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Partying? Not even close

Roger Marolt

Oh, my aching head. There’s nothing worse than the hangover from guzzling that sweet, numbing, ever so lovely intoxicant, money. That’s just what I’ve been doing for the past five or six years here. I’ll tell you what, it was one helluva bash. Too bad it had to end.

I wasn’t alone at the party either. But don’t worry, I won’t name anyone else I saw there.

This is just awful now, though. We’ve all but drained the cash that flowed so easily in the wee hours of our stupor. This place is littered with empty cups and the floor is stained with outlines of change nobody bothered to pick up. I hardly feel like moving and the bills from the revelry are starting to stack up like blisters on a debutante’s big toe.

What are we going to do? There’s no money to pay for all of the extravagance we enjoyed. Oh, if we had only stayed sober long enough to realize that this day of reckoning would come.

Just look at this tab from the Aspen School District. We spent a million dollars more than we had out there. How’d that happen? The money was flowing so easily I suppose we just lost track. And they say education is the key. Ha!

I only wish this was the worst of it.

Here’s a bill from RFTA. I think we had one too many bad trips with that one. It says right here that if we don’t do something right away, we are going to owe about $1.3 million by the end of next year. What a buzz kill.

It gets worse. Remember the place we went to take off our clothes and have shots? Yeah, that’s right, Aspen Valley Hospital. They went nuts out there. The place was completely out of control. Now they’re telling us that we burned through almost 12 million bucks. Can you believe that? Where are we gonna come up with loot like that?

This is a total bummer. Going over these bills is not doing a thing for my splittin’ head.

How I wished it ended there. The biggest bill is the worst of all. It’s from the least likely source. For crying out loud, we only used this one recreationally. Now we’re hooked.

It’s the ARC. It says here that last year, their first year of operation, they took in cover charges at the door totaling $467,000.00. Not bad. But, it cost them almost $1.8 million to put on their portion of this block party. Horrible!

Just think of that. The 160,000 or so revelers who visited the ARC last year paid less than three bucks each to get in. The rest of the townspeople pitched in another eight or so for every one of those visits. That doesn’t make sense. Was the bouncer paying attention? How’d they get that cash out of our pockets?

What a mess! Paying to play has never been so painful. I feel like throwing up. I don’t know what we are going to do.

I guess we can start taking money from kindergarten kids to help straighten out the problem at the ASD. It doesn’t seem right, but we have to do it. It’ll be ugly but I think we can eventually get a handle on that one.

Then there’s this tab from RFTA. Unfortunately we’ll just have to stop offering it so freely. People won’t be able to use it all the time like before. Man, nothing like making a bad trip worse, but we’ll probably be able to clean that mess up too.

Then there’s AVH and their huge bill. They’re already starting to clean up. It ain’t pretty though. They may have been the most foolish drunks of all. Now, to hide their embarrassment, they’re playing the blame game, making excuses all over the place. Sobering up came too quickly for them. They’re mean now and really hurting people. It’ll get fixed, but I don’t hold out any hope that it’ll ever be the great place that it was.

But, what are we going to do with this ARC. Sheesh, I can’t see it getting much better. The thing ran in the red right after it opened. That’s when everyone was excited to check it out. As that initial enthusiasm wears off, I think fewer people will go there. But the costs aren’t going to go down much, especially as the building gets older.

I’m afraid this ARC is going to be an albatross around our necks for quite some time. We just have to get used to the idea of an annual deficit there. Man, unless this hangover is clouding my thinking, an annual deficit of $1.7 million in perpetuity is about the same as a current debt of about $28 million, assuming that someone at the city is sober enough to invest the little money we have left and get a 6 percent return.

Day after day, year after year, we taxpayers are going to have to cough up eight dollars for every swimmer and skater that walks through those doors. Kind’a makes your head swim, don’t it?

Ah, who are we trying to kid? Our cash management plan makes George Bush’s look responsible. It’s a damn good thing we don’t have to come up with a foreign policy, that’s all I have to say.

Arrrgh. I just want to go back to bed. I swear that I’ll never spend again.

But then again, maybe this calls for a little hair from the dog that bit us. Is the Mother Lode still for sale?

Roger Marolt’s phone is off the hook today. Send your message to roger@maroltllp.com. He’ll get back to you eventually.


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