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Archive for January 16th, 2014

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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