Out of Control Spending by the City of Salida

Dear Editor,

Who knew the City of Salida was so wealthy?

The city spent $1.7M for land, then “borrowed” $17.4M for the “cost” of the new fire station. Salidans will pay off this debt with yearly $1.4M payments for 30 years…until 2053. The city also circumvented allowing citizens to vote using a financing scheme. Luckily, the total repayment cost for $17.4M will not exceed a mere $40.8M including interest! After 30 or 40 years, the city would finally get ownership of the fire station. For comparison, Canon City’s recent 20,000 sq ft fire station financed $12M through an old-fashioned mill levy vote.

The city stated it would cost $7.1 million just to bring utilities to South Ark. Then the real spending starts: $150 million over 10 years for building their Vandaveer “dreams” – costing $15 million/year.

The city is again considering outdoor soaking pools, costing $885,962 (MM 10/17/23) for something difficult to heat 6 months out of the year. The pool’s operating losses are hundreds of thousands/year, subsidized by us. Will increased spending on pool infrastructure really decrease these losses?

The city paid $620,000 for the ‘D Street’ apartment through eminent domain acquisition. They paid $60,000 in consulting fees. They are leasing the land to Artspace for $1/year for no less than 35 years, with two possible 5-year extensions. The citizens were told these apartments will not just be for artists, but they chose a company called “Artspace” to build it and select who the tenants will be. Hmmm…

Full Circle Restorative Justice had their rent fully subsidized by the city for several years. Last time I checked, KHEN was paying something like $200/month rent for the building on Second. BETCH is handed money for empty campgrounds. Does BETCH account for how they spend? How many other favored “non-profits” are quietly subsidized with our tax dollars?

The city paid over $500,000 for the Scout Hole Wave, which many claim damaged Salida’s economy.

The city paid $35K severance to the last administrator even though he resigned.

We are a town of 6000 people, yet we are trying to be everything to everyone. The Salida 2024 Budget is $49.5M. This means Salida spends over $8,000/resident/year. How is this even possible?

In a troubled economy, can this level of spending continue? Will the City try to reinstate collecting their own property tax if spending outpaces sales tax income?

Lorene, Farney, Salida

Dear Editor: Artists Against ArtSpace | Opinion | themountainmail.com

A-ordinance 2023-13-fire station financing.pdf (206.3 KB)