Western Elmore County Recreation District
The WECRD Board (“Board”) is in receipt of the August 26, 2016 Attorney General (“AG”) opinion letter to Senator Brackett. As the AG letter indicates, there is no case law on the Recreation District Act, chapter 43, title 31, Idaho Code, enacted in 1970. The Board has reviewed the law and legislative history of the Act and its subsequent amendments. The WECRD District is empowered to provide funds for the purpose of providing recreational facilities, pathways, or transportation systems and related equipment and apparatus thereof. There must be a rational nexus to recreation to fund items that are not for the provision of a facility, pathway, or transportation system.
The Board ensures its district members that it will only expend funds that carry out the purpose of the Recreation District Act. The Idaho Attorney General Office has expressly stated that it will not seek prosecution nor seek refunds for any prior expenditures done by this Board or previous Boards for alleged illegal funding. The Board looks forward to providing future recreational opportunities and facilities for its district.
Proposed 2016-17 Budget
This week at the regular board meeting Connie Clark was seated as the director of sub district 3. Welcome.
We'd like to thank the 3 outstanding folks that also submitted their letters of interest, Larry Jewett, Curtis Viall, and Jane Hodge.
The regular board meetings are held on the third Wednesday of every month at 5:30p at 245 East 6th South.
5.1 Million Dollar Building Cancelled
The 5.1 Million dollar unaffordable building that did not include a pool and that would have taken all of the tax dollars for years to come has been cancelled.
The building was designed as a $5.1 million building. When put out to bid the low bid came back at over $4.9 million dollars. With only $3.7 million dollars in the bank the previous board elected to enter, "value engineering". That process brought the price of the building to $4.2 million dollars. Items removed from the building during "value engineering" included the landscaping, a mandatory parking lot, ceiling fans, basketball hoops, lockers, window blinds, and the list goes on.
On this site you can still see where the previous board said they would not put the building out for bid or build until they had collected $850k in donations from the community and had all the money in the bank.
From this website in June -
HOW MUCH WILL THIS FACILITY COST?
The capital costs of the project are expected to be approximately $5.1 million. By the time construction is completed, the Recreation District will be able to cover about $4.25 million of the total costs, which includes HUD grant monies that must be used by September of 2015 and 2016. Approximately $850,000 will be raised from the community.
WHEN WILL GROUND BE BROKEN FOR THE FACILITY?
The building design is finished and the construction documents were submitted to the city in March 2015. The city reviewed the construction documents and made their changes and returned them to LCA Architects at the end of May 2015. LCA will finalize the documents and they will be ready to go out to bid in mid-July 2015. However, the project will not go out to bid until 100% of the $850,000 campaign goal has been pledged. Once the campaign goal is reached the project will go to bid and construction will begin."
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE COMMUNITY CAN'T MEET THE $850,000 FUNDRAISING GOAL FOR CONSTRUCTION?
The feasibility study conducted in 2012 concluded that if community concerns were addressed, then raising $850,000 was possible. If these funds are not raised, the community will have to wait until the Recreation District has collected enough money to fund the project."
3.7 million is what was in the bank. In order to say that the WECRD had all the money, ($550k short) the previous board had to include all of 2016's taxes as well as part of 2017's taxes. That would've been for an empty building, and only IF the construction costs did not rise at all. The previous board had already approved $16k in change orders.
After using part of 2017's taxes to pay off the building the process of trying to put the $700k that was "value engineered" out of the building, back in, would have to had started. The Capital Campaign that had been going on since November of 2014, (the WECRD has taken donations for over 10 years), had raised a total of $40k with "pledges" for $220k, still a shortfall of another $500k and over another year down the road.
The 20 acres purchased for $500k over 10 years ago has a roughly 3 acre parcel up front that can be built on and is in the floodplain. Behind that 3 acre parcel is approximately 8 acres of floodway that cannot be built on. To get to the back acres of this property will be very expensive. With only 3 acres that can be used the opportunity to expand is severely limited.
Art Nelson and Judy Mayne campaigned on cancelling that building that was designed to be a YMCA. That is what they did.
It's time to stop looking backwards because that's not where we're going. Over the next months we'll be updating the website and sharing what we believe over 60% of the citizens elected us to do. First and foremost was to cancel the building. Next is to look at affordable options that don't take every last penny that the WECRD has, and will have, over the next 2 to 3 years. Cancelling the building was as much about preserving the dollars we have left as it was about getting as much as we can for those dollars. We want to look at any available options already existing here in town. We want to fund programs and projects in the community. If it ends up that we can't afford the building we think we have to have then we can save for it, but not to the exclusion of providing recreation. The WECRD has collected over 5.5 million dollars from our community and over the 15 year life of the WECRD it has funded a little over $100k.
I'm personally tired of the adult problems affecting the kids. We can argue and discuss and survey all we want but some of the absolute recreational needs, of not only the kids, but the other non-profits and adult recreational activities, should be funded by this recreation district. Small grants and funding can go a very long way for the organizations that struggle along without help, or thanks, and are getting it done on a day-to-day basis. We need to assist those programs and help them out.
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