$19 Million Bond for New Fairgrounds Ice and Ag Center on Ballot
Bonds totaling $19 million will be on the November general election ballot for a new 4-H and Ice Skating center on the Missoula County Fairgrounds.
KGVO spoke to Missoula County Commissioner Josh Slotnick on Friday for details. He said this bond actually has been proposed by Missoula County citizens.
“First I want to let you know that citizens brought this to us,” began Slotnick. This wasn't initiated at the county but actually came from groups of residents, by folks who are in the agriculture and 4-H community and people who are involved in ice sports. So right now, the 4-H folks share facilities with ice folks and 4-H kids don't have a year-round facility.”
Slotnick emphasized the fact that a large number of concerned citizens proposed and brought forward the bond request.
“The 4-H folks and the ice folks came to us and said they would raise a bunch of money,” he said. “They would like to borrow some money and pay that back through revenue, and they would like to see if taxpayers would help out as well for the creation of a new ice rink and a new 12-month livestock center that would be open for 4-H kids. So what we voted to do yesterday was to put that on the ballot, and that allows everybody who can vote in Missoula County gets to have a say.”
Slotnick laid out the financial details.
“It will be for $19 million, and $5 million of that is going to come from what's called a revenue bond,” he said. “A revenue bond means the ice folks and the 4-H folks will work with us. We borrow money at the full faith and credit of the county and they pay that back through the revenue they generate at the ice rink, and through for $14 and change per a $200,000 home.”
Slotnick said the interested parties with 4-H/FFA and the ice rink supporters made a compelling argument to put the bond issue before Missoula County voters.
“The presentation these guys gave us over two weeks in two parts was so incredibly compelling,” he said. “I think that if they do that same presentation to the public through their own advertising and marketing and campaigning, they will be successful. I mean, the stories of what happens to kids who are involved in 4-H are super powerful. And on the ice side, the true reality of the situation is that those facilities are overused and we have people playing ice sports literally at midnight, or at one in the morning. So it's time to expand, and the best thing about this really, Peter, is that people get to vote for it.”
Missoula has proved to be supportive of bond issues in the past, from the $158 million in bonds to improve public schools to a $25 million Public Library bond.
The issue will be on the November general election ballot.