Where I Stand 2008: Salt Lake County Ballot Questions
This is a continuing series of candidate and issue endorsements for the 2008 election cycle.
It seems that not an election can go by without a new bond issue on our ballot. I personally object to bonds unless we are truly caught blindsided by an expense we did not expect. I think it best to gradually save up the money you know you'll need for one-time projects or budget a certain amount each year for such projects. After all, a bond is a loan with interest and can greatly inflate the final cost of a project. In that vein, I tend to vote down bonds that do not constitute a pressing need. In 2006, I voted for the open space bond because that land wouldn't be open for long and voted down the parks and rec bond because that isn't something urgent. I'm viewing both bond issues through that lens.
Salt Lake County Ballot Question 1
This is a bond for $19.6M to make improvements and expansions to the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City. Certainly the aviary adds to the community even though I have been remiss in visiting it. That said, this seems like a foolish time to acquire more debt as credit markets remain frozen and this amount of money could probably be found in other ways. I'm voting NO on this issue in the hope that our county government will find some kind of alternate funding mechanism.
Salt Lake County Ballot Question 2
This is a bond for $33M to make improvements and expansions to the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. Just as with the aviary, I recognize the importance of a zoo in our community even though I haven't been. And just like with the aviary, there's better ways to pay for it. I'm voting NO because, again, I don't see it as fiscally responsible to build now and pay later with interest through the use of bonds.