In this uncertain economy with declining City tax revenues this project is an irresponsible extravagance that should not be funded with our tax dollars.
Proposition No. 1 an advisory measure to build a new YMCA Community Center will be on the Sammamish November 6th General Election ballot. Vote NO and send a message to our City leaders that we will not tolerate this kind of irresponsible stewardship of our tax dollars.
This proposed Sammamish community center is not really a community center it is actually an extravagant, government-owned, tax-payer-subsidized, tax-exempt, unnecessary athletic club.
A $25 million government funded athletic club makes absolutely no sense.
A Community Center is a nice idea but there is other more responsible and financially prudent ways to proceed. For example, recently the YMCA built a Community Center in Newcastle without any money from the City. The Newcastle Y is a great facility. The YMCA had made a similar proposal to do the same thing here in Sammamish. Instead in an effort to build a much more extravagant Community Center the Sammamish City Council offered to give $25 Million to build the project with very few strings. The Sammamish City Council and Mayor also turned down a private developer that was willing to build and fund a community center with an indoor/outdoor pool that would save the City $20 million.
The Sammamish City Council had three choices; first, let the YMCA built without any City money; second, joint venture with a private developer or third, spend most of our cash reserves - $25 Million – to build the project. Of the three the Sammamish City Council clearly chose the least financially prudent. We can disagree on whether or how much the City should contribute to a project like this but I think we can all agree it is much much less than $25 Million City tax dollars.
Furthermore, the City of Sammamish should be investing our tax dollars in our city parks and projects that increase tax revenue and broaden our city economy. This project is too expensive, will cut deep into the city’s reserves requiring future tax increases and will damage existing businesses that currently pay taxes to the City of Sammamish.
It is common sense that we should be investing in commercial and economic development. Instead this project would invest $25 million of our tax dollars to compete with existing sports clubs that currently pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in tax revenue to the City of Sammamish.
This new facility will also put competing tax-paying companies out of business, resulting in decreased future tax revenues and putting over 200 employee’s jobs at risk.
In addition there are other important parts of this project that just don’t make sense.
• How can the City state in the voter pamphlet that it doesn’t "believe" it will raise taxes when they have already proposed raising property taxes and storm water fees?
• Why is this years City budget requesting to raise taxes and fees if we have such a large surplus of funds?
• Why aren’t they cutting property taxes and fees?
• How will the City replenish the $25 Million they are taking from the city reserves?
• Why are we only being given a single $25 Million option?
• $25 million is currently the “low-end” of the construction costs. Actual costs are TBD. What happens when there are cost overruns?
• If the facility cannot cover its own operating costs, what happens? Who picks up the bill?
• What are other uses of our financial reserves that this money could be used for that the City Council has presented to you?
When we consider all this, we really have no choice but to VOTE NO on Proposition No. 1.
Paid for by Common Sense Sammamish,
Top 5 Contributors: Cyrus Oskoui, Columbia Athletic Clubs
2930 228th Avenue SE, Sammamish, WA 98075, 425-814-5300 ext. 220
Cyrus Oskoui’s has tried unsuccessfully to work with the Sammamish City Council to come up with a more fiscally responsible Community Center project. See Cy’s letters and emails to the Council.