Responses to Flyer Sent to Chateau Residents
Q: Do you know that the City of Calistoga will NOT pay for the Fairgrounds because they do not have the money?
A: Correct. If you look at the statement “does not have the money” by itself. Most cities the size of Calistoga don’t have an extra $27.5 million dollars in their back pocket. That is why a bond is necessary to spread the payment out over a number of years, just like most citizens have to do to purchase a car or a home.
Q: Do you know that YOU will pay for the fairgrounds via a special tax?
A: This is a property tax assessment for all properties within Calistoga city limits, just like your normal property taxes that you have been paying for years.
Q: Do you know that YOUR vote will decide the fate of this purchase?
A: Yes, along with every other registered voter that votes in the city. Most people prefer to have a say in how their money is being spent. This is your opportunity to preserve something important for the community.
Q: Do you know that it will cost $27.5 million?
A: That is the absolute upper limit allowed by the ballot measure. Offsetting that will be contributions from TOT money, income derived from events held at the facility, rental income along with the potential of naming rights buildings, and so many other possibilities.
Q: Wasn’t the plan when we (the voters) voted to OK the development of 3 large resorts (Indian Springs, Four Seasons, Calistoga Hills) that the TOT revenue would be used for City enhancements and programs?
A: Yes, and it is the voice of the voters that will make sure a larger portion of TOT goes towards these enhancements in the community such as improving the fairgrounds property (which is estimated at $9 million). TOT revenue can be used any way we want, including purchases, improvements, etc. for the fairgrounds. We expect if TOT is strong enough it will indeed be used to offset some of the property tax. If E passes, then each year the council would have the option of decreasing the property tax (it could not increase it however), depending on anticipated revenues to the city and expenditures that people want to be done for the fairgrounds; i.e., if people want to slow down the improvements at the fairgrounds, the council could decide to collect less tax than authorized in Measure E. The projected tax there is the MAXIMUM tax that could be collected.
Presently most of the TOT goes for normal city functions---paying for fire, police, swimming pool, etc. But if those normal bills are paid and there's still $$ left over, then yes, those extra revenues can be used to pay for improvements at the fairgrounds. The $9M was added to the purchase price in order to give the city some cash to make initial improvements sufficient to put the property back into public use and hopefully generate its own income.
The council discussed asking the public for just the purchase price in the first bond, then for the $$ to improve the property in a second tax, but bringing these measures to the ballot is so expensive (paying the consultants, staff time, etc) the council decided to do it at once, knowing that this form of tax (CFD--community finance district) was flexible and could lower the tax as conditions allowed.