Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Treading in a sandpit
So I’m a tad surprised the Town Manager and our Leisure Services recreation empire have not issued one of those disingenuous press releases trumpeting how terrific the Cherry Hill Golf course—our municipally owned White Elephant--performed this past year (FY10 ended June 30)
And indeed, compared to all too many years this past one was a hole in one, with "expenses" of $217,220.94 and overall revenues of $250,381.04. Although the town manager and LSSE did project last year that Cherry Hill would intake $262,000; and none of that $12,000 difference comes out of their hides.
But still, before you conclude the business turned a profit of $33,000 those “expenses” do not include that pesky $25,000 in employee benefits or $7,000 for clubhouse and liability insurance paid out of separate, hidden, parts of the town budget.
And this year they did not have any capital items (like last year’s $22,000 lawnmower for instance), which of course begs the question: why no capital items?
A golf course is exceedingly hard on heavy equipment, and since a study done five years ago discovered two-thirds of Cherry Hill’s extensive collection of heavy machines were beyond their rated lifespan, kind of makes you wonder?
Deferred maintenance is an easy but shortsighted way to make a budget look good.
And this past March the DPW had to scurry out to the golf course (at the expense of many other more important things they do) and help spruce it up for an early spring opening.
When the Amherst Redevelopment Authority met with Hanover Town officials recently regarding development they did with Dartmouth College for our proposed Gateway Project with Umass, town manager Julia Griffin mentioned how refreshing it was to be away from her former gig in the capital city of Concord—mainly because of the tough politics and the constant drain on the city budget from two municipal white elephants: an airport and a golf course.
Sooooo, I guess it could be worse…
Ass't Town Mgr John Musante: Hate that damn capital! (makes me twitch)