Sunday, January 8, 2012

More $ down the drain

Amherst Cherry Hill Golf Course (metaphorically speaking)

Just so all of us "customers" have time to adapt, Amherst announced six months in advance a 3% price hike in water and sewer rates. Yeah, that $24 annual increase takes a long time to soften the shock. Thanks.

Or I suppose households could cut back--a bath here and a toilet flush there. But try telling that to my two kids.

Now too bad the town could not correspondingly swing a magic golf club and guarantee an increase in the bottom line at our floundering golf business. Interestingly, the town has incrementally increased rates almost every year for the past decade or so but it still loses money hand over fist because of sinking interest in the expensive game of golf.

And with H-U-G-E capital infrastructure expenditures coming up soon, those already too large losses will only grow exponentially.

Government seems to do just fine in the marketplace when it has a monopoly on a vital service like running water or education, but tanks in a competitive arena where good quality at a fair price matters.

Unfortunately the taxpayers are all too easily tapped to cover the difference.


Anonymous said...

Please detail the H-U-G-E capital infrastructure costs that are coming.

LarryK4 said...

Sure. This coming July: $14,154 for a fairway mower plus a $12,000 rough mower for a total of $26,654.

The following year: another fairway mower ($14,154) and a rough mower ($12,500), fence replacement ($24,000) and parking lot resurfacing ($24,000) for a whopping total of $135,654.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that these expenses are not huge. How long does a mower last? 10 years or more? How long does a fence last? 30 years? It's not like these are replaced every year.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, that's the same line of thinking presented to Town Meeting 12 years ago when they desperately needed $286,000 for a new clubhouse and an irrigation system.

And the Finance Committee, Select Board and Cherry Hill Advisory Committee promised the course would do ever so well after those improvements.

Cherry Hill went on to lose over $100,000 per year for seven straight years.

And now, history repeats itself.

Anonymous said...

As Ron Paul is to American military commitments overseas, you are to Amherst's commitment to Cherry Hill.

There's no way to back out.

And no political push to do so.

LarryK4 said...

Oh, I think when they go before Town Meeting requesting that whopping $135,000 in capital improvements after the last few years of operational losses, there will be a major push.

Anonymous said...

I think not. I'll be happy to point out that we pave every park's parking lot and mow the playing fields and picnic areas. I think that members will have no problem agreeing with me.

LarryK4 said...

And I will ask when was the last time any of those required $135,000 up front.

Too bad conflict of interest laws don't apply to town meeting because I would also ask that Cherry Hill golfers abstain from voting.

Anonymous said...

"Too bad conflict of interest laws don't apply to town meeting, because I would also ask that Cherry Hill golfers abstain from voting."

That's a joke, right?

Following that logic: town meeting members with kids shouldn't vote for the school budget, members with cars shouldn't vote for the road budget, members with houses shouldn't vote for the fire dept. budget.

How about this: those of us who pay taxes should abstain from voting on anything regarding the budget?. Town meeting should be 100% non-taxpayers.

There's a huge difference between conflict-of-interest and fiduciary duty (invested citizens working for the good of the whole).

LarryK4 said...

Obviously die hard Cherry Hill supporters don't take their "fiduciary duty" seriously--especially those who benefit from it.

Anonymous said...

Whata silly comment. It's basically, "people who like the town enough to appreciate it's rich array of resources and to actually use them shouldn't vote."

Anonymous said...

They're "die hard" supporters because the place is so good. What great views it has.

LarryK4 said...

So did the Mt. Tom Ski Area.

Ski business is long dead, but still plenty of "great views."

Anonymous said...

If you could wave a wand and Cherry Hill were gone tomorrow, would you want it developed? Developed as in housing for students, condos, single family homes?

Just wondering.

LarryK4 said...

Soccer fields, landfill, solar farm? Nah, just keep it as open space for those "great views."

Anonymous said...

Come on, folks.

There are an endless number of useful things we could do with that land besides run a golf course on it.

Anonymous said...

solar farm and pasture land with cross country trails along the edge. isn't mulitiple use in?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of wasting money, why is the town letting the East Street School sit empty and eating cash when the Little Red Schoolhouse Preschool wants to rent it? Little Red is being kicked off the Amherst College campus and wants to rent space at East Street. The town could save money and support a good program for children. What's up with this?