Rec/Park district bond measure: Discussions resume for less-pricey 30-year tax
TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Talks have resumed regarding a controversial taxpayer-funded bond that would pay for trail completion and new aquatics and performing arts centers, although it appears headed toward a much-smaller price tag.Peter Werbel, a director with the Truckee-Donner Recreation andamp; Park District, said Monday the board is investigating lowering costs to roughly $11 million to $14 million, a decision made due to the slim 2 percent approval by voters earlier this month to OK the Tahoe Truckee Unified School Districtandamp;#8217;s Measure A parcel tax.Like Measure A, the bond measure would also need a two-thirds majority to pass.andamp;#8220;Iandamp;#8217;d say we had hoped Measure A approval would have been three or four points higher. Now, weandamp;#8217;re very concerned this might not fly,andamp;#8221; said Werbel, speaking about the previously estimated $20 million bond.The initial proposal would have allotted $12.5 million for an aquatics center, $6.5 million for a performing arts center and about $8 million for the Legacy Trail, Tahoe Donner Connector Trail and the Brockway Trail completion andamp;#8212; a total of $27 million, with the additional $7 million coming from leftover funds from the recently built community center. Parcel owners would pay off the bond in annual payments over 30 years.Possible reductions could come from pool design at the aquatics center, Werbel said, which now might incorporate a concrete dome structure that would reduce the cost to about $8.5 million.Werbel said the district is also exploring additional funding sources that could drop the price tag in the $11 million to $14 million range, but everything is still to be determined.andamp;#8220;Weandamp;#8217;re trying to get those numbers down to a cost that might be more palpable to the community,andamp;#8221; Werbel said.
Throughout the latter half of 2010, the board consistently delayed whether or not to put the bond to a public vote due to divided public opinion and mixed polling data from trails, aquatics and theater groups supporting the bond.Board members do not expect a formal decision to happen until August, when a board vote would allow the bond measure to go on the November ballot. Initially, a formal decision was hoped to be made at this Aprilandamp;#8217;s board meeting, Werbel said.Werbel said an extensive public education campaign must be conducted by the bondandamp;#8217;s supporters in order for it to be approved by voters.andamp;#8220;Proper outreach to the community andamp;#8212; with exactly what this bond measure entails, with utter and complete transparency andamp;#8212; is paramount,andamp;#8221; said board member John Monson.In addition to clear communication, Monson said the other and far more significant foundation for a successful bond is its reflection of the communityandamp;#8217;s recreational goals.andamp;#8220;Our job is to have the proper framework for budgets and buildings in place, so that the community can then decide andamp;#8212; based upon the way itandamp;#8217;s being proposed andamp;#8212; whether performing arts, aquatics and trails should come to fruition in Truckee,andamp;#8221; Monson said.Before the board makes a decision, Charles Heath, a principal consultant with San Francisco firm TBWB Strategies andamp;#8212; hired by TDRPD previously to research voter approval andamp;#8212; will again be consulted, Werbel said.
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