Letter: Vote yes on 6A
I am a strong supporter of Ballot Issue 6A, despite the fact that I may or may not get significant direct effects from it. There is no question that the Vail Valley (perhaps especially downvalley) has markedly increased in full-time population over the past decade. The current Mountain Rec services and facilities are now questionably adequate for the demand. If 6A is approved by the voters, over the next couple of years those facilities and the associated programs (for adults and kids both) will be significantly expanded. Here’s my take:
Cons: The major cons appear to be financial, and these are legitimate concerns. The proposed tax increase may well be seen as unfair to those who are either part-time residents, those whose $450,000 homes are now thought to be worth over a million, and those who, for whatever reasons, are unable to utilize the facilities and programs offered by Mountain Recreation. After all, why should one person pay 2-5 times as much for the same potential benefits just because their house is deemed more valuable? There are many homeowners who pushed their financial limits for their houses recently or years ago and now find lower income or even lost jobs, minimal increases in social security payments over the past five years, and far greater inflation than the government “officially” indicates. And some of these $450,000 houses may be taxed so that we’re talking $500 to $600 or more (not counting a membership) for improvements and expansion of Mountain Rec.
Pros: Some of these are not quite provable but seem logical whereas others are definitely so. The Mountain Rec facilities, although uneven (three different locations) help make the Vail Valley an even more attractive/desirable place to live. It may be argued that the local availability of these facilities increases the potential sale value of a house by $3,000 to $4,000 or more. However, as a physician, my support is really based mostly upon the programs available to kids and adults and the ability of Mountain Rec to support them (as best as possible at all three locations) and the potential health benefits to the people of the Vail Valley. From a personal standpoint, I might or might not make use of the Eagle location but will certainly spend plenty of time watching my grandchildren play hockey, perhaps enjoy bike programs and certainly some of the summer camp programs. Actually, having a new exercise facility in Eagle might even get me to join and utilize it, especially in the winter!
The potential health benefits are inarguable — it has long been shown that daily exercise, whether walking, running, yoga, biking, hiking, weight training, pickleball, tennis, aerobics, hockey, etc, can help maintain weight, decrease cholesterol levels (and maybe triglycerides as well), ameliorate hypertension, improve blood sugar regulation in non-insulin dependent diabetics, decrease osteoporosis and arthritis symptoms, decrease back pain, improve sleep and overall mental health. Socialization also improves mental health, and many of the activities available may help people make new friends/acquaintances, etc. With expanded locations that will be within a 10-minute drive for most of the residents in the district, there will likely be far more residents taking advantage of the facilities. Remember, too, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that 150 minutes/week of moderate exercise can provide most of the benefits I have listed above.
Yes, I wish we could do what 6A would accomplish with a lower price tag or with what might be deemed a more “equitable” way of financing.
Richard B. Karsh, MD