A big thank you needs to go to Jerry Stoll, Tim Barrett, Dan McGuire and Larry Campbell. These city council members saw the big picture when it came to the vote on the city golf course at the last meeting.
They stood up for what is best for the city. A big no thanks to Pederson, McNea, Steinbeck and Carman as they just allowed the mayor to follow his personnel agenda to the end.
Now the city will pay an extra $180,000 up to $300,000 based on the contract that Jim Hawks and Landscapes decide on to run this golf course. Everyone already knows this golf course is losing money and these four individuals think by spending another $180,000 up to $300,000 plus giving away some of the revenue is going to save this place. Well, they are wrong.
What will happen is after the three year deal nothing will have changed and Landscapes walks away with the money and they move on. They donít get hurt. They have no financial obligations, if it doesnít work it doesnít work, end of the story for them. But now the golf course equipment is three years older, the water system is three years older, it is time for a new golf cart lease, membership has dropped, on and on and on and there is no one to run the course. What will they do then?
And where do you think the money is coming to pay for this. Well if you were thinking property taxes you are correct. Rumors are coming from city hall that the the only way they can pay for this is by raising property taxes. I certainly hope this is wrong.
After negotiations are complete this contract still needs to come back to the council for their approval. Just maybe level heads will prevail and this will be a dead end.
But hey, here is a thought. Instead of paying this company from Lincoln all this money, why donít they just take this money and pay the bond off earlier than expected while the golf course is still getting a revenue stream coming in. Once this is paid off (approx. 2Ĺ years), the city could negotiate with the Chase family and get a quick claim deed and clear them of this property and the city could than sell the golf course for a couple of million and we would still have a golf course that pays property taxes to the city. Even better yet, donít raise taxes. How about taking some of the occupational tax money or Newburn funds to pay this off. If the council members and Mayor would just think outside the box, Iím sure they could come up with something better than taxes.
So if you are not involved in our city government and the politics that goes with it, I suggest you start getting involved now because the number one issue in the campaign was to lower property taxes. Yet they voted to do just the opposite. I know who I am going to vote for. How about you?
By Jim Backenstose, North Platte