Ben Tiffany: 'No' for rec

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I feel it is time that I weigh in with my thoughts and opinions regarding the proposed recreation center that is being voted upon this November. I have tried to see "the big picture" and consider all points of view concerning this issue, and the inescapable conclusion is that the whole proposal is flawed and not in the best interests of the town.

The City Council essentially failed us when it chose the method of financing to be voted upon for the recreation center. Simply put, it is not fair to expect the residential and commercial property taxpayers to shoulder the burden for a center that many of us will never use. In fact, it is outrageous. With the across-the-board rise in property assessments throughout the county, the property taxpayers already are faced with an inevitable rise in taxes in the absence of anything new to be financed, but those who don't own any real property are getting a free ride here, avoiding the need to pay for building, maintaining and operating the recreation center as proposed.

I realize that there are a number of people that have worked very hard to get a recreation center built, and they of course are the people who will benefit the most if the measures pass with the voters. I can't say that I am opposed to the notion of a recreation center, but there needs to be a different method of paying for it so that all residents in the city are asked to share in it. I can't support this proposal as it exists, and I urge voters to vote no on referendums 2B and 2C. We need to be fair to the taxpayers, and we can certainly do better than this.

Ben Tiffany

Steamboat Springs

Comments

longtimelocal 6 years, 6 months ago

I could not agree more with Ben. If you want a new rec center, make a business plan and support it with user fees and other means. Do not force this upon already strapped homeowners who may not even use it. Please vote NO on this poorly thought out plan that will unfairly cause a minority to pay for something that ought to be user funded.

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dimwitiguess 6 years, 5 months ago

Maybe the city could tax cigarette smokers. We will eventually put that tax out of service. I know, let's tax liquor!!!! For every drink or bottle, or fifth, or quart, or whatever amount, you pay a tax. How about it, Steamboat, are you willing to give a percentage for everything you drink? You're unhealthy, you contribute to traffic vioations, you drive up health costs with drinking diseases and remedy and rehabs. It's time you pay! TAX THE DRINKERS. There's a peck of money that can be rounded up in our bars and liquor stores for the rec center.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm for a Liquor Tax. That's the one commodity that always seems to increase in each month's tax revenue. I think that's just as fair as a tax on smokers for child care!

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VXA 6 years, 5 months ago

Ben, the only thing I really garner from your post is that you like myself remember a day when we agreed on sales tax based revenues instead of property taxes. Property taxes as a payment method is only skewed if you don't use the facility at all, but this is true with many services provided by government agencies for example roads and schools. Some use roads very little and some have no children in school, so how do we even it out for them? Homeowners who live in city limits will get a break on entance fees, similar to the golf course, Homeowners who rent their units will just pass along the cost to the renters, and commercial property owners will do the same so to some extent they will be sharing the burden. As far as the assessment issue, I fully agree with you, if we have so much surpluss at the city and county the mill-levies need to be readjusted.

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 5 months ago

"needs to be a different method of paying for it so that all residents in the city are asked to share in it".... IT NEEDS to be funded by the people that actually use it! Maybe there should be a privilege tax... if you're privileged enough to enter stmbt spgs... pay up. It should not be necessary to give the government money to take care of our social lives... and taxpayers should be able to keep what's left of their paychecks to pursue their choice of entertainment. Most people can handle their own social life without any help from the government thank you!

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lowerprofile 6 years, 5 months ago

