Windsor Town Board looks to put rec center expansion on November ballot
December 17, 2013
The Windsor Town Board signalled during a Monday work session that its members were leaning toward putting the community recreation center expansion question on the November ballot, rather than holding an April election.
The board also discussed the different scenarios proposed for the expansion, holding firm on its previous decision to move forward with scenario five, which would not include fitness equipment such as weights, aerobic equipment and treadmills, but which could be added in the future.
Town Clerk Patti Garcia said the cost for the town to hold a municipal election in April would be about $30,000. If the board decided to put the expansion question on the November ballot, she said the cost would be about $45,000.
Mayor John Vazquez said he wasn't partial to either option, but that he'd hate to see the project delayed if a new member joins the board in the meantime and wants to go back through the discussion. He also said waiting until November could make the expansion a campaign issue in April for candidates vying for seats in districts two, four and six.
Board member Myles Baker said he thought the question could still become a campaign issue if the board decided to ask voters for the expansion in April. He said he leaned toward putting the issue on November's ballot.
Vazquez directed staff to pursue a November ballot question after hearing board members Jeremy Rose , Baker, Ivan Adams , Robert Bishop-Cotner and Don Thompson favor a November election, though Thompson clarified he leaned more toward April.
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Town Manager Kelly Arnold told board members they can still deliberate until January, when they will need to have a final decision.
On the topic of the center's layout and amenities, Adams said he had received questions recently from some of his constituents and didn't think the board had responded to them in their discussions.
He read the board five questions that discussed questions such as: why was the board "copping out" to private gyms in town? Was the board ignoring the desires of some residents who wanted the full expansion? By removing the fitness aspects of the expansion, was the board putting special interests ahead of the public? Would the ballot question clearly state that fitness equipment won't be included in the expansion?
"I just thought they were good questions and questions that some of us on this board feel we've answered — I don't," Adams said. "That's why I'm bringing them up."
Vazquez said Adams' selection of questions from the public spoke volumes about his position. Adams said those were simply the comments he received.
"My position has always been and always will be: if you want to go scenario one, and the majority wants to, fine. I'm not going to support it," Vazquez said. "Scenario five was a compromise that everybody came to, to grow into potentially adding fitness and what the fitness might look like in combination with our local businesses — and not in competition."
Scenario one of the expansion included aquatic features, weights, a track and aerobic equipment. In October, board members came up with scenario five, which leaves out the fitness equipment because of concerns that the center would compete with private fitness clubs in town.
"Quite honestly, I don't like the fact that this is being dredged out in a public forum," Vazquez said. "It's inappropriate to think that your colleagues have not given thorough thought and consideration to those questions."
Adams said he wanted to clarify the feelings of the board for the public and he personally felt "blind sided" when scenario five first came up, and he has never agreed with the proposal.
Thompson challenged the local fitness industry to reach out to the segment of Windsor's population who, according to surveys conducted on the topic, felt their needs weren't being met by the current businesses in town.
Thompson, Melendez and Bishop-Cotner said they'd support scenario five. "In the spirit of compromise," Baker said he would support scenario five. Rose said he continued to support scenario one, but that it was important for the board to have a "unified position," and he would support scenario five. Adams said he supported scenario one, but would go along with the majority of the board and support scenario five.