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I guess I'm not all that concerned about the "blank check." It's revenue earmarked for Parks and Recreation. The park system, the Centre, the proposed Senior Center and the Cemetery all would fall under the the umbrella of that department. Saying that X% will go to this and X% will go for that is unnecessary, and it ties your hands down the road. If you say 20% will go to support the Centre and the Centre breaks even and doesn't need the $, you forced yourself into a corner and have to spend the money in a way that makes no sense. The people running the parks department have to be able to look at reality and allocate the money where it will be most effective, and that will change from year to year.
The people working for the City are not villains. They are not doing this trying to rip people off. They want the revenue so they can provide better services for the community. The money will be spent to improve our community parks, provide a center for our seniors, etc. Obviously if you don't care about those services you shouldn't vote to support them. I use those services, and I'd like to see them improved.
The Vessell's Fitness opposition estimates that the tax costs you $100/year, but is taking the revenue and dividing by population and doesn't take into account that people who don't live here buy things here and pay sales tax. The City estimates it costs you about $35/year. I have no idea where that number comes from and is probably low. So in real dollars the tax will cost you somewhere between $35-$100 a year.
I am voting for the tax, but with reservation. I am a little miffed at the fact that we're supporting a Centre that hasn't stuck to their original promises of being self-sufficient. Either they had not taken into account for their overhead and bit off more than they could chew, or they have a bunch of clowns running the place. I like the Centre, I like what it offers the community. I like that it opened the first DG course. I don't like that the money paid for leagues and tournaments is not reinvested back into the sport, and I also do not like their inflated disc prices. I would be willing to fund-raise for the DG course, but I do not feel the the course as is will remain that lay-out...nor do I think they would appreciate the gesture. I don't know, thats just my two cents. Justin and I have talked with Ken, and while he respects our club, I don't think we're even on his radar...obviously...regardless...I'm voting for it solely based on how it DOES benefit CHILDREN and FAMILIES in this area...the tax is a very small price to pay for something like this in our communities.
I will stay out of the entire political areanandjust say that what I DO have a problem with is the fact that I have played in every league since this started and I have enjoyed every minute of it BUT I do have issues wih the money earned not being strictly earmarked for course improvement. I understand that most things have overhead but I cannot see what that would be in this instance; they already mow the park and I don't think Scott is on their payroll (hmmm... or maybe he is and this thread is a conspiracy) and if he is I'm sure it's not fair compensation for the work that he does.
I was in St. Louis at the time, so I don't know the ins and outs of the Centre deal. I do remember that the main group driving the idea was a swimming club that wanted an indoor pool. Indoor pools always lose money. Always. Anyplace with an indoor pool that is making a profit is making enough money from something else to cover what the pool loses. So if they really did promise that the Centre was going to break even and have an indoor pool, they were smoking something. It's too bad that the conversation comes off like it does, because what the Centre makes is on the high end for a community center. It has been making 90% most of they years I have noticed, and for a community center with a pool that is really quite good.
I worked in a community center that made 35% and everybody was happy as a clam with it and passed a referendum to build a second community center to lose even more money. It just depends on the POV, I guess.
One thing I do recall about the Centre deal was that Ken Kwantes was completely cut out of the deal. He was/is so disliked in the community that the people who proposed the Centre completely bypassed him figuring that if he was associated with the idea at all that it would fail. That is why we have the silly double department with two directors set-up. So the proposal was put together by a bunch of people with no formal training in parks and recreations. They probably put on rose-colored glasses and convinced themselves that the Centre could break even. I guess it doesn't upset me that it doesn't because I never believed it could. I'm actually very impressed that it recovers as much as it does.
The dollar to dollar thing is a disc golf idea. Nobody else asks about it. I ran recreation programs for years, and no one else ever asked about it. Volleyball players pay league fees but don't demand that 100% be spent on volleyball. Softball players pay league fees and don't demand that 100% of it goes back into softball. Soccer, basketball, swimming teams...you name it, I've run it. Disc golf was the only sport in a dozen years where the players demanded to know what I was doing with "all that money." Everybody else seemed to understand that we had an office with a phone that didn't answer itself and lights that were not free. You know, overhead.
The main expense disc golf in Hazelwood had was me. 35% off the top of all programs to cover "administrative costs." Most places have a percent off the top for that, although 35% was pretty high. The other places I worked were 25% and 15%. It costs money to run programs.
I do get paid by the City to run the league. I get paid $7 something an hour, right around minimum wage. I turn in about 1/3 of my time to make sure the league shows a profit on paper. If I turned in my real time, it would be in the red. I don't run the league to make money, although the small checks I get help keep my wife off my ass about the amount of time I spend over there. When I quit, they will ask one of you guys to run it.
Getting a little check from the City doesn't bias me toward Prop A. I'm not going to get a raise. Working in municipal recreation for 12 years makes me bias toward Prop A. Obviously I think parks and recreation is important, and growing up here I know how long the park system has been ignored by the City Council for funding. When I moved back here in '05 I talked to Kwantes about disc golf. He said he had been putting it in his budget for four years, but every year when he tried to spend the money the City Council vetoed it. Four years after that the course went in with donated baskets. The City Council still has not approved any money for disc golf. Kwantes hands are tied. They won't even approve the money to finish the expansion of the softball fields at Ber Juan. The work that is already done was paid for through a grant (like our baskets.) The City gives him no money to do anything to improve the parks. He is going to retire here soon, I'd like to see his replacement actually have a budget to do something.
Anyway, it's a roll of the dice. Maybe the guy who replaces Kwantes will suck and be lazy and never accomplish anything even with money from Prop A. Maybe the next guy will be a grant writing wizard and get a ton of stuff done without Prop A money. There are no guarantees. You just have to decide what you feel better about and go with it.
Scott, I know your educational background...you would be a fool not to lobby for that job...
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