot language will plainly state what the up-front and ongoing costs will be for the city.

"I hope we come out with something that's clear for the community to understand," Dellinger said.

If no action is taken on the issue tonight, City Council will have one more opportunity to adopt ballot language at its Sept. 4 meeting. City Clerk Julie Jordan has told the council that the ballot must be certified by Sept. 7.


WZ007 9 years, 8 months ago

I am really concerned about the course this whole Rec center planning has taken. Originally it was a $12 million price tag, now the architect is involved it seems we have risen to a $30 million price tag and possibly more. Is this because it is the facility the city wants or is it because the percentage fees for the architect who builds it get a whole lot larger??

Something seems to be going on within the City departments that are driving the Rec center. - Parks and Recs management participated in the original alliance that pushed for the Rec Center isn't this conflict of interest, doesn't the law forbid this: is it a case of the bigger we build it the greater our domain! - Parks and Recs department make City Council agree to put Rec center on ballot even though the City Council appointed committee has not yet advised didn't they circumvent public government by going around the committee appointed by the City Council! And why did the City Council accept this? - City Manager has plans to put Rec center under the cost radar by not requiring a vote on the cost so we will pay a lot more in some other new taxes! Why is he trying to go around the vote; I seem to recall the architect recommended it so maybe the architect realizes his super high price tag will get voted down and he wants to make sure the huge cost goes ahead with the huge fees attached.

The City Council needs to get control of this and do the best for the tax paying Citizens of Steamboat Springs. I believe the cost is far too great for our small community and will be a major burden we will regret. I am also concerned that previous construction projects, such as the Tennis Bubble, have over run so much (50% in that case) that we will get financially hammered even more than we see in the proposals.


twostroketerror 9 years, 8 months ago

WZ007, Why must you point out the truth? You're going to make us look bad in front of the other city councils on the playground!


Jon Casson 9 years, 8 months ago

Unfortunately, what W2007 points out is not quite the truth.

W2007 insinuates that the consultants have acted unethically on their own behalf. Please check into their qualifications before you make such statements- they have been nothing but professional and have consulted on hundreds of similar projects around the West and have been thorough and professional throughout this whole process. The consultants who were hired by the city explored a variety of options and locations for a rec center. Prices ranged from 5 million for a simple teen and youth center to over 40 million for a much more extensive center. A phone survey was conducted (I was called) asking what options were most appealing to those surveyed. That is where this current proposal came from.

"Parks and Recs management participated in the original alliance that pushed for the Rec Center" It is quite common for Parks and Rec mgmt to assist and advise community organizations in their efforts. They are city employees who work for the city and, in turn, for the people of the city. If a group has an idea or is trying to fill a need, it is their job to provide information and guide them as to the proper process.

"Parks and Recs department make City Council agree to put Rec center on ballot even though the City Council appointed committee has not yet advised". First of all, Parks and Rec did not make City Council do anything. Council voted to place it on the ballot after extensive (and expensive) research on the matter. Secondly, the Parks and Rec commission have been fully aware of this whole process. Furthermore, there have been dozens of public meetings and forums throughout the past 3 years exploring all the different options available.

"City Manager has plans to put Rec center under the cost radar by not requiring a vote on the cost" That's not at all what was stated in the paper. The City was looking at options to build this project without any new taxes...without new taxes, it doesnt necessarily have to go to a vote, but neither individual quoted thinks thats a good idea. Please read the original article:

"The City Council needs to get control of this and do the best for the tax paying Citizens of Steamboat Springs" They requiring a vote, they are letting the taxpaying citizens decide. I cant think of a fairer way to're more than welcome to vote no.


ffv 9 years, 8 months ago

Great summary Just_10 -

A couple of other points, the consultants were asked to place a "steamboat factor" into costs by increasing bottom line by about 33%. This seems right; when the issue was placed before council last year (and they decided not to put it on ballot) the amount was for $18M that cost didn't include the "steamboat factor".

Also, consider that this facility is to be completed in 2010. Think of the growth of Steamboat in the next 3 -5 yrs. This facility is need now let alone then.


WZ007 9 years, 8 months ago


Name is WZ007 - not W2007... thanks.

