Steamboat Springs After living in Steamboat for 17 years, I have finally figured out what the Yampa Valley Curse really is. It is turning wants into urgent needs that require huge expenditures and, of course, tax increases. It manifests itself whenever there is a meeting of elected officials, and most prominently when there is an election.
Referendum 2C proposes an increase in debt of $34 million with a repayment cost of over $66 million for a government-funded recreation center. With a population of 12,000 in the city, that is over $5,500 per person. This seems excessive. The referendum is also a bit of a blank check with language that includes the phrase ": and shall the mill levy be increased in any year, without limitation of rate or amount :"
There are also a few questions one would think would be answered before approving this type of expenditure:
1. Since there are no plans for the building and thus no construction cost estimates, what will the final costs be? Recent cost overruns on projects that have had plans leave no confidence that the amounts in the referendums will cover the costs.
2. What will the use and/or membership fees be?
3. Why should Steamboat city residents only fund an amenity that will obviously be used by those outside the city - not just visitors, but county residents as well?
This is simply too much money with too many questions unanswered to hand to a city with less than a stellar record of fiscal responsibility on construction projects.