Friday, May 09, 2008

County wants to sell park land to fill coffers

Ready to spit out your morning coffee? El Paso county, which is hurting for money because of the foundering economy, is thinking about selling off park land, including some of its flagship regional parks to raise cash. According to a story in Friday's Gazette the county is examining which parcels in the more than 7,000 acres of park land they are permitted to sell to make up for a $3 million and growing shortfall in tax intake so far this year. Commissioner Dennis Hisey said not to worry, the sales are unlikey to reduce the county's park inventory by more than 50 percent. (Spit coffee now.)
Maybe this is all just scare tactics aimed at getting voters to approve a November sales tax increase, but maybe not. The story says the land could be sold for development, but could also sell to other government agencies (The city?). We'll see what happens, but from its founding, Colorado Springs' economy has relied on providing huge parks for a high quality of life, selling parks is the equivalent of eating your seed corn.


Gaylord McTampa said...

Jesus that entire region is just full of stupid leaders...and likely stupid people by virtue of putting those stupid leaders in power.

Want to save money? Get rid of the County Government. Integrate Co Springs and the County. I'm not sure there is any sense to El Paso County Govt. anyhow.

zen said...

Good lord its enough to make me want to pack up for Oregon.

The primary problem is El Paso County and Colorado Springs both derive the majority of their funding from volatile consumption taxes like the sales tax instead of the far more stable property tax.

The reason for this of course is by placing the emphasis on sales tax, more of the bill will be footed by the millions of visitors and tourists to the area. A property tax on the other hand is carried by locals and we all know locals here are - well - cheap.

But guess what? The economy sags, visitors drop off, people look to save a few dollars (is increasing our personal savings and reducing consumption ever a bad thing? It is if your municipality is dependant on sales tax.) and funding dries up.

We could of course turn to those rainy day funds set aside for days just like this. But Doug Bruce's lame ass TABOR did away with most of those. Whoops - perfect storm.

I for one think at this point this is a scare tactic. But a scare tactic only works if there is the potential for realization. And in this case if things get bad enough it could come to fruition.

If voters in El Paso County and the Springs don't raise their property taxes, and if voters in Colorado don't kill TABOR the Pikes Peak region is in for a world of hurt if the economy continues to languish (and I see no reason why it won't - do you?).

I say enough of this "government is out to bleed us" nonsense. Property taxes in El Paso county and the Springs are pitifully cheap compared to the very vast majority of this country. Get out of the little jesus-world military-land conspiracy theoried bubble and you'll see that. They should be kicked up. And then when things stabilize sales taxes should be the thing that should be considered for a reduction.

al said...

Scare tactics, hmmmm. Recall the situation with the assessor's office where the safe was full of uncashed checks. Recall the situation where a county audit showed that the state had collected $2-$4M in county sales tax that wasn't paid back to the county. Scare tactics are to make you, by sudden application of emotion, disregard more sensible courses of expecting (demanding) integrity, responsibility and accountability in county financial management. Somehow that doesn't seem to be the chosen solution.

Glass house said...

Everybody likes to demand integrity, responsibility and accountability but few ever do any real research and actually access the financial reports the city and county produce. In other words they rely on hearsay and gossip.

Everybody likes to demand integrity, responsibility and accountability but most are no more accountable in their own households than the city and county they trash. And they wouldn't do a better job.

I've lived in a fair number of places and though I know money gets wasted here as it does everywhere else (and though it shouldn't it always will) I've never lived in a place where people are a distrusting of their government and demanding of accountability but have so little actual factual information to back up their paranoia.

Sure everybody's got to tighten their belts in an economy such as this - government included. But let's face facts - people in El Paso county are cheap as hell. On this the numbers don't lie.

UltraRob said...

I hope they aren't serious. There's plenty of other temporary ways to save money.