Jeffco Schools Capital Asset Advisory Cmte can’t be trusted to make good financial decisions and gets played as fools by Tim Reed and Steve Bell. They are utter failures at being good stewards of Jeffco’s taxpayers’ money.
They are responsible for overseeing now $110M in cost estimate overages of the Capital Improvement Program and recently agreed to spend an additional $17M for a new gold-plated swimming pool for the community of Arvada.
The $17M and decision process for a new Arvada community pool is egregious. Here’s why:
1. Jeffco swim teams will use the pool approximately 10% of the time, Arvada residents the rest. Yet Jeffco will pay for 50% of the $33M-$35M construction costs. That doesn’t seem equitable. Not one CAAC member questioned that arrangement or suggested that Jeffco’s share be reduced to something reasonable like $7M.
2. Reed told the CAAC that construction costs for a Jeffco owned 50 meter pool would be $15M-$20M. Not one CAAC member asked if Arvada was taking advantage of Jeffco by building a gold plated facility that would cost $15M more than Reed’s estimate.
3. No one asked what was even included in that additional $15M.
4. Other area rec center pools in Wheat Ridge and Evergreen are 25yd pools. No one asked why the Arvada facility had to be a 50 meter pool. No one asked what a 25 yard facility would cost.
5. No one asked what the cost would be to add 25 yard pools at High Schools. Smaller pools, locker rooms already in place and possibly shared walls would result in lower costs.
6. Not one CAAC member asked what the implications and precedent would be set for the other 4 Rec Districts in Jeffco when their pools “age out”. Would Jeffco help those Rec Districts fund their new pools in the future? Or, would Arvada residents be “winners”? In 2018 Evergreen voters rejected a bond package that included pool upgrades to their 50 year old failing facility.
7. No one asked about the equity. No one asked why Reed and Bell thought it was fair for Lakewood or Evergreen residents to pay for an Arvada community pool.
7. Not one CAAC member asked what Jeffco schools facility needs would not get accomplished because $17M went into Arvada’s new pool. Taxpayers were told that Jeffco had $1.3B in facilities needs when they were asked to approve the $567M bond. Are those not real needs now? Shouldn’t there be a prioritized list of projects awaiting funding that this project is compared against? Replacement schools for example? Isn’t prioritization a key function of the CAAC? Yet, trade-offs weren’t even discussed.
8. Not one CAAC member asked about the certainty of Arvada voters passing a bond to fund the facility. A recent bond to fund upgrades in Evergreen Rec district, including pool upgrades failed.
9. Not one CAAC member questioned Reed when he said that the pool would be funded from Capital Transfer, like Cap Xfer is some unlimited source of funds. Jeffco Schools promised voters that Capital Xfer would be committed to the CIP for 6 years. There is no additonal money. In fact, Jeffco is already shortchanging the CIP by $12M
10. Not one CAAC member asked how funding Arvada’s pool would affect voter sentiment District wide when Jeffco needs another capital bond passed in a few years. The current bond was carefully crafted so that everyone got something and still just barely passed. If Jeffco schools pays for Arvada’s gold plated facility, you can be guaranteed it will not sit well with Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and Evergreen voters in the future.
In a 6-0 (one absent) vote, the CAAC recommended to endorse the project.
The committee’s failure to ask reasonable questions relating to spending $17M on a pool facility for a specific community is indicative of the overall lax oversight and general negligence in the CAAC’s role as stewards of Jeffco taxpayers’ money.
Jeffco’s CAAC can’t be trusted to make good financial decisions.
Jeffco taxpayers deserve better!