The $30 Million Lazy River

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Grapevine, Texas Gaylord TexanThis election season, the City of Grapevine is asking you to approve a bond (Proposition 2) for a $30.1 million expansion and renovation of the lightly used Community Activities Center (CAC).  The City Council and Mayor sent out a recent voter guide titled “The Facts about the 2012 Bond Referendum.”  We found it to be lacking in information so we thought we would provide a bit more to help out the local voters.

The proposal is to double the size of the current community activities center to around 100,000 square feet.  The increase in size will also add a new indoor swimming facility complete with water slides, geysers, and a lazy river.  If you have been to the CAC, you are in the minority.  The CAC is lightly used and has only about 8,000 members in a city of roughly 50,000 people.  So the need to double the size is precarious at best.

But if you put aside the fact that we do not need to double the size of the now only 15 year old facility, let’s take a closer look at the note sent out by the City Council and Mayor.

Impact on Taxpayers:  No New Taxes.

A vote in favor of one or both propositions would not result in a tax rate increase.  Grapevine’s property tax rate would remain one of the lowest in North Texas and our sales tax rate will remain unchanged at 8.25%.  Funding for the projects would be provided by existing property taxes, sales tax revenue and other current funding sources.

It is a great statement.  But lets flip that statement over and look at the other side and make a couple of assumptions.  The council tells you there is not a need to increase your tax rates to pay for a $30 million facility.  Then wouldn’t a “No” vote mean lower tax rates?  After all, a No Vote would mean you (the taxpayer) will not be paying $1 million to $2 million per year in payments on the $30 million loan.  So that is money that can be returned to you the Grapevine taxpayer.

We find it interesting the Council did not present the options if you vote no to Proposition 2.  We are voting no not only because we do not need a $30 million lazy river, but also because it could likely lead to a tax rate decrease that the council did not present.

Early voting is now open.  Election day is November 6, 2012.  You can vote at the aforementioned CAC.

Grapevine, Texas

 

5 Comments

  1. I am actually going up to do early voting as well today and will be voting NO as well. I am still getting over the fact that the City of Grapevine…that would be you and I…gave around $14 million to help renovate Grapevine Mills Mall. I still do not understand that. That is a COMMERCIAL endeavor. Not a GOVERNMENT endeavor. Any upgrades should not be paid for by the citizens of Grapevine. That would be the same as any business looking to the city to help fund any type of renovation they want to do..that is crazy. That $14 million could have been used to help renovate the community center which IS a GOVERNMENT endeavor.

  2. I will be voting NO on Prop 2 as well. My husband and I frequent the CAC in the evenings. The facility is being used but is not so busy that you can’t find an empty machine. And I liked the idea of an indoor heated pool but I imagine that could be accomplished for a lot less than $30m.

    While the circular that came in the mail is not inaccurate, it is certainly propaganda.

    It’s almost as if the expectation from our city leaders is that our tax dollars are a foregone conclusion and they have an open checkbook to spend monies on any project they desire (eh-hem clock tower).

    I hope more people do get out and vote and tell the city leaders that we (the citizen) do have a say in how they spend our money and how much of it they get.

  3. We also should think about what the cost impact will be to operate the new facility.

    With 100,000 sq feet to heat, cool. A pool & water park to maintain. Additional staff…this all adds up and will have to be paid out of the city budget which our tax dollars pay.

    Has the city considered how the increase in operating costs will be funded?

    • This is a great point.

      Doubling the size of the facility and the maintenance and utilities costs will at least double given you are adding a heated pool. Plus, you need a larger staff to operate the place. For reference the CAC budget is about $500k per year.

      By the way, here’s the sample ballot in case anyone needs it:

      http://tcweb.tarrantcounty.com/evote/lib/evote/2012/Nov6/samples/06-Gpv.pdf

  4. Here is another reason the city of grapevine is badly needed a $30.1 million expansion and renovation of CAC:

    Benefits
    This is a summary of benefits only. Policies pertaining to these benefits are on file in the Human Resources Department at the City of Grapevine and available for employees’ review at any time.

    Regular full-time employees receive a variety of excellent benefits. Regular part-time employees, those who are regularly scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week, receive benefits on a pro-rated basis.

    Grapevine Community Activity Center
    Individual membership is free. Family membership for $50 year.