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!