Letter: Rec center not a high priority
October 28, 2013
Rec center not a high priority
I would like to offer some comments on Karen D'Attilo's recent letter ("Rec center foes have tea party agenda," Oct. 22, The Aspen Times).
Her observation that it's the folks with a lot of money who are against having their taxes raised for the rec center is the complete opposite of what I hear in my conversations with friends and neighbors. Most people whom I have discussed this with are long-time locals who couldn't even afford to buy a house here in the valley today. They only own a home because they bought it 30 years ago — and they don't want to get priced out of their home because they can't afford the taxes.
An extra $300 to $400 a year on property taxes amounts to a week's worth of work for some people, and that's before they buy groceries, insurance, or gas, pay their mortgage or rent (don't kid yourself that renters won't feel this tax hike too), or put aside money for our already ever increasing property/income taxes (don't forget about the state income tax increase proposal on the ballot).
If you look at this as a chunk out of disposable income, it is huge for many people. In a perfect world everyone would have every amenity they want, but in this world we have to prioritize, and this rec center would be an unwanted, unnecessary financial burden for many people.
As far as property values going up, I guess that's a good thing if you want to cash out, but if, like me, your personal agenda is to be able to retire and to stay in your current home, then increased property values just mean more taxes. I don't think we're being fed misleading discouraging information — using the figures of proponents is enough to get my "no" vote on 4C and 4D.
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I was happy to vote for the original Crown Mountain development. I'm glad we have more athletic fields and tennis courts — these were big bang for the bucks, relatively low-cost, low-maintenance, high-usage amenities.
I moved here many years ago specifically for the outdoor recreation opportunities, and even if it was free, I doubt that I'd be using a rec center much. But there are plenty of private gyms in the midvalley for those who prefer indoor exercise. They offer all kinds of classes. When there is enough of a demand to support it, I'm sure that there will be a private gymnastics program as well. I do not feel compelled to subsidize the various proposed facilities that will be used by a very limited number of citizens.
Please think honestly about your own needs and how often, if ever, you will actually use the rec center. Because, unlike a private gym, you don't get to drop your membership in this one — whether you use it or not, you're paying for this one as long as you own your home.
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