Next week Eagle Mountain City will have a $7 million bond on the ballot to build an aquatic center. The center will have a lap pool, a lazy river, concessions, party room and more. It will cost a $200k home an additional $70 a year in property tax. Commercial property of the same value will pay an additional $125.
The center has been a few years in the making, and has actually been pared down from a larger multipurpose recreation facility. Proponents argue that because we have so many children, our city needs a rec center like this one. They say it will attract business to the community as these unnamed business leaders won't take us seriously unless we have additional amenities to offer. What they don't explain is how higher business taxes will be enticing as well.
I am not in favor of this bond for a few reasons. One is the previously mentioned increase of business taxes. Another is the increase is personal taxes. Particularly at a time when housing values are falling yet our property tax bills are not. I will be voting no if for no other reason than that watching my neighbors struggle with job losses, decreasing pay and hours, and some even losing their homes trumps my desire for a cool lazy river to take the kids to in the summertime.
But another reason has lately reinforced my opinion that this bond is a bad idea. Eagle Mounatin is in the Alpine School district. Alpine passed a $300 million bond in 2006 which built and remodeled schools all over the district, including $65 million for a new high school and $32 million for a middle school, both of which Eagle Mountain students now attend. The $300 million has been spent, and the district is planning on putting another bond on the ballot next year. Included in the district's future spending plans are more schools in Eagle Mountain, specifically our own High School and Middle School. So I ask, when our city has $90 million worth of new schools to build (and this doesn't count additional elementary schools), is it wise to be throwing money at an outdoor pool? For me, this was the final nail in the coffin for the aquatic center. How on earth can anyone rationalize spending millions of dollars on a lazy river and lap pools when we have literally a hundred million dollars to spend in the next 18 months? I for one cannot.