Letter: No free ride
The construction of a 10,500-square-foot multipurpose community center and district office for a “low ball” estimate of $1.5 million is a major financial undertaking for the Indian Hills General Improvement District. A project of this size and magnitude should not be started until the district knows the actual amount and availability of grants, cooperative funding from other government entities, particularly Douglas County, and the donations and volunteer commitment of the residents of IHGID. This information is essential to determine the amount of district property tax revenue which must be committed to complete such a project.
To estimate the yearly maintenance and operation costs alone of such a facility would exceed $150,000 annually. These costs will continue to rise each year. The district is in the final stages of build-out. This means that soon there will be a shortage of new resident or new developers/investors that generate (the revenue), the dollars that help to pay the IHGID bills. The debt service on a project of this size will take a minimum of 25-plus years to pay off. Some of our roofs won’t even last that long! The legacy of this folly will be one of certain increases in service rates. We will continue to pay for the ongoing operation and maintenance costs, the benefits and salaries increases and any programs that IHGID might be obligated to provide as a provision to receiving certain grant money that may be available in the future.
What about traffic impact, vandalism, safety and supervision? Now we need new rules and regulations. What about a curfew? Who will enforce these new responsibilities? Let’s not kid ourselves; there really is no free ride. There is always a cost! We can recognize it now or regret it later. Let’s not put the cart before the horse. Put the horse in front of the cart, and then determine what kind of load that horse can carry!
Let’s identify the costs of construction, the true cost, and the true cost of operation and maintenance of this type of facility, have all the research for funding sources in place and the extent of their availability and then determine if this type of planning and commitment of the IHGID’s funds are prudent and responsible at this time.
It would be great to have a community center in the North Valley, but can the residents of IHGID afford to pay for it all and pay for it all right now?
Toni A. York