The following is my veto of the Golf Pro contract in 2008. Most of the concerns I had then still exist. For this council to push forward with extending this contract for another three years would be wildly irresponsible, especially given that there is an RFP out now asking for proposals to take over these duties and more.
Our responsibility is to the 18,680 people that live here, not special interests.
“VETO STATEMENT • Resolution 08/09 – 147
I am vetoing the resolution because it does not protect the interests of the taxpayers of the City of Amsterdam.
Earlier in the year, I forwarded a resolution to provide for greater oversight and control of operations at the Golf Course. Even though the Council chose not to make my suggested changes, it is still the responsibility of elected officials to protect one of the greatest assets of the City of Amsterdam.
This contract, which was never reviewed or discussed as a Committee of the Whole Council, undermines the City’s ability to modify operations at the Golf Course, adjust for changing financial conditions, and implement long-range planning.
I cite the following items that are detrimental to the City’s interest:
– The term of the contract changes from a three-year term to a five-year term. This will prevent the City from benefiting from potential golf cart rental income and lock the City into the existing operations of the course.
– The contract gives the Pro a 23.6% raise (includes compensation for a Ranger. Without the additional employee, this would equate to a 13% raise.) Compensation will increase by another 2% over each of the next four years. City employees are held to a 3% raise per year.
– Retail space for the Pro Shop is rent-free for the five-year term of the contract. Electricity is free as well. All profits from the sale of equipment, supplies and accessories go to the Pro.
– The contract stipulates that the Pro submit a business plan, financial statements, a current balance sheet, and income statement to the City for review prior to the awarding of the contract. The business plan was included and states that the explicit objective of the plan is “to market the Golf Course and Pro Shop in order to promote business.” There were no real marketing incentives included in the plan beyond publication of tournaments on “bulletin boards and the local papers” and it lacked financial analysis completely. Most of the “plan” is merely verbiage that has been copied and pasted from the contract. The rest of the required financial information was not included in the contract.
– The contract changes wording that the Pro shall obey all reasonable orders and directions of the “Mayor” to “Golf Commission.”
– The contract directs that the Pro shall assist in the promotion of the the Course, but “promotion” is not defined.
– As was the case in the past, the Pro must publicize tournaments on bulletin boards and in local papers, but there is not stipulation that proof of these efforts be produced.
– The Pro owns twenty carts for rent to golfers. All profits from the rental of carts go entirely to the Pro. We don’t know how many rentals there are in a season, because though they have been required since 1985, financial statements have never been produced. We do know that there are approximately 40,000 rounds of golf played a year. If only 10% of those rounds of golf involve rentals at $20 a pop, that’s $80,000.
– The pro stores the carts over the winter at no cost.
– Lastly, the final line in the contract is incomplete, stating it “needs to be added.”
The list above is what I’ve picked out when comparing this contract with the last contract. On top of all of this, we have no solid financial reports as to how the Course did this season, no projected budget and no plan to address debt of upcoming capital projects.
It would be prudent to have a shorter-term contract pending the development of long-term plans for the Course. I therefore veto this resolution.”
$80,000 + the proceeds from the Pro Shop + no storage, lease or utility costs + $25,000 for 6-7 months of work = a pretty good clip in the City of Amsterdam.