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Letters to the editor

Vail Recreation Board

After considering the public input at the Feb. 22, Vail Recreation District Board of Directors meeting, we felt it would be best to quickly clarify the current VRD situation. Our goal is to provide the facts on our current programming and finances to the public.Since the VRD staff assumed that the county would collect and remit the $282,000 for the Dobson debt service, it was not included in the 2005 budget. As we are all aware, this expectation was in error, and the VRD directly should have collected this additional tax and paid the bond issue as in past years. The VRD Board of Directors deeply regrets that staff failed to collect this additional tax. We apologize to the Vail Recreation District taxpayer who so faithfully voted for its approval. We have been advised by our legal counsel that we will be able to collect all taxes approved to repay the bond; we will only be delayed by one year.The Vail Recreation District has enlisted the services of Mr. Ken Marchetti of Robertson & Marchetti, P.C., whose expertise is in special district accounting, administration and management, to develop a financial plan assisting the VRD to regain a strong financial position. This plan will address the immediate financial position of the VRD and develop long-range plans for the future.In developing this plan, the VRD Board of Directors is aiming to move forward with its 2005 goals and hoping to have minimal impact on its budget. The core of our programming will go forward as initially planned and we will continue to provide outstanding experiences for our residents and guests.Nino Licciardi, Julie Hansen, Peter Cook, Scott Proper, Michelle HallVail Recreation District BoardTime to build centerThere was a presentation and then short discussion about the conference center at Tuesday morning’s VCBA meeting. I was surprised at the comments from a few folks who questioned whether “these people” that would use the conference facility really match “our market.” I’m afraid these merchants fail to recognize that “these people” are ALREADY coming to Vail. They ARE our market. Group business accounts for more than half of the business at the Marriott (the largest generator of room nights in Vail). The percentage is even higher at the Cascade Hotel. Smaller conference hotels such as Manor Vail, the Antlers and others generally attribute 20 percent to 40 percent of our annual revenues to group business. These people are doctors, lawyers and other professionals. They are a huge part of our existing business and it’s too bad they DON’T wear funny hats. Then maybe everyone would recognize just how important conference business already is to Vail’s economy.Of course, in the future we’ll finally be able to accommodate groups of 1,000-1,500, thanks to the new conference center. And there IS one big difference between the people that will come with those groups and the ones currently coming with groups of 100500. There will be a lot more of them!So will we be overrun? Hardly. The 80,000 additional projected room nights attributable to the conference center represents a mere 10 percent of the current volume of annual overnight guests in Vail. If you also consider the number of people who don’t pay for a room, but instead stay in their own place, or with friends, the impact is even less. And what does that tell us? Two things. First, there won’t be an enormously noticeable difference in the number of people in town. And yet, who among us would eschew our portion of the additional $33 million in annual gross sales those numbers represent? Secondly, it’s not a pie-in-the sky number. If someone told you a facility like this would increase our collective revenues by 40 percent, it would be cause for skepticism. But 10 percent? That’s not only doable, it’s probably conservative. Of course, that’s nothing new. All the numbers associated with the conference center are conservative – the costs, the revenues, the economic impact, everything. That’s why this facility is going to be a roaring success. It will be so successful that five years from now you won’t be able to find a soul who will admit to opposing it today. I just wish we’d get on with it.Rob LeVineGeneral ManagerAntlers at VailNo senseHere, here to Don Rogers’ column last Monday. There is very little common sense among the Democrats that were recently elected, nor among their voters. Where are all the tree huggers that also complain that housing is becoming astronomically priced? (The “I now have moved here and no one else should be allowed” mentality) Doesn’t taking so much land out of circulation further escalate values for the remaining land? As Edwards continues to grow, where will the tax base come from to pay for infrastructure? Rick Hermes has attempted to address the growth with a reasonable plan.By the way, did anyone notice that Medicaid now must pay for fat treatments for their patients? Another gift from the Dumb-o-crats. A one-hour hike and keeping your mouth shut are free and will reduce the load.Don Donnalley Avon Wasteful spendingDon Rogers, great article (last Monday) about the open space. My question to you is: How do the people who oppose the wasteful spending on Eaton go about stopping it? I am am only a couple of years into this community and would love to stay longer. That will not be easy if some of the worst decisions by elected officials are to be made continually. Keep up the great lambasting of the commissioners and let me and the public know how we can oppose this by more than just letters to the editor. Ben Schrader Vail, Colorado


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