Letter: No on Mountain Rec’s flawed proposal
Mountain Recreation’s rush to ballot is forcing us to vote on a flawed proposal. The district’s job is to operate recreational facilities owned by municipalities in Western Eagle County, from county parks in Edwards to the Gypsum Recreation Center. Mountain Recreation is contracted by property owners to operate the facility through what is called an intergovernmental agreement, or IGA, and these contracts act like any other civil contract would. Unfortunately, in their rush to get this on the ballot, Mountain Recreation officials have put to the voters a proposal that would unilaterally change these IGAs.
There are many IGAs, in place so let’s look at the biggest one, between Mountain Recreation and the Town of Gypsum regarding the Gypsum Recreation Center. From this layperson’s reading of the document, there are three major conflicts the initiative creates:
Article 5.2.2 states “program and user fees shall be uniform for all residents and taxpayers of Eagle County.” When this was brought to the attention of Gypsum staff, I was told that there is a meeting to discuss the issue in August, three months after the election will have already forced the answer on the town.
Article 8 states “Neither Party shall, without the prior written consent of both Parties, make any alterations, improvements, or additions to the Community Center. Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, all costs for any alterations, improvements, or additions to the Community Center shall be borne equally by the Parties.” The ballot initiative is Mountain Recreation asking voters of the district for changes that the Town has not agreed to. When 6A was introduced last year, Mountain Recreation took the time to get formal support for their proposed changes by the Gypsum Town Council. This initiative is a different ask, with different changes, with a new Town Council, and, most importantly, the support died when 6A failed at the ballot and in no way carries over to this ballot initiative. Mountain Recreation has not made any attempts to get in front of the new Town Council to request an agreement to these changes.
Article 14.1 lays out the expiration of the agreement in 2025. Should Gypsum choose not to exercise the renewal clause there is currently a seamless way for the Town to take over operations. The All Access Rec proposal makes this far more complicated, costly, and litigious by creating an outstanding debt issue, precisely why the IGA was written to expire *after* the initial debt payment was paid off. Mountain Recreation could have taken the time to mitigate this issue instead of bullying the town into compliance going to ballot first.
These are just the examples that I was able to find and verify through discussions with Town of Gypsum and Mountain Recreation staff in one of six IGAs that the district currently operates under.
I am asking you to vote “NO/AGAINST” funding for the All Access Rec Program.