Just think... How many people have moved to our area for skiing and now enjoy other sports such as kayaking, softball leagues, mountain biking, hunting and so on. How about you? Have you tried any new sports or activities since you have moved to Steamboat? New opportunities always introduce people to new sports. A new recreation center is a great way to get people to try new activities. This may be a news flash - but there are people here in Steamboat who are not interested in skiing, but are actually here for what the community has to offer. A recreation center is a great addition to what our community has to offer. Also think.... Many jobs are dependent on the visitors to our community. If a visitor has a good time in the community to which they have traveled, they are likely to return. By investing in alternative activities in our community, you invest in the well being and economic vitality of our community. In addition... A family that comes to visit Steamboat for a week, typically skiis for 4-5 days. Families are always looking for other things to do. Let's face it Strawberry Park hot springs isn't where you want your 12 year old to go after dark. For you "Steep & Deep-ers" - you have to admit there is good terrain up on the mountain, but the majority of the terrain is set up for FAMILIES. Have you noticed... Baby Boomers LOVE Steamboat (can anyone blame them?). Check out the New York Times - Baby boomers want lots of activities in the places they vacation to. And they are willing to pay for such ammenities. And who can forget the role of city council. This council knows our community needs more than the OTHS can provide for a reasonable price, yet they are held hostage by those who make it seem that the OTHS will DIE because of this monstrosity. Two things from this - Council made it a property tax because they felt it would give it the best chance of FAILING. The shame should be put on Council - not the center. Second, OTHS will not die! I would put $1000 on an increased membership after a recreation center is built. Studies show that when a recreation center is created in a town, that MORE people take advantage of all the facilities. Those who have left the OTHS (or other local gyms) because the pool or fitness area is consistently crowded return, and are more committed to using their membership. In addition - NO ONE can overshadow the uniqueness that a hot springs pool can give. OTHS has an incredible niche that (if properly operated and cleaned) will never go out of business.

Our town needs a Recreation Center for our children and families.

Our tax dollars to to many things that not all of us use - have you ever skiied at Howelsen Hill? do you know what a money pit that must be with the hillside sliding all the time? should we shut that down? How about the animal shelter? You get the point.

We all should be voting YES on 2B & 2C, its about more than "roofing the Yampa Valley"

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twostroketerror 6 years, 5 months ago

How about a tax on kids? You want 'em, you have 'em, you pay for 'em. Many of the people in charge right now moved here as single ski bums into a town with very little tax burden or real infrastructure. Now they've gotten married, spawned a few, and I've gotta pay for their kids school and daycare (rec center)? $10,000 per grommit and you've got $19,250,000 (2005). Not enough for a rec center, but throw a bake sale, pass on jr's new Atomics, and the RE2 should be well on its' way to self sufficiency. Stop the brutal 8% sales tax. No more mil levies.

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twostroketerror 6 years, 5 months ago

And why in the world is the sk8te park 'privately funded'? Will it cost xtra to shred the rails? Or a 'sk8ting only' pass? This is the only 'world class' ski resort in Colorado that has a busted-up plywood skate park thats as out of the public view as humanly possible. Its' embarrassing, and I don't even skate. Vote NO

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elkeye 6 years, 5 months ago

IF "our town needs a Recreation Center for our children and families", make a business plan and support it with user fees and any means other than a tax on the residents of Steamboat Springs.

We do not have any city property taxes, so please be specific what city amentities are paid for with city property taxes!

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes, good points lowerprofile..."How many people have moved to our area for skiing and now enjoy other sports such as kayaking, softball leagues, mountain biking, hunting and so on" AND " there are people here in Steamboat who are not interested in skiing, but are actually here for what the community has to offer". VERY GOOD POINTS... so why not enjoy all of those activities, enjoy what the community has offered you and quit trying to get the community to pay for you to have more social activities. You yourself pointed out all of the activities available to you so let the hard working taxpayers of stmbt keep what few dollars they have left of their paychecks.

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WZ4EVER 6 years, 5 months ago

What is the status of the Lodging Tax that has been collected for years, and was intended to pay for things just like this...above-ground amenities paid for by tourists (mostly). Has the golf course completely swallowed them up forever? I haven't heard anything about it. Seems like a great use of those funds.

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elkeye 6 years, 5 months ago

Good suggestion....however the golf course & $4M club house at Haymaker have "swallowed it up" for the next several years (at least).

The lodging tax you refer to must be used for above-ground recreation facilities, however it may have a hard time supporting the "whole hog" (i.e. a $34 million capital project).

