As a Hailey city councilman, I voted to approve the bond election for the Hailey Rodeo Ground improvements. I voted to place the matter on the ballot so that all Hailey citizens have an opportunity to decide whether we are willing to uphold the traditional values of our city.
As a Hailey citizen, I wholeheartedly support the rodeo ground improvements for many reasons.
First, we need to uphold our Western traditions. The rodeo ground is deteriorating. Unless it is improved, it will ultimately not be safe for public events, and we will have lost our sole remaining historic public facility.
Second, this is an opportunity to bring new life to Hailey. The rodeo ground will be used as a multipurpose facility to support an endless list of possible public events, including concerts and other similar events.
Third, the project will support our youth. Provided Hailey obtains the necessary private donations, the ice rink will be used for numerous indoor sports, including hockey, ice skating, basketball and volleyball.
Finally, we will upgrade the outdoor skatepark to include more accessible skating designed to accommodate all level of skaters.
All these facilities are designed so that maintenance and operations costs are paid by user's fees, and not by the taxpayers.
Last but not least, we will dramatically improve the entry to our city. The rodeo grounds are historic, but the area is in need of a major facelift.
To be sure, there are citizens concerned about the cost of this facility. Obviously, you should consider these costs in your voting. After lawful exemptions are deducted, (e.g. homestead exemptions and others), the cost of the project is $33 per $100,000 of assessed taxable value. Assuming that after deductions the taxable value of your house is $200,000, the cost to each household is $66 per year, or $5.50 per month.
Times are definitely tough. However, great public facilities come at some cost. These costs require sacrifice. In my mind, the sacrifice is definitely worth the end result.
Talk to your neighbors and friends, consider all the arguments and vote your conscience. I am voting "yes."
Fritz X. Haemmerle