Some facts left out of rec recall flier
February 9, 2009
In today’s mail I received a flier that looked like a document from the Grand County Clerk and Recorder. I thought it might be a notice about the upcoming Fraser Valley Recreation District recall election so I opened it. Turns out it was from someone or some group who wanted me to vote to recall the current Board.
Curiously, it had no Political Action Committee or other name associated.
Upon opening the flier to the centerfold, I proceeded to learn about the group’s “Top ten reasons to just say yes to the FVMRD recall election.” The entire piece was in all caps, so I assume the shift button on their keyboard was not working. The top 10, I thought, I like David Letterman so I’ll read on. So here’s their list, whoever they are and some additional facts that got left out of this mystery flier.
Reason 10 and 9 (sorry, I know David would not approve of combining top 10 items) speaks to mill levy (tax rate) increases due to a bond that was passed. Curiously, the mysterious party forgot to mention those bonds where PASSED BY VOTERS OF THE DISTRICT IN NOVEMBER 2007 (sorry, my finger got stuck on the shift key for a minute).
Reason 8 points out that there will be annual membership fees to use the facility. It fails to mention that fees are commonplace for recreation centers around the state and country to get users to pay for some of the costs of operating such facilities. The flyer also didn’t mention that you can go to the new recreation center and simply pay a daily fee; no annual membership is required.
Reason 7 says that contract negotiations where carried out by the attorney for FVMRD, not by the Board, and that discussions about the negotiations where not disclosed to the public. First, we all know who attorneys work for – their clients. In this case it was the FVMRD Board rightfully gave direction to their attorney who then carried out their wishes. In Colorado, special districts (and other governmental entities for that matter) routinely and lawfully go in to private ‘Executive Session’ to discuss negotiations of contracts. It may not seem right to the average citizen, but this activity is fully within Colorado Law and is a prudent practice for public agencies to use in negotiations.
Reason 6 is relative to land negotiations with Grand Park. The flier points out that FVMRD Board member Beth Sands worked for Grand Park during the negotiations.
The literature did not point out that Ms. Sands filed, prior to the negotiations, a legal disclosure statement that identified this conflict of interest. She reaffirmed this disclosure at several subsequent Board meetings and abstained from participating in discussions and voting on the land dedication issue. People have business endeavors and conflicts of interest do happen. That’s why we have legal disclosures which all seem to be in order here.
Reason 5 states that the land dedication agreement has a clause that a private hotel could be attached to the recreation center. This sounds like a prudent, mutually beneficial public-private partnership like the one Glenwood Springs has with a local hospital.
Reason 4 is really about bond costs that were raised in points 10 and 9 (rats, that makes it only the top nine reasons, not very Letterman like).
Reason 3 (we’re on the home stretch folks) suggests that the Board’s recent actions were rushed at all costs and put the District at financial risk. Seems like they merely did what the voters approved: bond issuance, build a recreation center for the community, an new golf course clubhouse and improvements to the Sport Complex in Fraser.
Reason 2 is accountability. Cool, I like accountability what’s the point?
Reason 1 ” your tax dollars. Lets’ talk about our tax dollars. As far as I can tell this person or group seeks transparency yet does not put its name on fliers. Meanwhile, opponents of the rec center have cost all of us taxpayers quite a bit of money. First they filed suit against the County Clerk, Secretary of State and the FVMRD Board for not conducting the November 2007 election properly. That suit was dismissed at all levels but it delayed issuance of public bonds for the approved projects at a taxpayer cost of about $400,000. Yes, that’s $400,000 that could have gone to more recreation facilities for our kids and community or to retire debt early or to have less debt. The District has also had to expend $20,000 in legal fees in defense of these claims. Who knows what it cost Grand County and the State of Colorado for their legal defense?
Who is wasting whose money?
Before we leave transparency, I want to disclose my bias (lest I be accused of wrongdoing that would put me on Late Night). I am a second homeowner who believes the facilities approved by the voters in November 2007 will be a great asset to the Fraser Valley and its locals, second homeowners and visitors. I have proudly spent my 28 year career as a parks and recreation professional developing better individuals and better communities along the Front Range. I have followed the FVMRD projects we passed 15 months ago and I like what I see ” thoughtful planning, good processes and design consultants, quality contractors and workmanship, excellent acquisition of alternative funding by the FVMRD Foundation and a commitment to get the best value for the dollar spent. That’s accountability.
Finally, the flier suggests a yes vote for the recall of current Board members and for a new slate of new board members at the election on Feb. 17. I say check the facts before you vote because this person or group’s flier doesn’t have all of them nor are they correct. I’ll be voting to keep the current FVMRD Board and I thank them for their good work.
Fraser/ Highlands Ranch