Monday, August 25, 2014

Expensive Summer Pastimes

 Mill River Pool, North Amherst

So in addition to the $100K the town spent subsidizing the expensive game of golf last year, we also lost another $112K on the outdoor pools.  No big surprise since they, like the golf course, never break even.

But still, $112K is a lot of cash.  

$66,600 total revenues, well below projected $90,000

Expenses of $178,969 on revenues of $66,600 = $112,370 in red ink

Main difference between the two recreation items is of course the pools attract far more families -- especially children -- and folks of lesser economic means, since swimming does not require expensive equipment to participate. 

In addition, a few years back when I requested under Public Documents Law (which the town bitterly opposed) the names and hometowns of Cherry Hill season pass holders, it turned out that a majority were not even Amherst residents. 


Anonymous said...

Thank you again Ms. Ruschemeyer.

Anonymous said...

The town of Amherst can afford to spend all this money, but can't afford to hire FD or PD staff?


Anonymous said...

Keep the pools, get rid of the library.
Too many educated assholes here already.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if season passes are from Amherst or folks living 50 miles away. It's a public course.

Anonymous said...

Think that's bad? Seen this:

Stuart Rankin said...

The author's premise is that those who do not use the pool, or the golf course, should not be forced to "subsidize" these "money losers."

Well, let's take that logic a step further. Start with the vocabulary. If we like it, it's a "public service" and if we don't, it's "losing money" or a "subsidy." So far, so good.

Well, then - shall we close the public schools, which "lose" millions of tax dollars every year? To take it further, shall we make all the school sports teams turn a profit on their ticket sales? If they don't, shall we dig into their finances, and the parent booster organizations, to determine why they are losing money, year after year? Get lists of all the team members and see which ones are helping the bottom line? Certainly, Amherst taxpayers who have no children are subsidizing those who do. By this logic, they should be pushing hard to make sure the schools and teams begin to finally turn a profit.

Or perhaps we should end the millions in "subsidies" to the police and fire departments? Most of us will never use their services, so why should we pay? Seriously, why shouldn't the fire department demand a credit card before delivering their "product"?

And who, pray tell, subsidizes journalism when "freedom of information" requests use up the valuable time of salaried (and, yes - hourly) employees like administrators, police, and firefighters who could otherwise be doing real work? You guessed it - we all do.

That's because government is not a for-profit enterprise.

I'll spell it out: the pools and golf course are not businesses, they are RE-CRE-A-TION-AL. They are a town service - just like any other. And we support them because they make our town a nicer place to live.

Anonymous said...

LSSE should pay charge backs to town departments for all services received from town departments: i.e. law mowing, cleanup, maintenance, water, electricity used, etc etc etc.
Also LSSE should not report fess subsidized with town money as "revenue". Only money earned from external sources can be called revenue.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually that's not my "premise".

Plenty of people never use police or fire/EMT services but should still willingly subsidize them out of the common good.

Town Meeting is never told, "Recreation will cost over $500,000 this coming year".

If they were told the truth (providing they could handle the truth) I think we would see a different vote.

And that's the problem.

Tom McBride said...

If the pools get at least some use I think it's worthwhile to keep them open for the kids. At least some money is coming back in fees. I'm not sure it was necessary to reopen the one near the high school (War Memorial?). That was a waste. But the golf course is an A1 loser for the town. Sell it, let somebody develop it and take the sorely needed property taxes. I don't know what rocket scientist thought it was a good idea to hold on to that (the town manager?). I don't know if he's just supposed to manage or give his opinion in addition. That should be our town motto, "live in Amherst and take up everybody's precious time giving your long winded opinion at long meetings while the other member doze."

Stuart Rankin said...

Point taken. Town Meeting should definitely be informed about the actual dollars being expended on any line item. If, as you say, that is not happening then it needs to change.

But these recreational uses are a mere drop in the bucket of administrative salaries that consume the bulk of our tax dollars.

Amherst is growing increasingly top-heavy with highly paid paper-pushers. Time to thin the herd.

Anonymous said...

Larry, what, exactly, is preventing you from standing up at town meeting and telling them that they are paying the $500K?

Or preventing them from ignoring you every bit as much as they have in years past when you have complained about the golf course. People aren't as uninformed as you think -- they just don't care.

Anonymous said...

"In addition, a few years back when I requested under Public Documents Law (which the town bitterly opposed) the names and hometowns of Cherry Hill season pass holders, it turned out that a majority were not even Amherst residents."


shtarker said...

Amherst is not brimming over with spectacular recreational opportunites (ever seen the basketball court and playground adjacent to the War Memorial Pool?).

That said, swimming there on a hot day is just paradise. Amherst seems wonderful in that spot. Worth keeping and improving.

Not everything has to be profitable, a day at your town pool is now the same as buying a popover from Judies.

Anonymous said...

A day at your town pool isn't going to remain fun long if the thug problem isn't controlled. I don't care what color their skin is, if you don't control thuggery, families aren't going to be enjoying those pools for long.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said @ 10:44

So, thuggery (I agree) at the costly social and recreational gathering places, in the underperforming schools (that cost a fortune), by well paid town employees to get their way. When are we going to hold our 'leader' accountable?
Why does he get to fiddle (glowing reviews and big bucks) while Amherst burns?