Town voters now know how the Community Recreation Center expansion’s sales tax increase will look on the ballot in November.
The board unanimously approved a resolution at its Aug. 25 meeting to set the ballot language for the recreation center expansion question that town voters will decide in the November election.
The question will ask voters if the town’s sales tax should increase by 0.75 percent, or 7.5 cents on a $10 purchase, to fund a $16.1 million bond to expand the current center, 250 N. 11th St.
The expansion would include a leisure pool, lap lanes, water slide, auxiliary gym, track, aerobics and wellness studios, expanded locker rooms, a supervised child area, a classroom/party room and additional parking.
While there would be space for fitness equipment, the town board decided the equipment itself will not be included in the project, as it could compete with existing fitness centers in town. Instead, the board has said the town could partner with a private gym to provide the equipment and programming later on.
Town Attorney Ian McCargar said 0.55 percent of the 0.75 percent increase will be set aside to make the annual bond repayments, with the remaining 0.2 percent set aside for operations and maintenance of the building. McCargar said if the 0.2 set aside for maintenance is more than is needed to maintain the building, that money can be used to pay the bonds down earlier.
Once the 20-year bonds are paid off, the tax rate will go down 0.55 percent, and the town will continue to collect the 0.2 percent for operations and maintenance.
Board member Myles Baker thanked staff for their work putting together the ballot question and for members of the public who spoke in favor and against the proposed expansion, whose input he said has helped the town get this point.
“I believe we’re presenting a solid financial plan in terms of sunsetting the 0.55 tax and not leaving future boards strapped by continuing the 0.2 percent for maintenance and operations,” Baker said. “I’d hate to see this facility as a burden to future boards and I’m hoping the 0.2 percent and the maintenance will keep that from happening. I’m excited we’re at this point and can finally get this on the ballot. It’s going to be a nice amenity for our residents.”