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  • Writer's pictureDale Rottschafer

Why Do Outsiders Care How You Vote April 9?

Here is what they will tell you: “SGCC is not in “imminent danger” of closing.” Financially the SGCC has been trending in a positive direction for the last 3 years. It needs more members, and a campaign is in progress for new members.

Just the Facts: The SGCC has incurred an average net loss of $63,362 for the past 8 years. While the trend the past 3 years has been positive, the vast improvement in 2017 was the result of a GoFundMe campaign and fundraiser that generated $30,498. Most country clubs hold fundraisers to benefit a cause, not for overhead. The 2017 membership was the lowest it has been in recent history, yet rather than focusing on membership the focus has been on fighting the SRD initiative. SGCC board admits the conflict over SRD has had negative impact on memberships.

What they will say: The SGCC property is Zoned OSR (open space & recreation) and for any other use would require a zoning change which requires the approval of Centennial City Council, numerous Centennial City Departments and neighborhood residents and other impacted public groups.

Just the Facts: Centennial’s now Mayor, Stephanie Piko attended the SGCA Open Forum as candidate in October 2017 when SGCA members voted to pursue a Special Recreation District. She stated unequivocally to the ~80 in attendance that absolutely it could be developed. A Southglenn resident met with Alex Grimsman, City of Centennial, Planner II December 14, 2017 to get a better understanding of zoning and rezoning. (Thank you Paul Mack!!!) Takeaways from the meeting were that a developer could rezone the property if he has ownership and control of the property. This could happen by a bankruptcy sale, purchasing a lien, and probably other sources of acquiring the property. The City of Centennial Land Development Code defines the process of rezoning (Sec. 12-14-604 Rezoning). It is a burdensome process that usually takes 3-6 months. Applications must be submitted, the rezoning request must be recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved by City Council. There must be a legal description of the parcel, a parcel map, a location/Vicinity map, certifications (from Owner, P & Z Commission, City Council approval, and Recorder). It must meet approval standards (nine standards). And finally, meet Conditions of Approval (adherence to a site plan). There are required neighborhood meetings, newspaper postings, etc. to be sure residents are aware of what is being proposed so they can respond.

So while it may be a timely and burdensome process, there are well defined procedures and approvals in place because rezoning is possible. As we can see from the Littleton Village development, responses from residents are not always incorporated into what is built. Unorganized, unfunded and/or apathetic residents would have a hard time fighting a developer with deep pockets and patience.

What they will say: The SRD TAX increase would exist into perpetuity on all Southglenn residents.

Just the facts: That’s the point – to save the 22 acres from redevelopment into perpetuity to continue operations and maintenance and make improvements solely for recreational purposes including, but not limited to, the operation and maintenance of a par three golf course, a swimming pool and tennis courts.

What they will say: The SRD TAX increase would be imposed across the board on our elderly neighbors and those on fixed incomes.

Just the facts: A mil levy tax does apply to all properties within the taxing district. Arapahoe County offers exemptions to Senior Citizens and Disabled Veterans. Some of the very first financial supporters of the SRD are original home owners (or close to it). Over half of SRD supporters have lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years.

What they will say: The SRD TAX increase DOES NOT make Club use free (there would be a use fee and future TAX increases to make any improvements to the Club).

Just the facts: The fee structure that has been proposed for the SRD allows for unlimited use of the clubhouse free of charge. Similar to our libraries, if a member in the district wants to reserve space for a card game, or to host a family gathering, they can make a reservation with no additional charge. The tax is meant to cover the basic overhead, while the use fees are what would fund any debt service for capital improvements. As with any matter involving taxes in Colorado, TABOR would apply to the formation and any future tax increases would have to be approved by voters. Any numbers presented to this point are estimates, based on simple math applied to publicly available information. A YES vote on April 9 gives us the ability to get exact information so voters can make a decision based on facts and not estimates.

What they will say: The SRD Tax increase places 100% of the SGCC financial burden on ONLY the residents of Southglenn.

