County may cede control of Mesa Community Center
Mesa County may sever its ties with the Mesa Community Center — and the problems associated with it.
The county is modifying its contract with the center’s main tenant, the Mesa View Bible Church, in order to allow it to sublease the facility.
Church members claim they have outgrown their current buildings and need to rent the community center — for Sunday service, Bible study and other church events throughout the week — for at least another year before they can build a new church.
Some community members have objected to that, saying the church should not be allowed to lease a taxpayer-supported facility.
Last week, one Mesa County commissioner questioned the county’s involvement in the community center.
“Give it to them. I don’t understand why we ever had it,” Commissioner Craig Meis said. “They have their own community board, they have their own mill levy, they support it themselves, and for some reason they have to run everything through us.”
If the community center is handed over to the residents of Mesa, a new advisory council for the Mesa Community Center Public Improvement District and a new nine-member community center board of directors must be formed, said Andrea Clark, a Mesa resident who is opposed to the church’s use of the community center.
The advisory council — whose members are appointed by the county commission — manages the community center. The district collects taxes from the property owners in the area surrounding Mesa to support the center, which is leased from the county for $100 a year.
Clark said church members dominate both boards.
Not true, said Jan Potterveld, president of the community center’s board of directors, who are elected to office.
“We feel like we represent the community there. We are from a broad cross-section of people,” he said.
He added some members of the community board do sit on the community and the public improvement district boards. There are also some who are members of the Mesa View Bible Church, but they recuse themselves from votes that involve the church, said Potterveld, adding he is not a member of the church.
Clark said the church has not been paying its full cost for using the facility: the gym and other parts of the community center. She points to a community club profit and loss statement that shows for the month of February the church paid $400 for rent and $134 for utilities. The only other activity in the community center for the month of February was “Yoga Groups,” which paid $80 rent in February.
The bill for utilities — phone, trash, electric and gas — in February totaled $1,318, according to the community club’s expenses in a vendor detail report.
Potterveld said the church uses only the old gym, which relies on electricity for heat.
“They pay a rent to us of $400 a month. They also pay all the electricity in the old gym,” Potterveld said.
The community center is used by many others in the community, accounting for the large utility bill, he said.
“There are activities which we support for the general community, and those things are free.
They don’t show up in the financial record,” he said. “The rest of it is utilities we pay for the main building, heating and light, which we do anyway, whether there is a church there or not.”
Clark she and others have been harassed since they began questioning the church’s use of the facility. Clark said her vehicle’s tires have been flattened, attempts have been made to ignite dry brush on her property, and passing motorists have flung dog feces into her yard.