Jon Russell’s recent column addressing the proposed recreation center [Proposed recreation center fails taxpayer, Oct. 3, 2018] was fallacious.

It is difficult to determine which Jon Russell wrote the column: the politician, town councilman or the one who urged we be civil when discussing the community recreation center. Of course, he made it clear in his the column and from the signs that were distributed by the party he chairs.

And his fallacious claims demand a factual response.

One would expect an elected official to focus on the quality of life of those who elected them. We don’t need politicians at the local level. We need good citizens focused on community needs.

Thankfully, we have many such people on the Board of Supervisors and Town Council.

Russell’s column refers to “a hugely expensive project where crucial details and tax implications are unspecified.”

The reality is, county staff and the supervisors have been up front and transparent on community center details from day one.

The county administrator stated on public record: “If the tax revenue remains the same, we can build the community center and vocational school with NO TAX INCREASE.”

See the memorandum of agreement the BOS approved on Oct. 3. No further funds will be appropriated after construction of the community center. The county has the highest AAA rating for bonding. And Culpeper has the lowest tax rate in the region at 69 cents per $100 of assessed value. It also has $30 million in reserves.

The Board of Supervisors is focused on fiscal responsibility and quality of life for all citizens.

The column states: The recreation center would compete with the Powell Wellness Center.

The reality: The Powell is a small facility limited by space. Its focus is not on youth. Read the webpage of its parent organization, the Culpeper Wellness Foundation, and nowhere is youth mentioned. Its focus is elsewhere.

Powell has no multipurpose space or courts for youth and family activities. Nor does it, or any local facility, have an indoor pool where school teams and individuals can swim, practice and hold meets.

The column: The State Theater put taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Reality: No taxpayer funds were used to refurbish and modify the project. Individual donations supported it. The only winners were those contracted to do the work. The theater board had no plan for sustaining it. Not true with the community center.

The column: “The county proclaimed the town would provide the water and sewer. One problem, the county never asked the town if we would provide these services.”

The reality: In 2012, the town and county entered into an agreement stating that these services would be provided to the 40 acres then given to the county by the North Ridge developers—now the proposed site of the community center. Physical details need be finalized, but agreements are in place and the author should know it.

Republican yard sign: “Culpeper Youth Study does not support this project.”

The reality: Twenty-five percent of respondents supported it, despite the fact that they had to write in their responses since the survey failed to ask the question.

Interesting that the Culpeper Wellness Foundation only became interested in youth when faced with perceived competition.

It then hired a strategy consultant. Perhaps a strategy to defeat the community center and the project result blew up in its face.

The letter in the newspaper that appeared the day after the study was released by its study director failed to mention that the 25 percent were write-in comments.

Republican sign:”Real estate taxes will rise.”

The reality: This conflicts with a quoted statement from the county administrator.

Sign: “Tax $$$ compete against local business.”

Reality: Only in a limited way, as no local business provides the proposed services that the community center would.

Sign: “Catalpa has no public transportation.”

The reality: Obviously, the center does not exist. A plethora of buses operate in Culpeper. When demand exists the service will be provided. As with other needs for transportation, it was satisfied when a need existed.

Need more be said about fallacious columns and signs over which the same individual has great input?

Let us be clear in stating that the town and county leaders have been excellent partners in improving our quality of life. You the voters on Nov. 6 are trusted to make this important decision based upon facts, while ignoring fallacious misrepresentations such as Jon Russell’s column.

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Ian M. Phillips Jr. is a spokesperson for the Committee for Improving Quality of Life in Culpeper. He is a former Culpeper planning commissioner