OPINION – Rec Center > Schools?

To the editor:

My name is Andrea Sutton and I live in Berthoud.

I believe many of our board members and town staff participated in the school tours and the meetings that took place in the spring of this year. You learned about the many needs of our schools within the Thompson School District. It has been in the news that our Thompson School District is going to ask for a mill and bond property tax increase on the ballot for the November 2018 election. The City of Loveland’s board of trustees has already stated they will not ask for a tax increase in the next election in support of the school district. I would hope our board of trustees would place as much value on our schools, students, teachers and staff. I understand the PORT Committee has been planning and wanting a recreation center for a long time, but I also understand our county has voted down mill and bond tax increases for the Thompson School District over the last 12 years or so. It’s extremely hard for me to understand why our board of trustees would even consider asking for any kind of tax increase on the upcoming ballot in the November election. If you want to put it on any ballot next year or in 2020, great, but please think of our children’s education, our schools, students, teachers and staff and do not ask for a tax increase from our Town of Berthoud residents.

Not many people will vote yes for two tax increases on one ballot (*I have since found out there will possibly be six “asks” on the November ballot, not including the one from our BOT) and we need to help our schools more than we need to have recreational improvements. There are two recreation centers within 20 minutes from Berthoud, in cities that have 100,000+ residents – Longmont and Loveland. Erie has a recreation center, but they also have 23,000 residents. Berthoud has 8,000 residents, on a good day.

I had heard the recreation center would cost $30 million, but it’s really around $50 million, closer to $80 million with all three phases of this master plan. The one percent sales tax increase is projected to raise $1.2 million a year to go toward the needed funding, but that is not taking into account the operational costs, which start out around $350,000 and increase to almost $500,000 after the recreation center is finished.

*Six possible tax increase measures on the November Ballot:

  1. State. 0.62 percent sales tax increase for highway funding
  2. County: Thompson School District is asking for a mill and bond that will increase property taxes.

**for a home valued at $350,000 it is an estimated increase of $25 a month ($0.80 a day)

  1. County: 0.25 percent sales tax increase for a mental health facility
  2. County: Berthoud Library District
  3. County: Berthoud Fire District
  4. County: Larimer County Sheriff Department

So, the Town of Berthoud asking for a one percent sales tax increase would be #7.

Andrea Sutton
Berthoud

 

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