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.

Gary Lofton


(3) comments


I think a quality indoor swimming facility will be quite a welcome addition to the area. Swim meets bring tourists/visitors. Having the ability to teach swimming lessons to those who cannot swim is a good thing. The two outdoor public pools are public amenities which could/should charge a more realistic fee to use. Swimming is a great form of exercise which doesn't tax the body as much as other forms. Let the public vote on it. Fund it, let a corporation name it, user fees, donations, or whatever creative concept for financing it can make it quite an attribute to the community. I'm in favor without a doubt.


This is the problem with Frederick County. We have our Parks and Recreation Department doing their job and providing an opportuntiy for the P&R Department to provide a service to Frederick County taxpayers that has the opportuntity to pay for itself instead of being a burden to taxpayers and we have a former Board of Supervisor not even wanting the taxpayers to have a say in the process. Mr Lofton is quick to offer his opinion on the matter without refuting any facts. For any resident who knows a swimmer and has had the opportunity to see the Prince William County Aquatics center where most regional events are held, they would understand the P&R desire to have a facility that can be a revenue generator that would support their programs and other needs of residents in the county and surrounding areas. It is this short sightedness by our elected officials that have Frederick County making the same mistakes over and over again. Who knows how many revenue generating opportunities that Mr Lofton denied during this time on our Board of Supervisors due to his own short sightedness? Here is a novel idea Mr. Lofton, let us allow the citizens of Frederick County to have a voice in how their taxpayer dollars are spent instead of leaving these decisions to 7 individuals who many times are not listening to the voices that they represent. I wonder what Mr Lofton is trying to hide from the taxpayers by not allowing this issue to decided by the voters?!?


But you don't even live here...

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