Any proposed recreation center should be made to pay the total operational costs (without a taxpayer subsidy)! If the users do not want to pay for the operational costs (without a taxpayer subsidy) of a recreation center .......... don't build it.

Ditto for the golf course and tennis center! The users of these projects should be required to pay for all operational costs through user fees.

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outsiderlookingin 6 years, 5 months ago

Hey I don't care one way or the other about the rec center because I don't get to vote yet!!!until after the annexation goes through. That's when I'll care and be aggravated about having to pay taxes on something I don't particularly wnat and wasn't given the opportunity to vote on.

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cappel77 6 years, 5 months ago

Anyone that votes on yes for the property tax for the new rec. center is just asking for trouble. It seems like i'm not the only one who wants less taxes. If you let the city tax you on your property, what's next? I for one don't like paying the already high 8.4% sales tax. And yes, I do own a home here and like to keep what little money I bring home after all the other taxes I have to pay. You want a new rec. center, you pay for it but don't ask me for more money. I read today that the skate park will be privately funded, how about the rest of the rec. center? No No No new taxes!!!

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birddog 6 years, 5 months ago

It might not be all that long before we would see the first big decrease in the rec center tax bill. Look at the development projects that are already in the pipeline but have not yet been completed. All of these projects under construction are not on the tax rolls yet. The land is on the tax roll and the completed units are, but that's all. Their valuation increases dramatically upon completion.

Two new Trappers Crossing Buildings One Steamboat Place Porches Edgemont/Bearclaw Wildhorse Riverwalk Olympian The Victorian Alpen Glow Howelsen Place Estate Villas Cimarron Highmark Blackhawk Chadwick Estates Village at Steamboat The Aspens Riverfront Park Two dozen high-end homes near the base area

There are probably others in the works that I don't know about. Nearly all of these are high-end, high-value properties that will boost the total valuations. The two Trappers buildings alone will be more than all of Heritage Park.

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elkeye 6 years, 5 months ago

twostrokerterror....the reason that the skate park is "privately funded" is because the supporters of the skate park have already raised the funds independently (rather than ask the taxpayers).

Compare this with the "swim team" who is asking the taxpayers to build and operate a ($10-12 million) six-lane pool and diving well complex for them!

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twostroketerror 6 years, 5 months ago

elkeye, I was wondering about that but was unable to find answers. It heartens me greatly that a group of 'irresponsibles' like our skater community have been able to do this here and at almost every other 'world class' ski resort (Telluride, $1,000,000 all raised by the kids). Which begs the question, if the skaters can organize to fund a pet project, why not the rest of the rec center? If the people who wants this aren't willing to dig hard into their own pockets for something near and dear to them why the heck should I? I mean, if there was a project to turn the rodeo grounds into a snoX circuit for the 'bilers to play on, I'd be walking door to door and hosting bake sales, not asking the city and county residents to unwillingly cough up their cash for my play ground. Do you know how I can contribute to the skate park, and if the rec center fails, will it be built anyway and where? I don't even skate, but that pile of plywood is shameful.

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elkeye 6 years, 5 months ago

twostroketerror...the skate park was proposed for a portion of the 18 acre "Bear River" parcel and included in the Bear River Master Plan.

On 21 September 2004, the resolution to adopt the Bear River Parcel Master Plan was APPROVED by City Council on a vote of 6/0 (Paul Strong, Loui Antonucci, Ken Brenner, Kathy Connell, Susan Dellinger, and Steve Ivancie).

The Bear River parcel is located behind the Curve Shopping Center on the Yampa River corridor.

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elkeye 6 years, 5 months ago

The "swim team" people have had several years (not weeks) to raise their money!

Where are the private funds to construct a $10-12 million dollar six-lane pool and diving well?

SHOW ME THE MONEY!

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colobob 6 years, 5 months ago

Maybe the rec center proponants should do like the skate park folks and see how much money they can raise over a number of years, not weeks. There's a big difference between raising six figures and seven figures. It still doesn't change the fact that this will serve the small minority over the vast majority yet all will be required to pay for it. Vote No on 2B & 2C!

