Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

County should return this 'gift'

To the editor:

The recent article regarding Baker and Union counties getting a "gift" of the Anthony Lakes Ski Area is just what the counties need. Another dead animal to throw taxpayer money at. Union County already has a golf course that is a loser, a tourist train that never leaves the station and has in the past invested in Air Oregon, a commuter airline that no one seems to know what it really cost to get the county out of that agreement.

Baker County, on the other hand, has been more conservative, although they have a hydro project (Mason Dam) that the Commissioners have no problem funding. The project is estimated to cost $4 million by the time it gets on line, if ever, and that amount will probably double. In all reality if it's a good business practice it should be sold to a private developer.

It is my best guess the out-of-state owners of Anthony Lakes Ski Area have probably consulted with a tax firm on the west side of the state to determine the value of the "gift" so the current owners can apply for an IRS tax credit since it is a "gift" to the counties. If the current owners consider Anthony Lakes as so valuable to the community they should offer it for sale to really determine its current value. In my independent demographic study there are approximately 522 active ski areas in the U.S. Less than 5 percent show a profit. Of the 152 active ski areas in Canada the percentage is somewhat higher but most of the ski areas are subsidized by the Canadian government.

Granted there are those who use and enjoy the ski area, but their fun should not come at the expense of the taxpayers. Also, it is my understanding that the Forest Service has to approve the transfer of the "gift" to the counties, which may or may not be possible. This "gift" should be sent back to the Anthony Lakes owners marked "return to sender."

D.H. Sanders

Baker City