Opinion: Pinkerton’s stance on IVGID rec fee ‘grossly unfair’ | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Pinkerton’s stance on IVGID rec fee ‘grossly unfair’

I read last week’s GM Corner from IVGID’s Steve Pinkerton, “Paying now, rather than later,” with interest and amusement.

Mr. Pinkerton seemed to say with some pride that, “Less than half of the facilities fee goes toward reducing the cost of lift tickets, greens fees and recreation programs for our residents. The majority of the facilities fee is dedicated toward the maintenance, planning and replacement of our capital assets.”

He goes on to say “…while the balance of the fee goes toward paying down debt service for major capital projects such as the replacement of the Chateau, renovation of the Golf Course and Ski Lodge and the construction of the Skier Services building.”

Mr. Pinkerton appears to be oblivious to the fact that if IVGID did not hand out discounts for “lift tickets, greens fees and recreation programs for our residents,” maybe IVGID would not have to charge a facility fee (i.e., a tax on all of us) at all.

I would remind him that real businesses in the private sector generate sufficient cash flow from business operations to “pay down debt service for major capital projects.”

If he were a business manager in the private sector, he would be embarrassed to admit that he has to turn to taxpayers for a subsidy.

I realize that Mr. Pinkerton grew up in the public sector and knows only “tax and spend.” And that is fine for water and sewer systems, roads and city parks. Those represent a common good that we all use daily.

But a ski resort, a rec center and golf courses cater to a very small segment of the community. Taxing all property owners to subsidize a small sliver of the populace is grossly unfair.

Let the golfers pay the market rate for golf, let the skiers pay the market rate for skiing, let the health enthusiasts pay the market rate for a workout. Allow all the property owners to keep their $730 Rec Fee and spend it on what they enjoy.

If by chance you think these subsidized venues here in IVGID are a good idea (as Mr. Pinkerton does), ask yourself, “where does the wish list end?” How about an ice rink, how about a zip line at Diamond Peak, how about a Ferris wheel at Incline Beach, a shooting range on IVGID land up by Incline Lake, etc.

IVGID does not have to do all these things. That is what the private sector is for. And I can assure you that the private sector will do it better. If you doubt this, ask yourself if you would rather own a share in the US Postal Service or FedEx; the Veterans Administration or HCA?

IVGID’s recreational enterprises need to stand on their own two feet. If these businesses are as good as they claim to be, they should not require a tax subsidy.

Bill Echols is an Incline Village resident. He also served on the Diamond Peak Steering Committee this year.