A Special Election is the best way to settle the TABOR/Vandaveer issue
If anything is made abundantly clear in attorney kahn's leaked memo to council, it is that the history of the Vandaveer purchase and the creation of the NRCDC repeatedly has attorneys offering poor advice to previous councils. Unsurprisingly, those councils then went on to make poor decisions. Could history be repeating itself?
The TABOR compliance plan created by attorney Kahn makes no sense. Phase Two of that plan calls for the sale of US Forest Service property. The lease on that building covers the loan payments to High Country Bank. Assuming they sell the building for less than the loan balance, the city will have to make payments out of the general fund on the balance of the loan. That is, of course, assuming that High Country Bank doesn't elect to call the note. It would certainly seem to be within their rights. Oh yes, the collateral on that loan is the entire Vandaveer property. But who cares since attorney Kahn states in the compliance plan "the City affirmatively rejects the goal of maximizing the underlying asset liquidation value.." Okay maybe we don't need to maximize but wouldn't it be nice to try to get back some of the 2 million dollars that we paid for the property? Is this all to make some point about previous councils' screw ups?
It is also interesting that attorney Kahn discouraged council from seeking outside expert legal advice by suggesting that the cost would be 25 to 60 thousand dollars. Attorney Kahn has managed to give an incomplete opinion to council for a mere 28 to 30 thousand. (The NRCDC board managed to get an expert opinion for no more than ten thousand.) A special election would allow the citizens of Salida to have the final word on the matter and for less than the cost of continued attorney's fees. We can put to rest the TABOR questions and take a little time to get best use and highest return on this property.
It is possible that the Vandaveer property including the Forest Service building can not be sold for an amount sufficient to satisfy the loan and return any capital to the citizens today. However, the loan is being covered by the lease payments. The lease and loan run until 2023. At that time a balloon payment comes due and the lease comes up for renewal. Council person Hal Brown seems very concerned that this will create a crisis. Indeed things could go awry and the city could loose the ranch, but how is that different from liquidating in a haphazard fashion today? Time is on our side if we resolve the TABOR question. Let's vote!