Letter to the Editor

WECRD board just can't seem to keep its promises

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dear editor:

This letter is in response to the letter written by Marsha Sellers, WECRD President, which appeared in the March 17, edition of the Mountain Home News, and also a letter written by Ms. Bentz.

The 2011 Appropriations Application cannot be "amended" as stated in your letter. This information, which I obtained some time ago, came directly from senators Risch and Crapo's office. But then again, you knew this because someone told you who I had talked to and what the results of those conversations were.

What I have a hard time wrapping my mind around is why you would deliberately lie about the facts and submit these untruths to our local paper. We had this very same situation last year with the 2010 Appropriations Application. Then, at the last CLDC meeting it was stated that only one WECRD Board member (none other than Mollie Marsh) bothered to review the 2011 Appropriations Application prior to it being submitted!

What is wrong with you people? One would think that when the WECRD is requesting $1.5 million in federal tax dollars that the board members would take the time to ensure that the packet is accurate and truthful, especially when the WECRD came under fire for the inaccuracies of the FY 2010 Appropriations Application.

Why take the chance of undermining the efforts and legitimacy of the CLDC/YMCA process by misrepresenting the current status of this in depth community process? After all, the WECRD is paying almost $40,000 of OUR tax dollars for the first five steps of the YMCA process and the market study. More costs will be added as there are numerous additional steps required which are not budgeted into this current agreement with the YMCA.

Please show some respect and support for this process and for those who are committing their time and energy to be a part of the CLDC and the sub-committees. The community has taken the time to get involved in this endeavor by completing surveys and participating in interviews. They want and need to know that their input matters and that the end result is not a "done deal."

Let us now move on to "Mollie's Dream." That part of your letter was dead on with respect to the present situation. This is not Mollie's project nor is this Mollie's money that the WECRD Board "plays" with. You may treat it like it is Monopoly money with your $725 photos and $1,800 parades, but these are, in reality, tax dollars--OUR tax dollars.

The recreation district since its creation has done very little to support the youth of this community much less recreation. More money is spent by the WECRD Board to support the arts. Why is this if this is a "recreation district?" By law, the WECRD is to provide the following as a "recreation district:"

31-4316. PURPOSE OF DISTRICT. "Each district is organized for the uses and purposes of acquiring, providing, maintaining and operating public recreation centers, swimming facilities, pools, picnic areas, camping facilities, ball parks, handball courts, tennis courts, marine and snowmobile facilities, recreational pathways, ski areas, and golf courses and public transportation systems and facilities serving the district together with all related grounds, buildings, equipment and apparatus for the use of the residents of the district and the public generally."

So Ms. Sellers, how do you feel you are doing, based on the above facts? Perhaps this community is "under-served" at the hands of the current board.

As a taxpayer in this taxing district I can tell you that I feel cheated.

Another ill-researched quote from your letter: "Why can't all you different government people combine... and get along... and get something done?"

Well, that is easy. The WECRD has no follow through. You folks promise one thing and do another.

Our local government does not want to be connected with this mess -- they have enough trouble of their own.

So now, Ms. Sellers, you ask what I am talking about. Well, let me give you some factual examples.

Naming people in an Appropriations Application as "supporters" when they are not really on the same page as the three of you and using their names without their permission or knowledge. Or, telling people in a WECRD Board meeting that the WECRD Board would allow the YMCA/CLDC process to work and stay out of it. Then, all three of you show up for a CLDC meeting. Or, you state that you are consulting with the YMCA to come up with a plan that will work for the community. Currently, there is no plan. We are at square one.

However, the WECRD Board just recently submitted an Appropriations Application for 2011 which states that the WECRD plans to build a facility (building) with pools and NO green spaces (outdoor recreation areas). Pretty interesting considering the facts.

We are at square one on this project after 10 years!

We do not know if there will be a facility/building, where anything will be located, what will be offered, if there will be pools, etc. So, in short, the WECRD lied to Congressman Simpson's office, Sen. Risch's office and Sen. Crapo's office regarding the status of this project.

What is even more concerning is that the three of you (the WECRD Board) see nothing wrong with these actions.

Is untruth not a violation of the core values partnership agreement you (the WECRD Board and staff) signed with the Treasure Valley Family YMCA when you entered into a consulting relationship with the Y? You agreed to live by the core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. That is not evident in your actions.

Now, what we voted for directly from the ballot way back when: "A "yes" vote will create a recreation district governmental entity organized to acquire, provide, maintain and operate public recreation centers and/or related facility construction within the greater Elmore County area." Funny, it would seem that we never "voted for" pools! Nor did we ever know that after 10 years we would have nothing more than an overpriced piece of land, $1.5 million dollars in the bank, go from a "mil levy" based tax of $34.50/household to a value-based tax (which nearly doubled the tax revenue generated), and have three board members with no common sense and no regard for the public or their money!

According to Mollie's "Re-Elect Mollie Marsh to the WECRD Board" hand-out, the facility was going to be built in phases. According to the Green Play Report, the facility was going to be built in phases.

Let us try to be factual folks. Why mislead the public? Why all of the effort to cloud the facts?

This project needs to be less about these three people and more about this community and what we can pay for and sustain. Dreams are nice but not at the expense of this community.

So now, the $1.8 million dollar question is, will the WECRD Board do the right thing and pull the 2011 Appropriations Application that was less than truthful, or will it stand? Will the WECRD Board respect and comply with the written request of the CLDC co-chairs to withdraw the FY2011 Appropriations Application, which can be done, or modify the document which absolutely cannot be done according to our Congressional staffers?

I guess we will find out over the next few weeks. I will hope for the best but fully expect the worst. This board consistently disappoints--it is truly the only thing they are really good at.

Tracy Lauric