Issue committee campaigns for passage of Longmont aquatics center

October 12, 2019 in Boulder



An issue committee formed to support a Longmont municipal ballot proposal for a new indoor city swimming pool and ice rink had raised $2,207 and spent $695.28 for that effort as of Oct. 5, according to reports filed with the City Clerk’s Office.

Meanwhile, however, another group reportedly has reportedly been distributing printed materials opposing Longmont Ballot Issue 3B, the pool and ice bonding and tax-increase proposal — a situation angering Mayor Brian Bagley, a proponent of the proposal.

“I’m very upset about it,” Bagley said in a Friday interview, particularly citing what he called “lies” on the anti-3B materials.

Issue 3B on Longmont voters’ Nov. 5 election ballots is asking city voters to authorize raising the municipal sales and use tax by 0.18% — increasing it from 3.53% to 3.71% — and to issue up to $45.5 million in bonds to finance the design, construction and operations and maintenance of a competitive indoor swimming pool and ice rink. Once the bonds are paid off — projected by Jan. 1, 2040 or sooner — the aquatics center tax would drop to 0.03% to pay for operating and maintenance expenses.

The City Clerk’s Office has not received an issue-committee registration or campaign finance reports from anyone opposing Issue 3B.

Longmont’s Fair Campaign Reporting Act requires issue committee registration and campaign-finance reports if  two or more individuals associate themselves for the purpose of accepting contributions to support any municipal ballot issue.

However, that Longmont municipal code’s issue-committee filing requirements do not kick in, however, until those people or their organization accepts contributions or make expenditures of $5,000 or more during the election cycle.

‘Be accurate’

Bagley said a constituent had given him printed anti-3B materials that reportedly have been dropped off at the doors of at least some Longmont households — material that does not state who paid for it.

Even if the individuals or group distributing those materials have not met the $5,000 threshold for registering and filing issue-committee campaign-finance reports, Bagley said he wants people to know that the fliers include what he said is misinformation.

“if you want to be anti-3B, be anti-3B, but don’t disseminate false information,” he said. “Be accurate.”

For example, one of the handouts — in what it calls “Fast Facts about the Ice Palace” — states that “Your sales taxes will go up 0.18 percent forever to pay for the upkeep and construction of the Ice Palace. That’s nearly $2 in new taxes for every $100 you spend.”

“That is not true,” Bagley said.

He noted that the proposed tax rate increase would amount to 18 cents on every $100 purchase, not $1.80. And he said the tax rate would decrease, to 0.03% — 3 cents on every $100 purchase — to help cover the facility’s ongoing operations and maintenance expenses once the principal and interest on the construction-financing bonds are repaid.

Bagley also challenged an anti-3B handout’s contentions that “The City’s own feasibility study showed that Longmont alone couldn’t afford to operate the Ice Palace” and that “The City projects a $636,000 deficit on this facility every year.”

Bagley said that deficit estimate came from a 2015 study that city staff has since updated, and that it does not take into account the St. Vrain Valley School District’s tentative agreement to pay Longmont up to $357,000 a year for district swim teams’ use of the proposed pool’s competitive lanes for practices and swim meets, in the event voters approve the sales tax increase and bond issue to construct and operate the facility.

The remaining $279,000 in city-subsidized annual operating expenses for the aquatics facility would be less than what Longmont now pays each year to cover the annual expense — after swimmers pay fees — to operate Longmont’s aging Centennial indoor swimming pool, Bagley argued.

Yard signs and T-shirts

LOCO for Pool and Ice, the pro-3B issue committee, registered its existence with the City Clerk’s Office on Sept. 3 and filed campaign finance reports on Sept. 6 and Oct. 7.

LOCO for Pool and Ice has reported that its $695.28 in spending included the expenses of a meeting room rental, banking fees, flyers and cards.

One of those flyers, available on a table staffed by LOCO for Pool and Ice volunteers at Silver Creek High School prior to a candidates’ debate last Monday night, cites a number of reasons the organization is pitching for passage of 3B and clearly states that it has been “paid for by LOCO for Pool and Ice.”

LOCO for Pool and Ice has also reported that as of Oct. 5, it had contracted for another $2,282.07 in not-yet-paid accrued expenses, including $2,032.07 for yard signs and $250 for T-shirts.

No group or individual opposing Longmont Issue 3B has registered its existence and filed campaign finance reports with the City Clerk’s Office, although LOCO for Pool and Ice volunteers distributing pro-3B materials on a table outside last Monday night’s Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce candidates’ debate told a reporter that they’d heard that was happening.

No group spending or intending to spend money supporting or opposing two other municipal measures on Longmont voters’ ballots have registered as issue committees or filed campaign finance reports with the clerk’s office.

Those two ballot measures are:

  • Issue 3C, which is asking voters to extend Longmont’s existing 0.75 sales and use tax for street and transportation projects indefinitely. That tax currently is set to expire in 2026.
  • Issue 3D, which asks voters to amend Longmont’s home rule charter to allow city to lease parcels of city-owned property to tenants for up to 30 years. The charter currently limits such leases to a maximum of 20 years.

Campaign finance reports from candidates running for mayor and city council, as well as from issue and political committees, can be viewed on the Longmont city clerk’s 2019 municipal election web page: tinyurl.com/yyr2mydn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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