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Archive for January, 2014

VETO OVERRIDE
PROPOSED COMPROMISE

January 21, 2014

For the past few weeks, the Mayor, Council, Golf Commission, golfers and city residents have discussed the organizational structure of the Golf Course.

The Council has voted to renew a contract with current Golf Course Professional Joseph Merendo for a term of two years, with an automatic month-to-month provision once the term is complete. The suggested rate of compensation is $25,500 per year, for a season that runs from April through October. In this scenario, the pro is not an employee of the city. He receives all golf cart, pro shop and lessons revenues and provides for a part-time Ranger, (3) three full-time employees (including him) and (3) part-time high school students. He absorbs the cost of carts and the pro shop.

Richard Scott has been recommended by the Golf Commission for the position of Golf Course Manager/Pro. In this scenario, Mr. Scott would be employed by the city, as well as the additional staff at the course, which involves compensation of $49,000 a year (12-months). The city would receive the golf cart revenues and a percentage of pro shop revenues and lessons fees. The net change in return to the city is projected to be approximately $30,000.

With increased marketing, it is projected that course revenue will increase from year to year.

COMPROMISE POSITION
I propose hiring Richard Scott as Golf Course Manager and Joe Merendo as Pro, provided Mr. Scott’s proposed changes are incorporated. This allows for increased supervision at the course, better marketing, and increased membership/greens fees.

It lifts the burden of managing employees and the cost of caring for carts and the pro shop from Joe Merendo. At the same time, it allows him health insurance coverage and additional benefits, as well as entry into the state retirement system. Mr. Scott benefits from having a popular golf pro on staff.

This hybrid solution will allow for positive changes at the course and satisfies concerns of current golfers. This is in the best interest of all involved.

Respectfully submitted,
Mayor Ann M. Thane

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veto, here we go.

I just dropped my veto message and accompanying materials off to the City Clerk only to learn that the Council has already put up the resolution to override, without the courtesy of reading the information contained in my document.

golf-bet-9923220

This is disappointing
to say the least. I don’t know of any dictionary that would define this as responsible or cooperative.

VETO MESSAGE

DATE: January 16, 2014

TO: City Clerk Susan Alibozek
Common Council
All Local Media

FROM: Mayor Ann M. Thane

RE: Veto of Resolution #13/14-150

I am vetoing this resolution as it does not protect the interests of both the taxpayers and golfers of the City of Amsterdam.

For almost two decades, the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course has underperformed as evidenced by dropping membership numbers and flat revenues. Despite significant cost cutting measures the course is barely breaking even. Without a positive change in operations the golf fund will likely exhaust its fund balance within the next five years.

In 2009, the City invited Masters in Business Administration graduate students from Union College, under the guidance of the President of the Union MBA School, to conduct an assessment of operations at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course and to prepare a business plan for the course. This study indicated that course revenue could be increased by 85% (approximately $400,000 per year) if various recommendations were implemented. The contract authorized by this resolution is inconsistent with the changes recommended by the Union College Study and would prevent the implementation of any meaningful changes for the term of the contract. The City cannot afford to ignore potential revenue sources at the expense of property tax payers.

The longstanding trend is that membership has declined. Since the number of members has declined steadily over the years, outside play needs to be boosted so that the course is financially viable. The contract proposed by this resolution represents a continuation of failed prior policies; therefore, implementing this resolution will continue the decline.

The Golf Commission had issued an RFP that sought options for improvement of course operations. The report from the Golf Commission is attached. The Commission recommends an option that will immediately boost revenue by at least $30,000 and provide the opportunity to improve operations. This option will improve oversight and greatly enhance the golf experience. I firmly believe that the City should proceed with the recommended changes contained in the RFP response issued by our Golf Commission (see below).

The current golf professional contract provides compensation of $25,500 to the professional for working from April through October, as well as cart rental fees and all proceeds from the pro-shop and lessons. It is critical that the City receive the revenue generated from golf cart rentals, conservatively estimated at $67,000 net annually, which will grow as outside non-member play increases. If the City does not receive the cart revenues, any marketing effort to boost outside play will accrue not to the taxpayers, but to the golf professional.

Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course, designed by a world-renowned course architect, Robert Trent Jones, is a tremendous asset to the City of Amsterdam. It is unacceptable that operations do not generate revenue for the City. With proper management, the interests of both golfers and taxpayers can be protected and enhanced. This can only occur if we stop reinforcing failed policies and take advantage of the best advice available to us. Therefore, Resolution #13/14-150 is hereby vetoed.

Click on this link for SUPPORTING MATERIALS: 20140116124718219

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