When you head to the polls May 2 (earlier for absentee voters) please consider the following:
More START Buses for $6,500,000
If the town and county had unlimited money (sometimes it seems that’s exactly how they operate) they would not solve our traffic woes with buses. They could buy 1 or 1,000 new buses. They still need someone to ride them. Busses carry only 1% of the trips after 4-decades of operation. By their own figures, in the best-case scenario START Bus might get 3% of our traffic off the roads in 10 years. And this agency’s budget is already hemorrhages massive amounts of wasted money yearly. START is not a transportation solution!
Employee housing at START for $8,300,000
The good news? Town and county is taking care of their own, like local employers should be doing, and realizing we have a housing shortage. The bad news? As with most building in Jackson Hole—especially when a bloated, inefficient government gets involved—the cost for each unit (24 rentals total) is astronomical. Given that the town already owns the land it’s hard to fathom how even government officials can blow $345,833 per unit in building apartments. That’s more than even The Grove. And these units aren’t restricted to first responders or critical community needs. It’s a bad program.
START bus storage and fleet maintenance facility for $15,330,000
Beginning to see a theme here? START, START, START. The mass transit agency should be scaling back and trying to figure out a way to be more sustainable, fares only pay 15% of the cost. Our taxes pay 85%. Instead of scaling back, they expect SPET to be their Golden Goose while promising they are the solution to our traffic problems. START is a non-solution waste of money.
Redmond-Hall rental project for $4,050,000
Wait, didn’t the town and county already give the Trust $4.05M plus the land they’re on to build their 26 units? Yep, and they want it back. And isn’t the Trust fully funded for this development and moving forward with construction next month? Yep. So why are we being asked to pay more taxes for it? Maybe they want the money back so they can prime the pump yet again and start another project voters never approved.
CWC Jackson campus for $3,820,000
Local hotels and restaurants love this idea. To be able to handpick their workforce from a local college is very attractive. A college campus in Jackson, however, will be a huge job generator and make the housing crisis worse. These people will need a place to live, a place to shop for groceries, a school to put their kids in, etc. Don’t make our overcrowding worse.
Town sidewalks for $1,500,000
The town still has money left over from sidewalk SPETs in 2008 ($1M), 2010 ($1M), 2014 ($1M) and they’re back again. Isn’t building sidewalks something town governments are supposed to take care of at the most basic level? This is not a SPET.
Fire station renovation at Jackson and Hoback for $6,800,000
We need to support our first responders. This is what SPET is for!
What’s missing says a lot
What voters won’t see on the ballot is money for wildlife. No wildlife crossings, no fund for habitat improvement or protection. Nothing that would indicate our elected officials remember wildlife, conservation and open spaces is the number one concern and desire of its constituents. Local politicians should be embarrassed.
Remember, you can vote for none or all of the SPET items. If even one initiative passes, your sales tax will remain at 6%. Vote all down and sales tax drops to 5% this summer. Pass all and it will take at least 10 years to pay for everything. Choose carefully.