Spread rec savings around, newcomer says
There’s more to Vail recreation than golf.That’s why Michelle Hall, one of two new members on the Vail Recreation District board, fervently hopes a motion passed just before she was sworn in carries no weight. Hall had not yet been sworn in when, at the district board’s May 11 meeting, outgoing member Hermann Staufer made a controversial move.After Vail voters passed a property tax increase to pay debts leftover from the renovation of Dobson Ice Arena, Staufer proposed that revenue generated at the golf course that had been paying off Dobson debt be reserved for use at the golf course. Since most of the district’s revenue comes from the golf course, that would have sent most of the roughly $280,000 saved by the tax increase into the golf course, which is also considered in need or repairs.
Before the election, district officials said those savings would be used throughout the rec district and also allow the district to build up its cash reserves.During the ensuing discussion on May 11, board Chairwoman Julie Hansen expressed her opinion that it is important for the district to build those reserves, as well as spread out the general fund savings across the district. Fellow board member Nino Licciardi agreed.But while Hall and fellow new board member Scott Proper watched before they were sworn in, Staufer’s motion passed 5-0. The motion, however, doesn’t obligate the district to actually use all the general fund savings at the golf course.”It was done basically to honor Hermann for his service to the board,” rec district director Dennis Stein said. “It wasn’t binding.” Hall said she sure hopes that’s the case.
“We can’t funnel everything into one building,” she said. “One of the reasons I got on the board is we’ve got a whole lot of programs going on, not just golf.”The district runs an active gymnastics program, as well as a tennis center, soccer leagues and numerous other activities, Hall said. “I want to make sure everything stays strong,” she said.Stein said he hopes most of the general fund savings can be dedicated to district cash flow during the winter months. Most years, the district has to issue “tax anticipation bonds” – essentially low-interest, short-term loans – to meet its financial obligations during the low-revenue months. The interest doesn’t add up to much, Stein said, but the district could save some money if it had cash on hand.”The amount we borrow is basically what we saved with the tax issue,” Stein said. “From a staff perspective, that’s a primary need.”
==========================================Recreational activitiesIn addition to golf, the Vail Recreation District offers or sponsors numerous programs for adults and children, including: Softball and soccer leagues; ice skating and hockey; sports camps; a youth center; a hiking club; Nordic skiing and snowshoeing; a hiking club, and; tennis.==========================================