At the City Council work session, the proponent for an RV park on the site of the Polston School answered numerous questions. Not asked by council, and therefore not required to be explained, was why Dan Russell, the developer, wanted such large subsidies from the public since the RV park proposed for just south of the Polston property has at least not yet asked for any public subsidies.
The first subsidy desired by Mr. Russell was the ability to gain water and sewer taps without paying the $2,000 per tap required by East Alamosa. Tap fees are designed to obtain some compensation from a developer for the costs being imposed on existing utility customers. Additional demand on the water and sewer system either uses capacity provided by existing customers, or will require system expansion and can be used to pay for such expansion. A reduced tap fee is just one of the many ways that growth seldom can pay its own way.
The second subsidy request was to exchange acre for acre undevelopable Polston property for Alamosa Ranch open space which would support development. Also requested was a right of way across the Alamosa Ranch for a private golf cart drive which would connect the gated RV park with the golf course.
The last, and most egregious subsidy being required for the RV park is a quarter of a million dollar subsidy being given by the Alamosa Public Schools. When the Trust for Public Lands entered into an agreement with the Alamosa Public Schools, they not only offered to pay the full appraisal price, they paid for half of the cost of the appraisal. Mr. Russell under bid their bid by a quarter of a million, and was given the contract by the Alamosa Board of Education. Because of Colorado funding policies, additional property taxes raised locally reduce state funding (the backfilling policy) so additional property taxes from the RV park benefit the state, not us locally.
Supposedly the subsidy for Mr. Russell was because his proposal was more beneficial for the business community. How the Board of Education is fulfilling their fiduciary obligation by benefiting the business community rather than the educational community is beyond me. Ask yourself if your quality of life is better because of the recent development of motels, apartments and retail to the west of town. If bigger is better hasn’t improved your quality of life in the past, why would you expect it to work in the future. We don’t need two new RV parks in Alamosa, and should therefore, “Keep Polston Public.”