The request of the Frederick County Parks and Recreation Commission to have a ballot referendum on a proposed aquatics center seems very premature. It appears that there is a lack of information as well as some disinformation, such as the statement that the estimated cost to construct it would only equate to a 1-cent increase in our current tax rate. Unless there is “free” money being used, shouldn’t the actual cost include the servicing of the debt? How much more will interest costs add to the total over the life of the bond?
Supposedly the center will begin to recover all operating costs around the third year of operation. Do the pools at Sherando and Clearbrook currently operate at breakeven or a slight profit? They have been in operation for many years, and this should give some indication of the ability of the department to run an efficient operation that will recover all costs. Since it will operate at a deficit for several years, how much will operating costs be and what tax increase does that equate to?
Given the low voter turnout in some election cycles, a small minority of voters could decide for a large majority of taxpayers. I would urge the Board of Supervisors to deny the request to put this on the ballot and direct the Parks and Recreation Commission to produce a more comprehensive, accurate and transparent proposal that the BOS can consider along with the many other “real” capital needs the county currently faces.