PLATTE CANYON SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1

TABOR NOTICE

QUESTION NO. 3A

PARK COUNTY, COLORADO

 

NOTICE OF ELECTION TO INCREASE TAXES ON A REFERRED MEASURE

 

Election Date: Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Election Hours: 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.

Local election office address and phone number: 501 Main Street, PO Box 220, Fairplay, CO 80440, 719-836-4333

 

Ballot Title and Text:

REFERENDUM 3A

 

SHALL PLATTE CANYON SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 TAXES BE INCREASED $100,000 ANNUALLY, OR SUCH LESSER AMOUNT AS THE BOARD OF EDUCATION MAY DETERMINE, COMMENCING IN TAX YEAR 2003 FOR THE PURPOSE OF OPERATING, MAINTAINING, EQUIPPING, AND IMPROVING THE MARGE E. HUDAK PUBLIC SWIMMING POOL SO LONG AS IT IS OPERATED BY THE PLATTE CANYON SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1, WITH THE PROCEEDS OF SUCH TAXES TO BE COLLECTED AND SPENT BY THE DISTRICT AS A VOTER-APPROVED REVENUE AND SPENDING CHANGE IN EACH YEAR WITHOUT REGARD TO ANY SPENDING OR REVENUE LIMITATIONS CONTAINED IN SECTION 20 OF ARTICLE X OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION?

 

Summary of written comments FOR the proposal:

 

The Marge E. Hudak Public Pool, located at Platte Canyon High School, is the only public indoor recreation facility in Northern Park County. The Marge E. Hudak Pool was built in 1976 with community program federal grant monies and is a community asset valued at $7,000.000 by the original architectural firm.

 

Current pool programs include Red Cross Certified swim lessons for preschool, school-age and home-school children, specialized swim stroke classes, as well as a variety of fitness classes for adults and seniors. Lap Swim and Open Swim sessions are regularly scheduled for the public. Three competitive swim teams train at the facility, the Platte Swim Club a summer swim team, and the Platte Canyon High School Boys and Girls Huskies Swim Teams. Lifeguard Training Classes and Certification permit high school students and community members to obtain jobs utilizing these skills at the pool or in jobs throughout their lifetimes. Cardiovascular and weight training equipment are also available to the public. Disabled persons and persons undergoing physical therapy rehabilitation regularly use the pool.

 

In 2002-2003 the pool and recreation facilities had over 20,000 visits. Seventy-three percent of these visits were from the community and 27% from schools.

 

Because of budget limitations, the Platte Canyon School District can no longer fund community use of the pool with its educational funds. Options are being sought to allow continued community use of the pool.

 

This referendum proposes that $100,000 per year in property taxes be collected to support the community use of the pool. This is calculated to be $9 or less per year per $100,000 of assessed property value (much less than market real estate value) or less than $18 per year for a house assessed at $200,000.

 

THE POOL WILL BE ABLE TO CONTINUE COMMUNITY SWIMMING PROGRAMS FOR ALL AGES, such as, but not limited to the following:

       Lap Swim

       Aquacise Classes (High and Low intensity)

       Water Walking / Physical Therapy

       Open Swim

       Cardiovascular Exercise Equipment

       Weight Training Equipment

       Youth Programs

       Stroke Improvement Classes

       Platte Swim Club (competitive youth summer league)

American Red Cross Programs offered:

       Learn to Swim Program

       Community Water Safety

       First Aid / CPR

       Guard Start

       Lifeguard Training

 

Summary of comments AGAINST the proposal:

 

VOTE NO on 3A

 

The Marge Hudak pool is owned by the Platte Canyon School District RE-1. It is used by students during schools hours, and is open to public use for about 30 hours per week. RE-1 funds the pool for usage by the students during school hours, and public individual users pay a usage fee during the public use times.

 

RE-1 will continue to have its full usage of the pool, even if this property tax increase fails; however, RE-1 is no longer willing to fund the public use of the pool.

 

Alternatives to a property tax increase:

 

         RE-1 reverse its decision to de-fund the pool. Taxpayers probably prefer that RE-1 direct as much funding as possible to academics and meeting State CSAP requirements, not to the pool. No more spending on non- academic luxuries like the $1.75 million spent on the football field.

         Reduce pool costs. Further decrease the hours of public use during low usage hours. Similar to the action taken by library districts throughout the metro area.

         Increase marketing efforts to public users. The public user should pay the actual cost required to support public usage. Raise or lower public use fees to maximize usage and revenue. Trial-and-error. More swim classes and competitions may attract more users. If these options fail to generate revenue, then it indicates broad public support does not exist, and this property tax increase is just another example of special interest group politics.

         Seek private donations or sponsorships.

         Contract-out operation of the pool to a private operator with the provision that RE-1 usage is a requirement. RE-1 has already successfully contracted-out several other school support functions.

 

In times of tight personal finances, voters' first priority is the maintenance and improvement of educational standards, not unrelated community activities. Rejecting this property tax increase will have absolutely no affect on academic programs. Public usage of the pool is a separate issue and should not be confused with maintaining educational excellence.

 

Other school districts, have found that asking voters for dedicated property taxes for identifiable purposes is a divide-and-conquer strategy for property tax increases that voters would otherwise reject. Approving this property tax will encourage Platte Canyon Schools to do likewise. Amendment 23, passed by state voters in 2000, gives the schools an additional 1 % above inflation per pupil funding, every year. Properly managed, adequate funding exists. Approving property tax increases removes the needed discipline to prioritize competing spending demands. Individual homeowners prioritize spending in their personal finances, every day.

 

This property tax increase is a band-aid, not a long-term fix. Will there be another property tax increase if public pool usage declines further? Deal with the problem now. Approving a property tax increase is not the best option.

 

VOTE NO on 3A

 


1A 1B/C 3A 3B/C Index

Discussion and Polls (Non-Scientific)

Back to Park County Politics