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BillVoiers
07-17-2002, 10:13 AM
Whew! How did we get from there to here? At this point, it might be well to let that sleeping dog lie, but there are several loose ends that do need tying down. Recall, again, that the Parks tax was not the central issue in my original post. The issue was what latitude officers of the Preservation Society have with regard to the distribution of society funds. (This is not entirely an academic issue in the Voiers household, since Virginia Voiers is the society treasurer and would normally sign checks on the society bank account).

I will accept the verdict of several society members that contributions to political causes do NOT violate the federal law or the society’s bylaws. Do I think contributions should be made to causes, the merits of which are not a matter of universal agreement? (The number and nature of the replies to my original post would seem to bear on this issue.) The answer is “no,” but do I really give all that much of a damn? No.

However, since several people have opened the door on the Parks tax issue, and some presumed, among other things, to read my mind on park issues, I feel an obligation to respond.

How am I going to vote on the parks tax (assuming it ever gets a third reading before the council)? I HONESTLY DO NOT KNOW…. AT THIS POINT. I need a lot more information and careful study before I make up my mind. I hope others feel the same way.
I think it is important, at the outset, to distinguish between “being for our parks” and “being for the grand dream of Levine, Lourne, Renko et al” At this point, I am NOT overwhelmed by the similarities between the two, but want to examine all the issues more carefully. For this purpose I find it helpful to imagine that I have suddenly inherited a multimegabuck asset called Lake Leatherwood Park and that my goalis to manage it in such a way as to provide maximum return on my investment – return being measured in terms of the level of benefit for the largest number of my fellow townspeople rather than in bucks.

I have several issues to deal with, including how to invest an additional $400K each year. Not being into hands-on management, I plan to put major responsibility on the CEO and board of directors that came with my inheritance. Should I keep them and trust them to manage my original asset and future investments? Since I don’t know some of them all that well, I think a request for some resumes would be in order at the outset (What qualifications do my employees and board members have, beyond their willingness to serve?) My next step would be to examine their past performance to see how well they managed my newly-acquired property up to this point. Finally I would like to get a very detailed proposal for what they intend to do from this point on.

So what criteria should I judge their performances against? How well have they accomplished what the townspeople asked and expected of them? The answer to that question is not all that hard to obtain.

Thanks to the foresight of some early parks proponents, a very competent study, “Lake Leatherwood Park Needs Assessment,” conducted in 1995 by professors and students from two University of Arkansas recreation classes (no eco-freaks here!) provides clear answers to virtually all the important questions on what to do with Lake Leatherwood Park.

“The research was done by conducting a survey of Eureka springs residents, doing an existing facility assessment, conducting a national standards comparison, and a survey of the land to determine usable sites”

I don’t have space, here, to present all their findings, but several merit special notice:

The percentage of Eureka residents under the age of 18 is barely 2/3 that of the average Arkansas city; the percentage of citizens of 65 and older is 64% greater than that of the average for Arkansas cities.

Ninety-eight percent of the respondents to a survey of resident preferences placed hiking trails at the top of the list of priorities, but the words, “bike” or “bike trail” appear no place in the report.

Seventy-seven percent of the respondents opposed the use of sales taxes for funding the park.

There’s a lot more in the report. If you want to see it for yourself, two copies, which I donated to the public library several years ago, hadn’t been filched at the time of this writing. (If that doesn’t work for you, give me a call, and I’ll get one to you.)

Once you have the content of the “needs report” under your belt, all you will need in order to make an informed decision on the proposed tax is a detailed account of what the P&R people have done so far, an equally detailed proposal for spending your future tax bucks, and some confirmation (i.e., resumes) that they are qualified to manage your most valuable tangible asset.
Good luck,
Bill Voiers
253-9558
bvoiers@aol.com

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oldguy
07-17-2002, 06:31 PM
What do you think about a group like the CDP anouncing in a press conferance.The huge unfunded project at bass lake. Then it becomes the burden of the parks and rec to figure how to pay for it. (After the photo op).Do you think seeing all that has people gun shy on how to fund so much.

Carriageguy
07-18-2002, 06:50 AM
This may be a dumb question, but why does EVERYBODY have to pay taxes for a park that only a few will use?

Looks like a lotta folks not from here, not payin the tax, are gonna be usin it from what I hear, any plans to charge addmission or user fees instead of across the bord taxes?
just pears like those of us who ain't likely to use it at all are gonna be footin the bill for those who will use it the most and pay the least taxes on it.
Sorry Bill, more logic from the horses butt.



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