There have been many letters suggesting Walla Walla residents support the Aug. 7 ballot measure to increase city property owners' taxes. It has been estimated the cost is $90 year on an assessed value of $180,000, but remember the $90 per year tax increases if your property is over $180,000. Non-property owners pay nothing except entrance to the facility if they use it, while property owners pay regardless if they use the facility or not, and non-property owners get to vote if you should fund this venture. The city is asking to build an $8.8 million facility and claim anticipated attendance will generate excess revenue over the costs of operating the facility and they will place the extra funds into a reserve account to cover a 20-year maintenance plan and make up for shortfalls in cool season years.
The city states Memorial Pool was losing $60,000 a year and it had no money in reserves to maintain the pool accordingly.
Keep this in mind, the City Council clearly states that a business venture for the city must be self-sustaining. The city also states that the population is not large enough to realize enough revenue to offset operating expenses and capitol construction costs to make a profit for a private entity. A bank would never loan them the money as it is not self-sustaining.
Yet the city is asking voters to tax property owners to "sustain" this venture. Property owners get nothing in return for their investment over nine years. In fact, property owners have to pay twice, once in taxes and a second time in admission fees to get in.
Take a quick look at city business. Sales tax has increased recently to cover buses, mental and drug health and now roads.
Remember, the Aviary had to be saved by private forces. Am I against kids, no! Am I against bad business? Yes.
Look at our economy. The city needs to downgrade its $8.8 million dream for something far more responsible.
If I lived in the city I would vote no. If the county had to vote on it I'd vote no. Spending $8.8 million for a facility that will operate approximately 90 days out of the year (weather and school pending) is not sustainable.