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October 20, 2011 7:48 am

EDITORIAL: Funding request requires careful study

Written by Don Amend

The Powell City Council is once again faced with the question of how much support it can provide to the Powell golf course.

 

Cold, wet weather during the spring and early summer put a considerable dent in the revenues of the Powell Golf Club, which manages the golf course. As a result, the golf club board is struggling to pay its bills, and the board is asking the council for a one-time contribution of $55,000 to get it through the year.

The current city budget already includes $60,000 for the golf course, half of the $120,000 the golf club had requested during the budgeting process. The council also provided an additional $5,000 from last year’s budget, so the current request, if granted, would mean the golf club would receive the $120,000 that they had originally requested.

Many of the arguments for providing city support for the golf course are the same as those in favor of supporting the Powell Aquatic Center. Both provide recreational opportunities for the people of Powell, and both are used by the Powell schools for educational and sports activities.

Both, it can be argued, bring money into Powell through special events and competitions during the year. In the case of the golf course, several tournaments take place in Powell during each year, bringing competitors, and sometimes their families, who spend money on food and lodging while in Powell.

In addition, both facilities are seen by many as necessary amenities that make Powell attractive to individuals who might be contemplating moving here. Businesses, the college, the hospital and other entities can point to these amenities as attractions when they are recruiting doctors, educators or business owners who are thinking of relocating.

Such advantages to maintaining the golf course in Powell were pointed out to the council at its meeting Monday night.

There is one big difference between the two facilities, however. While both facilities are owned by the city, the city actually operates the aquatic center. The golf course, on the other hand, is operated by the Powell Golf Club, a private group. The city owns the land, the clubhouse and a few other buildings, but does not hire the staff, nor does it set greens fees, and the golf club is not required to have the city approve its operating budget. In short, the City Council has little control over the golf club’s budget, and that alone might make people pause at the idea of handing the golf club several thousand dollars every year, especially in an era of tight budgets.

Even so, the golf course, by providing an amenity and attracting money to the community, may be worth more support from the city. The full impact of its contribution to the Powell area economy is unknown, but that contribution no doubt does exist. Moreover, because it is city property, the city has an interest in maintaining it, even if it doesn’t have complete control of the golf course.

The council opted to form a committee to examine the funding request and take a close look at the golf club’s budget. The committee also will look at ways the club could cut expenditures and improve its marketing strategy in an effort to draw more revenue. Next month, committee members will bring their findings back for the council to consider before making a decision.

We believe the council is taking a necessary step. Whether the council decides to grant the club’s request or not, it will be a tough decision, and council members need all the information they can get to make the right decision.

4 comments

  • Comment Link October 20, 2011 4:32 pm posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    This golf course fiasco has gone on long enough and it is time to make people who use the thing to pay for it instead of the rest of us who never use it.You RINO's can only squeeze a turnip so much.Either live within your means or move over.The rest of us have to.

  • Comment Link October 21, 2011 8:01 am posted by Salty Dawg

    NO...period.

  • Comment Link October 21, 2011 3:09 pm posted by clipstein

    carefull study should have been done several years ago.......the town is broke, the electrical is in bad shape and can only imagine what the water is like...... pool is disaster, fiber is a loser, and the list goes on.......bent st is looking more and more like sorry lovell.
    make them proud Josh

  • Comment Link November 08, 2011 5:37 am posted by Ray bergh

    35 years ago i was on the board of directors of powell country club. At that time it was 9 holes. We had the same problems then as you have now.we would get enough money to get thru the year but the next year would be the same.The main problems were too few players and too many moving parts.mowing equipment is expensive as is everything else. By adding 9 more holes it would seem number of players would double, this may not have happened but maintenance cost did.I have been a golf course owner since 1981 and can testify as to the cost of operating one.Most courses around have lost players due to the poor economy and that is the reason so many businesses fail.good luck and i did sell out in '06.

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