Vail Daily letter: ‘No’ on Skier Building | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: ‘No’ on Skier Building

Regardless of how the new town hall is financed, the Skier Building purchase is not in the best interest of Avon taxpayers.

In September, the previous Avon Town Council overpaid for the purchase of the Skier Building at $3.2 million for a new town hall. (The town’s own appraiser valued the property at $2 million).

After finishing the 12-year-old Skier Building, the total cost will be at least $6 million, including spending $200,000 to repair the 12-year-old roof noted in the inspection report.

No one knows for sure how much the Skier Building will cost because proper due diligence has yet to be done and no finishing contracts are signed. Parking will come at the expense of much-needed current town parking due to the fact that the Skier Building was purchased with no parking!

The Town Council has another alternative ‚ tear down the current Town Hall and build a brand new building to their own specs, and it already includes parking.

The new building will have 12 more years of economic life than the old Skier Building and, by the town’s own admission, it is essentially the same money as buying and finishing the 12-year-old Skier Building!

Furthermore, the extra 12 years of economic life of a brand new building will more than offset the temporary employee housing costs incurred during the new building construction.

An even more conservative alternative, according to several local independent real estate experts, is that the current Avon Town Hall can be refurbished over several years at a cost of $2.5 million.

The new Avon Town Council, with four newly elected members who do not have a vested interest in real estate development, now has the opportunity to act responsibly.

The Town Council can save Avon taxpayers $3.5 million by canceling the Skier Building contract and just refurbishing the current Town Hall.

This $3.5 million savings will cover the $2 million pavilion cost overrun that the town mismanaged (and no one has been held accountable for) and leave money left over for more pressing Avon capital expenditure projects.

In summary, building a brand new Town Hall or refurbishing the old Town Hall makes more economic sense than buying the 12-year-old Skier Building.

More importantly, the town needs to update their obsolete 2007 Comprehensive Development Plan with: Post recession economic conditions; the impact of new commercial and public properties built since 2007; and current long-range municipal development plans — before committing millions of our taxpayer dollars to any of the alternatives above.

If you want more financial responsibility from the new Avon Town Council and town management that reports to them, contact avoncouncil@avon.org and just say “no” to the Skier Building — no matter how it is financed.

After all, Avon taxpayers, it is our money they’re spending — what would you do?

Joe Walker

Avon