Letter: No new bond issue for Basalt
In four years, we in Basalt will have paid off our bond issues of 2013 and 2014 and other supportive costs (i.e., staff salaries), and the taxpayers will have invested well over $10 million for our 2.5-acre waterfront share of the Pan and Fork property. These are not “funny numbers” but confirmed by staff. The waterfront belongs to the town for perpetuity, and some of the landscaping has been installed along the path at the water’s edge. For a community that could not find the money to water the hanging baskets on the light posts, we will be asked by our council to support an additional bond request to support a substantially pared-back version of the “park improvements” as presented by a well-respected landscape-architecture firm. But before we will be allowed to support or reject that bond issue of approximately $4 million, as of this writing, we will be forced to approve an additional $3 million to purchase the remaining portion of the property along Two Rivers Road — or no deal! The economists working with the town (Ehlers) would suggest that by extending our present payout to the year 2026, it would be less painful to the individual taxpayer and, with debt service, would likely add an additional $10 million to the total, bringing the projected investment to over $20 million! Because of the more recent dilution of the park’s proposed enhancements in order to incur public support, this may be reduced to $18 million. Well, what would we have purchased? We would have a park that includes our waterfront portion of 2.5 acres and half of the street side of the property at Midland Avenue, the park would be sodded and irrigated, and the children’s water feature would be much reduced. The remaining 1.1 acres, designated for future “development,” would be owned by the town, but its future would be managed by the mayor and her council.
I would ask my friends and neighbors who signed various petitions in favor of this process if this was the outcome that was suggested or what they expected. At a time when we are faced with other civic issues that are yet to be factored in — the Art Base growth, the needs of our precious regional library, the questions regarding the performing-arts center in Willits, early child care facilities, affordable housing options, the possible relocation of our Town Hall and the many infrastructural repairs and improvements (parks, roadways, curbs, lighting, etc.) — is this bond request truly in the interests of our community and a responsible path for the council to be promoting? I think not! Please, make your voice heard.
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