As the Republican Party candidate for Irondequoit town supervisor this November, I feel compelled to urge Irondequoit taxpayers to vote “no” on the July 30 referendum that will determine whether the town board moves forward with the construction of a $9.5 million community recreation center at Skyview on the Ridge — formerly the Medley Centre Mall.
Given the findings of the comprehensive Ballard*King and Associates’ feasibility study conducted in 2018, it’s financially irresponsible for the current supervisor and board members to even bring this ill-advised proposal up for a vote. Here’s why.
It makes little sense to finance $7.25 million and exhaust an additional $2.25 million of our town’s accrued fund balance for what can only be compared to elective cosmetic surgery. Nice if you can afford it, but we can’t.
By its own calculations, the town concedes that the average Irondequoit homeowner will see an approximate $18 annual tax increase. Much for higher assessed properties. Less publicized is the fact that town residents will be required to pay daily admission or annual membership fees that can exceed $500 for a household of six.
What’s more, the feasibility study reveals that the community center will experience an operating loss of nearly $627,000 over the course of the first five years, with strong indications that a 10% operating deficit will continue for the foreseeable future. Since nearly 80% of the center’s anticipated revenue is derived from admission and membership fares, any less than expected facility usage will only exacerbate operating losses funded by taxpayer dollars.
In many respects, the community center is a solution in search of a problem, and if approved, it will be a problem in search of a solution. Irondequoit taxpayers will pay a steep price for years to come for this unnecessary indulgence.
Today, many of the facility’s proposed amenities are available to Irondequoit residents within our town’s boundaries — Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, Irondequoit Senior Center, etc. — or a short drive away. Common sense governance dictates that the addition of long-term debt should be reserved for aging infrastructure projects that safeguard public safety, enhance property values and ensure our quality of living. Plus, losing money year after year is hardly a feasible proposition.