"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Town of Watertown's "Superdome"

Town of Watertown Supervisor Joel Bartlett has proposed building a dome as a venue for various activities. A noble idea indeed, but not financially viable, therein lies the rub. Bartlett expects everyone else to pay for it.
How can a representative who is thinking clearly propose a project under their jurisdiction, such as what the Town of Watertown Supervisor is doing and then say to other entities that they would like help paying for the project?
According to reports in the Watertown Daily Times, operational cost of the project could be $385,000 to $550,000, which in itself is a big range, while the facility is anticipated only to generate $300,000 in revenue, and these figures do not include debt service. What happens if the facility does not meet projected revenues?
If Bartlett is interested in getting into the arena business, then perhaps he could discuss the current facility, the Watertown Ice Arena, with the city officials for possible joint ownership or even complete take over of the facility.
Local officials have been talking for years of expanding the city ice arena and the city was looking at a cash infusion for maintenance at budget time, this would be the perfect place for Bartlett to spend some of the town’s money. The city residents are already paying for one arena, they do not need to pay for another by way of a tax subsidy.
The intended use of the county bed tax revenue is for promotional purposes and not a means for paying for capital projects. If the county were to participate in the Town of Watertown’s project that would open the door for every town to ask the county to tax something for their capital projects, under the guise of a “regional facility.” 
The arena, convention center or dome, whatever it is, is a worthy dream, but a town without any town property tax rate proposing for others to raise taxes to pay for it, is nonsensical. The project on the surface appears to be poorly thought out.


Anonymous said...

Here...here...together we all gain. One Arena is more useful and less costly for us tax payers. The Minor Hockey Association wants to assist in expanding the Municipal Arena which would also reduce construction costs. A shared Municipal project with county, town and city assistance makes sense and reduces the cost to taxpayers. It also make the facility affordable for the users. I don't recall what the rental rates for dome were but I am sure they would have to be pretty high for concert use which would take profits away from groups that depend on those funds.

Anonymous said...

The last thing we need is another sheet of ice. The users of the "ice" have never paid a fee that comes close to covering the costs.

We all need to look at our energy useage, including the city. To even entertain such a energy dependent use at this time with no expectations that the users will cover the costs would be inexcuseable.

Anonymous said...

Its a good idea...but with people like you always trying to cut the money the city has for public services, it is definately not feasible.

Anonymous said...

"The users of the "ice" have never paid a fee that comes close to covering the costs. "

I suppose the users of baseball fields pay a fee that comes close to paying for that facility??? Or football or soccer???

Didn't think so. Hockey pays a substantial fee for use of the ice, especially compared to any other sport or recreational use in this town.

What is absolutely amazing, is that an area that claims to have such a recreation based economy, is always so dead set against investing in the capital projects to bring more entertainment to this area.

What did Bartlett propose? It was to NOT tax the hell out of the investment, and to RAISE THE TAX TO VISITORS (a room tax!) by a MERE 1 % ! ! !

It took barely 24 hours for the naysayers to pile on. How progressive of you . . .

Anonymous said...

The area could use a venue like this, I would support this quicker than more expansion at JCC.

Anonymous said...

I guess the if we are talking about fees paying for themselves you might as well throw in the library, police and fire as I they haven't paid for themselves for me anyways!!! Let's get real and study the economic impact the Arena has on businesses especially in the winter months. It all adds up in the end. Tell me what ideas do you have for bringing people into the area to spend $???? Trails, zoo, library and even the best of roads won't do it. Well we better invest in the road because with nothing going on we will want the businesses to have a smooth ride out of here.

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