Friday, July 13, 2012

Cherry Hill Continues to Gush Red Ink

Cherry Hill should be closed because "it's the economy stupid."

A coin toss can decide the convenient excuse town officials will trot out for our municipal golf course continuing to squander taxpayer monies: The reliable standby going on 25 years now--inclement weather, or the more recent favorite--tough economy.  Actually of late they have been using them both in combination.

FY12 ended June 30 with total revenues standing at around $239,000 well under the projected budgeted amount town meeting was told they would intake, $268,000.  And those offsetting expenditures at $232,815 or a "net profit" of $6,185.  And that is the only math town officials ever wish to present.

But those expenditures do not include an additional $49,000 in hidden costs: $31,497 for employee benefits, $14,000 in capital improvements (a lawnmower) plus $3,300 in liability/clubhouse insurance.

Now do the math that small business owners (and homeowners) have to live by:  total expenditures $281,815 against total revenues of $239,000 or an actual loss of $42,815.  Yet our senile,arthritic, toothless, "watchdog" Finance Committee promised Amherst Town Meeting the business  "would show a small profit."

Even worse they dared to say "continue" to show a small profit.  In FY11, the previous year, accounting for the hidden costs Cherry Hill lost $40,000.  What the Finance Committee should have said is the course will continue to generate the same amount of red ink, or more.

The Fiscal year that just started has an extra $12,500 in capital expenditures (turf mower) over last year and next year the ailing operation requires $135,000 in hidden capital costs!

The Solid Waste Fund took a multi million dollar hit when the landfill closed as commercial haulers took their business elsewhere.  The transfer station was created to allow folks who do not have a private hauler to still manage their trash and recycling as well as for the town to dispose of its waste.

But rising fuel prices and the bottoming out of recycling reimbursements have squeezed the operation budget of the transfer station and for the first time in history town officials are actually considering closing it down to the general public, impacting 2,000 current customers--more than ten times the number of season pass holders at the Cherry Hill Golf Course.

The transfer station, however, finished the fiscal year in the black, unlike Cherry Hill.

Trash and recycling services are a necessity, golf is not!



Anonymous said...

Spoken like someone that has never enjoyed the view on the 7th tee. Long live Cherry Hill.

Anonymous said...

The first half of FY12 had the highest rainfall in recorded history.

And the economy is improving slightly.

Be happy you don't live in South Hadley.

Larry Kelley said...

The summer of 2001 (remember 9/11?) was the best weather in recorded history...and they still used the weather excuse.

The majority of South Hadley's annual losses are due to the mega-million loan for initial construction costs.

But yeah, I'm happy I do not live there. They also seem to be having problems with their landfill.

Anonymous said...

"Is that true?"


F**cking slippery idiots.

Anonymous said...

Just visited Groff Park and saw a bunch of two-yesr-old freeloaders using the wading pool. No revenue there either.

Larry Kelley said...

Don't forget the swings, slide and sandbox. My little freeloader loves them.

Anonymous said...

Pity you can't somehow blame the UM students for this -- that would put an end to the problem.

Wait, you can -- Cherry Hill was built not because of any need for a golf course but to preclude housing from being built there.

Just think, Amherst could be collecting property taxes from the developed land...

And if they had let the trash pile go another 100 feet higher, which would have bothered no one, the dump would still be open and making money for the town...

Larry Kelley said...

Cherry Hill was a golf course prior to Kreger wanting to put 134 high end units around it. The town took it by eminent domain in order to kill that project.

The neighbors on Logtown Road were quite bothered by the idea of the landfill cell grower higher and one member of the ZBA agreed (and that's all it took).

Good thing to keep in mind because on Monday the Select Board is looking at a draft for the Solar Farm on the old landfill energy agreement.

That too will require unanimous ZBA approval.

Anonymous said...

I know that those who revile this blog for "hating" UMass students don't have the long perspective:

This is a community filled with apologists for young people's bad behavior. And if you followed any amount of public discourse in Amherst over, say, the past 20 years, you would know that. It's a community overpopulated with educators!

But even those presumptions in favor of the young have been overcome over the years by the bad experiences residents have had with UMass students as neighbors. (Yes, specifically UMass students.)

And so now we have what we have: a phobia about building additional student housing at any scale anywhere in Amherst. And this is why almost every zoning proposal is ultimately posed to the membership in Town Meeting as the product of a bad public process (the proponents can NEVER beat that charge)and the end of civilization as we know it.

Mr. Kelley is simply the bearer of the bad news.

Larry Kelley said...

An Anon who can handle the truth. I like that.

Anonymous said...

The town has a recreation budget, a school, budget, a road maintenance budget, and each of these are separate. Cherry Hill;s cost has nothing to do with the transfer station. The question is really whether our recreation budget should include a golf course or soccer fields, parks, and swimming and wading pools. Each of these costs money and Cherry Hill is not very expensive when compared to the cost of our parks and soccer fields. It requires the least amount of cash of all of them because it has a source of revenue.

Larry Kelley said...

Make sure you bring up the argument when town officials spend millions to turn the hilly Hawthorne farm into a soccer field.

Anonymous said...

Good job Larry,
You suckered another group into debating over your private little war.
Keep up the good work.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, and with 2,000 subscribers more than ten times the fan base of Cherry Hill.

Soccer, solar farm, transfer station--it's not hard to find a much larger group with potential to gain by the demise of our White Elephant.

Anonymous said...

Solar farm have anything to do with Cherry Hill? Thought not.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 10:07 AM:

Just about all citizen involvement in town government in Amherst involves a "private little war" of some kind. Do you recall the furor over the HAP project in South Amherst? That was a "private little war" that caused many, many neighbors to get involved in Town Meeting and other forums. Now the finished project is better looking than many of the residences around it!

Let's not single Mr. Kelley out here.