Tuesday, January 05, 2010

EDITORIAL >> Costly golf clubs

Jacksonville just said no to a deal that would essentially have given it a fully functional golf course for just $200,000 a year because it could not or would not justify the expense.

Jacksonville Alderman Bill Howard said that a municipal magazine recently published an article about how cities are unloading money-draining golf courses for more mundane things like fire and police protection and employee raises and health benefits.

In Sherwood, the 106-acre North Hills golf course is costing the city around $25,000 a month.

On top of that, the city budgeted $300,000 for maintenance last year, hired a golf course superintendent at a salary of $54,000, plus a rent-free home valued at more than $200,000, and additional ground and equipment laborers.

This year’s golf course budget includes another $300,000 for maintenance, and more money for more employees—$147,948 for five employees after the hiring freeze was announced.

With all that Sherwood has invested in The Greens at North Hills, its acreage needs to turn some green or the city’s financial ledger will run red.