So before the Town Manager or LSSE, our expensive recreation empire, spews a disingenuous positive spin on the numbers, here’s what the illustrious business of golf really cost taxpayers this past year (FY-09, ended June 30, 2009):
“Operation Budget: $211,000
Hidden costs: (employee benefits, insurance): $31,000
“Capital costs” Commercial lawnmower $22,000
Total taxpayer funded budget: $264,000
Total Revenues (with about half the patrons from outside Amherst): $254,000
Or a loss of $10,000.
Not bad...compared to the six consecutive years of $100,000 losses between 1999 and 2005, or South Hadley’s usual annual losses of $500,000 on their B-I-G-G-E-R white elephant, the Ledges.
But this loss does not reflect the $30,000 “opportunity cost” of privatizing the operation. The Town Mangler rejected Niblick Management because they wanted a 3-year-deal.
But Shaffer wants Town Meeting next week to approve a 5-year lease/buy on experimental photovoltaic, solar panels for two in-town locations. Hmmm…
And even if you ignore the $30,000 privatization opportunity had Amherst never absorbed Cherry Hill for $2.2 million over 20 years ago (still the most expensive land purchase/taking in town history) the former owner would be paying property taxes of almost $10,000 per year.
As former Czar Anne Awad told Town Meeting in June 2006 (back when she still lived in Amherst): “Numbers can be used in many ways, statistics in many ways” Yeah, for sure. It would help if town officials told the truth.
Hey, at least he was accurate (gotta love the facial twitch) when admitting the golf business would not cover capital.