Letter: Basalt’s creative accounting
Steve Chase has been promoting a mega distorted financial analysis of the proposed bond issue to purchase the legacy river park, a version of which was printed in the Sept. 8 Aspen Daily News. I believe it is intentional distortion to mislead and unjustly mold public opinion as others will repeat this absurd distorted story without questioning in more letters to the editor to create more angst and confusion in Basalt with the goal being to have the bond issue fail and push the River Park into the hands of Lowe Enterprises.
Steve Correctly recites some of the town costs, but with some fantasy accounting mixed with other absurdities, he manages to arrive a grossly escalated and distorted story of what the true cost of the River Park is and will be upon completion. Below is a different fictitious situation that I feel in many ways resembles Steve’s financial analysis.
Assume your friend Trick, buys a house for $500,000 two years ago, putting no money down but taking out a loan for $500,000. Trick and his partner move in after closing. Two years pass and Trick looks at his mortgage statement of $475,000 still owning on the purchase.
The next day Trick spots his friend Dopey on his way home from work and talks him into having a beer. Trick and Dopey go way back. Trick tells Dopey how the house he paid $500,000 has grown in cost to $975,000.
More beers later Trick decides the story needs embellishment, so he tells Dopey that things are really going to get expensive with his house as he had received a hugely inflated estimate to do a remodel from Trustworthy Building Company for $250,000. Average Joe Builder also submitted a bid but it was for only $100,000. Trick thinks the $250,000 bid makes a better story so he tells Dopey that is what it will cost. (In Basalt’s case, some park cost estimates for the project had Basalt paying $2,500 for bear-proof trash cans that Aspen pays $780 for, and $65,000 to remove 150 linear feet of metal fence that borders Midland Avenue that another contractor submitted a bid of $2,700 to remove.)
As the waitress drops the third round off, Trick feels that adding another $300,000 to arrive at the real cost of your house is appropriate. At the end of the session Dopey is mad over how his friend Trick is being taken advantage of.
The next day Dopey, seeking justice, writes a letter to the editor and also tells Curly who then tells Moe how Trick¹s home grew from the initial $500,000 cost to the expected final cost of $1,525,000. ($500,000 + $475,00 + $250,000 + $300,000 = $1,525,000). They all leave and tell others not to ever buy a home because the same thing could happen to you.
The true bond issue numbers will be coming out soon that will show that the bond proposals are the wisest investments that Basalt could ever make.
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