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soccercstate 6 years, 5 months ago

I think the ads for the rec center are misleading....the picture shows everything they want in the center but I thought a lot of that, skate park and turf field was another phase and do we have to pay extra for the other phases???

Here is something I've been told about fields in Steamboat, the Emerald Park fields are for kids only (no adult use). So the rec center will be taking away more fields that are so desperately needed for the rest of this community!!!

As I've said before, why can't pools be built at the high school?

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Harvey Lyon 6 years, 5 months ago

Dear Soccerstate,

You are correct regarding Emerald, they are for local Steamboat youth exclusively.....but my fear is that it only takes a City Council meeting to change that....more on that later.....

There are no funds earmarked to develop the one full size soccer field space available at Heritage nor any monies to develop the smaller fields.

The Heritage Park residents protested strongly enough that plans at Heritage Park for a small baseball/softball diamond were scrubbed and the GOCO grant was returned to the State Commission.

The only mention of replacing the ball fields of Ski Town is "they can be included in the Steamboat 700 plan"......very non-specific and somewhat "pie-in-the-sky". There is no tangible linkage to replace what we already have.

My prediction...should the rec center pass...is this winter Triple Crown will raise strong concerns with the lack of available fields for softball/baseball. They will increase their search for a replacement venue. This will shortly be followed by a loud screech from the various business owners and hotel owners who have, in the past 10 years, changed or written business plans that will not work without the business Triple Crown brings June thru early August.

City Council will....almost certainly, offer up Emerald to Triple Crown on a unspecified "temporary basis" until additional fields can be built. The fields will be regraded to suite various ages and a "treasure" will have been lost. In the meantime our kids will have the option of playing Little League/Tee Ball local leagues in August and September as they did before Emerald was built.

It took 4 years from the time Heritage was graded to the time it was open for play. The rec center construction would start mid-August 2008 if approved. This would hurt the local soccer leagues fund raising tournament.....for sure.

I like the idea of a rec center personally but hate to see two excellent, and I mean excellent, multipurpose fields dug up without funds or tangible plans to replace immediately.

I would think all of the local softball players would get concerned also....how much free time is presently available at Howelson for after work rec softball....answer...zero. If the adult softball league is to grow with population they will need to start playing games at Ski Town...the only other lighted field suitable for softball.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

So...if we lose a soccer field, I'm sure all the soccer players will get together to raise money privately for another one, right?

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Books 6 years, 5 months ago

How about moving the rodeo grounds. Every time one of the rodeo people chime in they complain about how run down the place is and how it's not big enough. If we are going to have to spend money to fix it why not move it and put the fields in there. There is plenty of 100-year flood plain to the west or south of town that would be well suited for larger rodeo facility. Plus we could get the county involved.
Then we all could debate that. It would be Rodeo vs. Triple Crown.

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fish 6 years, 5 months ago

Sorry Books, guess that you are unaware that the County already owns a arena with a large indoor arena. It is locaded in Hayden Colorado. You know that little town just past the airport.

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MarkPaula 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree with Ben, but for different reasons. Let's get it right: everyone who lives in the city will pay for this -- not just homeowners. Renters will pay more rent to offset their landlords' property tax hike (it's only fair) and restaurants and other businesses likewise will raise their prices just a bit; so everyone who lives or shops in town pays for property tax increases. On the other hand, as for some commenters who feel it's unfair to pay taxes for schools if they have no kids, many went to public schools themselves as kids, and the education of children is a vital element to all societies. The same for roads. Just because a person doesn't own a car does not mean that person derives no benefit from public roads. Nearly all the stuff you eat, drink, work or play with came to you over those roads. We don't live in an independent cocoon -- most everyone relies on and benefits from public lands and services, and hence it is more that fair that we all contribute to them. Except for the proposed rec center. This is something that, as proposed, we really don't need that much.

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