The Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District had its final public hearing on Thursday, July 19, regarding its revitalization plan to be paid for with a proposed $43 million bond. The TVRPD board is set to vote this week on whether to place the bond before voters on the November ballot.
District Manager Michelle Vance began the meeting by stating they would be "wrapping up" what had been discussed at three previous public meetings since May. However, about 70 people attended to receive further clarification on the project, express their opinions and ask questions.
The meeting was primarily a review of the project, but did present the final layout choice for the $4 million West Park renovation, just one of several components of the revitalization plan.
"It just makes sense," said Vance, who explained that the layout will keep the parking lot out of view of the main passing road and allow parents to have clear sight of kids.
Many questions and comments were centered around the certainty of the bond projections, which would cost residents approximately $3.25 per $100,000 of assessed property value per month over 30 years.
"It's basically like a road map," said Bryan Moore of Urban Futures, Inc., who is helping oversee the general bond. He said the company primarily works with school districts and park districts.
Moore said the numbers are conservative, factoring in a 3.5 percent increase in property values in order to pay off the bond in a 30-year timeline. He also said the projections are reviewed by the county in order to issue the bonds.
"You can always refinance it to get lower rates as well," Moore said.
With principal and interest, the total cost of the bond would be around $86 million, Moore said.
Vance said in her presentation that there are certain residents who want to help pay for the project. One group was labeled as "GRAMPIES," or the "growing, retired active money people in excellent shape" who Vance described as "sitting on cash" and "the ones that care to invest in recreation."
Several people did speak out in support of the project — a recreation team coach, an 18-year-old high school graduate employed by TVRPD who grew up in its programs, a mom who sends her kids to Adventure Camp and people who look forward to using the facilities for local groups, to name a few.
Others like Michael Biglay, who is running for 2nd District supervisor, and his wife, April, local business owner Cliff Suazo and a variety of residents asked questions about the project management and other factors.
"It's no secret that I'm opposed to this project as it stands," April Biglay said.
And some simply expressed that it all comes down to the November vote.
"The fact that everybody's here right now, whether we're for or against it or undecided, shows that we love Tehachapi and care, and that's what counts," said Lydia Chaney, owner of South Street Digital. "If you vote against it, vote against it because it's a tax, and not because Michelle Vance is putting it on."
The next meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 24 at 490 W. D St.