My Turn: Bond measure not a good idea
TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; For the past year or so, I have been attending the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park board meetings. My interest has been the proposal to build an aquatic center and asking the voters to pay for it with bond.My understanding is the original plan was to build an aquatic center. Survey results concluded that it was doomed to fail unless a Bond could appeal to more voters. So the Board entered into discussions with people who wanted trails and a performing arts center. Consultants suggested this kind of Bond might have a better chance. After much discussion, the trails interests have bailed out and the performing arts folks are still trying to decide if they should join the Bond effort. The Rec and Park District has the funds to build a pool without a Bond so I cannot understand why they feel the need to burden the community with another tax.The proponents of the pool with give you all kinds of reasons why a pool is good: Expand the competitive swim program and hold andamp;#8220;meetsandamp;#8221; in Truckee. That will bring money to the local merchants (with no real facts to back it up); Construction will bring local jobs (public agencies, however, generally have to award contracts to the lowest bidder and there are no pool builders in Truckee.)Proponents say an aquatic center will also be good for old people and children, although there are currently 11 pools in the local community. The list of justifications goes on.The performing arts proponents want an upscale facility that will seat hundreds of people and attract big name performers to provide entertainment for visitors; however, there are no firm designs for the facility, where it will be built or who will build it. Seems like a bad idea to ask voters to pay for something so andamp;#8220;iffy.andamp;#8221; According to the Districtandamp;#8217;s projections the pool and performing arts facility will lose in excess of two hundred thousand dollars a year.There are many reasons why a bond is a bad idea. Burdening our community with another tax in these economic times is irresponsible. Unemployment (11 percent), under employment, foreclosures and poverty are real in our community. Forty three percent of the students in the Truckee Tahoe Unified School District are receiving free or reduced meals and free or reduced transportation fees. Seniors and retirees have seen their andamp;#8220;nest eggsandamp;#8221; dwindle with no opportunity for recovery. Requests at food banks have increased.We cannot continue to ignore the financial situation of our friends and neighbors. Truckee Sales Tax is 14.5 percent higher than the national average and now in November the state is going to ask the voters to approve an increase in Sales Tax and a higher Income Tax. I am upset when the bond proponents say andamp;#8220;it isnandamp;#8217;t a lot of money.andamp;#8221; Maybe for some folks it wonandamp;#8217;t matter, but for many others who are afraid to speak out, it does matter. Small amounts here and small amounts there add up and do make a difference. Enough is enough!On June 18, the Recreation and Park Board will hold a andamp;#8220;special meetingandamp;#8221; to determine whether it might go forward with a bond in November. If you have the same concerns I do, please take the time to attend this meeting and let your voice be heard.Lynne R. Larson is a Truckee resident.
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