Grateful if you can explain how a town of 9000 (11,000 unofficially) citizens can afford a $30 million plus facility with all the other services required to maintain our current infrastructure?? Show me the sound economics.

Also, grateful if you can explain why the tennis Bubble over ran by 50% in flat market???? Maybe poor project management was a cause. This was only a small project so how can you guarantee the same people will successfully deliver a $30 million plus project?? Did the architect take this kind of over run history into account???

There is a special committee formed by the City Council with a mix of proponents and non proponents of the rec center. this committee was bypassed when Chris Wilson told City Council he was ready to put it on the ballot and they agreed. You should probably ask some of the members of this committee and check the City council minutes.

Grateful if you can explain how a City that receives all its income from taxes can possible spend $30 million without adding taxes - sounds like alchemy to me!


mfishon1 9 years, 8 months ago

Unfortunately I didn't make the meeting tonight to pickup a copy of the proposed ballet language....but I do know that both of the options (consolidated or multi-site) do involve new taxes...a monster tax bill to build it (30 something millon) and onging taxes each year (@$500,000) to cover the estimated deficit that these rec centers typically run up.

Question for someone who does have a copy of the proposed ballet...does it contain the estimated membership fees that locals will have to pay to use the facility?


Jon Casson 9 years, 8 months ago

To answer WZ007:

to your first question- That's not the point. In your original post, you are taking council to task for not "taking control" of the situation. Once again, by putting it to vote, they are letting the tax paying citizens decide if its sound economics. You're complaining about the process, now you're part of the process. If you dont like the idea, you are more than welcome to vote no and lobby everyone you know to vote no. My point was simply that the process has been effective, thorough and democratic. Now its up to you and the voters of Steamboat to decide if this is a project that is desired.

To your 2nd question- if you had bothered to attend ANY of the numerous PUBLIC forums held on the subject, you would see that the consultants did, in fact, calculate a "Steamboat Factor" into their estimates as well as develop a profit/loss statement and estimate of operating expenses including proposed fees. I cant explain the cost overruns in the tennis bubble, but that's irrelevant to the current discussion.

Your 3rd statement is blatantly incorrect and not factual. The committee advocating the rec center is made up of private citizens. The committee formed by the city council was advisory in nature and the council is not bound by their recommendations (which as you stated, was a mix of pros and cons) much like every other committee and board the council works with. Council did the responsible thing and is placing it on the ballot to let the voters decide.

You're missing my point entirely. Read my previous post and tell me where I stated that I am a proponent of the rec center. Just for the record, I am in favor of it, but thats beside the point. My post merely points out that a public process was followed and now its in the hands of the voters. I served on the Park and Rec Commission and I've attended most of the council meetings on the subject. I believe that in this case, council has acted responsibly and with such a large $$$ figure are asking the voters to decide on its fate. If it is approved without a vote, then we have a problem, I agree with you on that. Once again, you are more than welcome to vote no....simple democracy in action.

To Mfishon- its not part of the ballot language as far as I know, but the consultants have prepared an estimated cost and fee structure for local vs non-local use. Its part of the public record and should be available for anyone to look over.

Vote yes or no as ya'll see fit...simple as that.


WZ007 9 years, 8 months ago


I find your comments way off track.

I did attend many of the City council meetings on this issue and, along with others, pointed out to the Consultants that they presented significant mathematical errors in their presentations. So please do not lecture me on "being there done that" and go check their maths yourself.

If you knew the history and if you had attended the City Council sessions you would understand that the Parks and Recs organization over ran their approved cost on the Tennis Bubble by 50%. So you may want to ask the question "How certain are they that they will deliver on their promises to spend your $30 million tax dollars or will they over run again and come back for more?". Also, they chose a tent color that did not match the recommendation of City Council (had you been there you would have heard that discussion).

Members of the committee formed by City Council are not happy that they were bypassed. Check that one out.

I would still like you to explain to ignorant old me how this City of Steamboat Springs can afford a $30 million Rec center. Crank your calculator and tell me HOW? Looking forward to seeing your maths!


Jon Casson 9 years, 8 months ago

You dont get it, do you? Did you even read what I wrote?

My previous points and posts are neither pro or con in regards to the rec center.

My point is remarkably simple.....if you dont want it, vote no.

This has NOTHING to do with the color of the tennis bubble.


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