Just the facts: This is accurate with regard to funding overhead. Those living within the Littleton Public Schools district incur 100% of the financial burden for LPS schools, no one has any expectation that residents of Highlands Ranch pay taxes to fund the LPS school district. The point of the SRD is to have the overhead covered by the tax base. The use would dictate capital improvements. The more funds generated by users - whether residents or non-residents, the stronger the ability to service debt and/or make improvements.

What they will say: Southglenn residents already pay an SRD TAX for South Suburban Parks & Rec (SSPR). If this SRD passes, Southglenn residents would pay both the SSPR tax (which has more than 35 facilities) & the SRD tax (which has 1 facility). This will significantly impact taxes and the marketability of the homes in Southglenn.

Just the facts: There are many special districts located within SSPRD district. For example, Heritage Greens, the neighborhood surrounding South Suburban Golf Course is a special district that recently renovated the pool, tennis courts, sand volleyball court, basketball court, and clubhouse. The nice thing about the one SRD facility is that it is less than 1 mile from any house within the proposed district. And, there will be no advertising of the facility to anyone outside of the district, so the crowds will be significantly smaller than any SSPRD facility servicing 150,000 households that is a car ride away for Southglenn residents. One resident put it so eloquently, "I have enjoyed SSPRD (South Suburban) it is great. It is not a community center for my neighborhood."

What they will say: There are approximately 55 out of 1,336 (only 4.1%) residents that use the Club today.

Just the facts: For the first 24 years of existence, SGCC membership was automatic and exclusive to Southglenn residents. Original plans were for 1600 homes. SGCC was 100% Southglenn resident supported. But it struggled through those years because there was no financing mechanism beyond voluntary use fees - variable income to cover fixed costs. If unable to sustain for 25 years, the developer had right to reclaim the land for development. (There was a "sister" development in Northglenn by the same developer that lost their country club during this time.) To keep the developer at bay, residents voted to change the bylaws to allow non-residents to use the facility. The residents that SGCC claims "don't care about the club" cared enough to allow non-residents in to save it. When non-residents were admitted, arbitrary membership caps were put in place at 700, despite being planned for 1600. The result was residents were excluded from joining. As membership declined, the fixed costs have been shouldered by a smaller base increasing the price. Our neighborhood had been priced out. Residents have been surveyed and have provided feedback indicating the rates of the SGCC are too high. That was finally addressed in response to the SRD initiative with introductory rates similar to what SRD has estimated. And there are quite a few in Southglenn who have joined as a result of the now-affordable price - hopefully more will take advantage! While the opposition shows the ratio of residents who use the facility to total residents, it would be interesting to know how many non-residents are members out of all of the households where SGCC places ads and sends targeted mailing, but does not target them with pleas for financing accompanied with threats of imminent closure.

What they will say: Any desired changes the Southglenn residents deem appropriate can be done today without creating an SRD…make those changes by getting involved, vote for BOD members that want the Club & the Community to work as one voice, in one direction.

Just the facts: How deep is the hole that has been dug the past 8 years? There is no transparency to understand the true finances of SGCC. Meetings are closed, minutes are not posted in a timely manner, questions on the finances remain unanswered, and executive session minutes dealing with noteholders and employees are not made available for review. Southglenn has taken steps to elect more representation on the BOD - that the non-residents in majority on that board fought viciously by weaponizing the membership list to endorse 3 non-residents. One was the spouse of a sitting board member with a year of service left on term. The involvement and changes are starting, is the runway long enough for it to work? Just in case, we should have an SRD vote ready to go.

What they will say: The MATH does not add up and the MOTIVE does not make sense.

Just the facts: YES! The MATH for keeping SGCC in its current voluntary dues structure does not add up. A $63,000+ deficit per year is not sustainable. GoFundMe is not a business plan. The $7 – 10 million value estimated for the property is only relevant if there are plans to sell the property. What attempts have been made to Drive Fore 2018 Memberships? Why DO these outsiders care about how you vote April 9?

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